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Do Squats Increase Testosterone: Research Findings – Thomas DeLauer
We have to question everything that is out there when it comes down to our bodies, and I don’t know how often you’ve heard this, but I’ve heard so many times people say that testosterone is increased when you perform the squat exercise. Well, honestly, it makes a lot of sense, but I wanted to do a deep dive into this, and I wanted to get into the research and truly start to understand what goes on when we workout in a really strenuous fashion. What is happening at a hormonal level? Especially when we do squats.
All right, so let’s get down to this. First and foremost, the more muscle mass that you stimulate during a workout, the greater the anabolic response. Now, does that necessarily mean that squats are the end all be all? No, not at all, but we do know there’s a greater anabolic response when you incorporate more of your body, but does an anabolic response necessarily mean more protein synthesis. In this video we’re going to talk about a lot of different things. I’m going to talk about how testosterone is actually affected after a workout, but I’m also going to talk about how testosterone actually affects protein synthesis too. You see, all types of strenuous activity elicit at least a temporary response when it comes down to testosterone and growth hormone, but what we really want to investigate is do they actually change your basal testosterone levels?
Do they change your long-term testosterone levels, or is it really just a quick acute change in those hormonal levels? See, studies have started to show that higher volume, moderate intensity and short rest period workouts end up eliciting a stronger testosterone response than workouts that are super intense and heavy, heavy, heavy resistance. Obviously, we’re not just talking about lifting heavy. We’re talking about how does a hard workout in general help your anabolic response. There’s so many other things that play a role. It’s not just testosterone. We tend to think that testosterone is the end all be all, but in reality we have insulin, we have IGF, we have growth hormone, we have mTOR, we have all kinds of different enzymatic pathways and all kinds of other pathways that have to do with protein synthesis that are really a big part of building the physique that we want.
In this video, I broken it down into three sections with three really key studies. The first study in the section we’re going to look at is a free weight workout versus a fixed machine workout and its effect on testosterone. Okay. The second thing we’re going to look at is resistance training and its effect on basal levels of testosterone, not acute changes, but basal levels of testosterone. Then the third thing that we’re going to look at, which is really, really cool and I want you to stick with me through this, is testosterone and other hormones’ effects on our actual protein synthesis. Does it really matter when it comes down to building muscle? So without further ado, let’s get into this first study. This first study was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and it’s a good look at 10 test subjects and it had these tests subjects perform six sets of 10 repetitions of either squat with a free weight or leg press in a fixed machine, and the whole goal here was to measure their testosterone levels, their growth hormone levels, and their cortisol levels after each respective exercise to see which one truly elicited a stronger response.
1) Craig BW , et al. (n.d.). Effects of progressive resistance training on growth hormone and testosterone levels in young and elderly subjects. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2796409
2) Shaner AA , et al. (n.d.). The acute hormonal response to free weight and machine weight resistance exercise. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24276305
3) Kraemer WJ and Ratamess NA. (n.d.). Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15831061
4) Bodybuilding myth debunked: Growth-promoting hormones don’t stimulate strength. (2018, September 5). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120614130946.htm
5) Associations of exercise-induced hormone profiles and gains in strength and hypertrophy in a large cohort after weight training. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00421-011-2246-z
6) Sex-based comparisons of myofibrillar protein synthesis after resistance exercise in the fed state | Journal of Applied Physiology. (01). Retrieved from https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00170.2012