Training Induced Hormone Levels
Did you know exercise-induced endogenous hormone levels have been studied extensively? Researchers have examined how the different components of training including sets, repetitions, load and rest intervals affect serum levels of hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone, and cortisol. Many studies have demonstrated there is an acute increase in serum levels of anabolic hormones after intense resistance exercise.
To be more specific, high-intensity exercise coupled with short rest intervals that is performed with large muscle groups are associated with significant rises in these hormones when compared to other training methods. Conversely, training small muscle groups like the biceps has been shown to have no effect on serum hormone levels. Because of the findings in many studies, training programs have been constructed to maximize the post-exercise rise in these hormones based on the assertion that exercise-induced increases in hormones like testosterone and growth hormone will enhance muscle size and strength.
A study from the Kinesiology Dept. at McMaster University in Canada found that exercise-induced hormone levels had no effect on muscle size or strength after 15 weeks of resistance training.There is evidence that a minimal basal level of testosterone is required to support strength and hypertrophy gains, which are otherwise lost. Therefore, the hormone-sensitive processes that underpin muscle anabolism at hypo- and supraphysiological hormone levels are not being activated appreciably by exercise-induced increases in hormone availability or at least do not result in any measurable enhancement of strength or hypertrophy. (J Appl Physiol 108(1); 2010)
In other words, prescribing workouts that supposedly increase hormone levels is a waste of time.