3 Seconds Up, 3 Seconds Down: Slower Movement For Greater Growth Hormone And Free Tes

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    Post 3 Seconds Up, 3 Seconds Down: Slower Movement For Greater Growth Hormone And Free Tes

    3 SECONDS UP, 3 SECONDS DOWN: SLOWER MOVEMENT FOR GREATER GROWTH HORMONE AND FREE TESTOSTERONE
    by Robbie Durand

    We live in a numbers society. How big are your arms? How much do you bench? In the movie “Good Will Hunting,” they even make fun of how most guys are stuck on how much weight they can lift!! How many times have you walked into the gym and seen this? Two guys on the bench press…one guy is bouncing the bar off his chest and other guy spotting him looks like he is doing a deadlift because he is straining so hard to keep the bar from crushing his workout partner. Any bodybuilder would love to be a Jimmy “The Angry Iron Bull” Pellechia and perform a 700-pound bench press with no powerlifting gear with strict form; unfortunately, we are not blessed with the gift of raw power! There is nothing wrong with the occasional overload session and having someone help you push through the sticking point. Bodybuilders need to get over focusing on the amount of weight and focus on what’s truly important: muscle tension! Rich Gaspari, a three-time Mr. Olympia runner-up, was once quoted saying: “Remember, you’re trying to build a muscle group, not break records.” Gaspari admitted in an interview on bench pressing, “I tended to stay away from maxing for most of my career, as it seemed more a test of ego rather than helping my pecs to grow.” Gaspari had one of the best chests in bodybuilding, yet he admitted he was not looking to impress people in the gym with throwing a lot of weight on the bar, but focusing on muscle tension. Building muscles isn't about the absolute weight (weight on the bar). Your muscles don't know if the bench is loaded with 315 or 405 pounds. What your muscles respond to is the relative tension that's produced by working against resistance. If absolute weight lifted was the key to increasing muscle mass, then Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters should be the biggest humans to walk the earth…but they are not— bodybuilders are much bigger than both, yet lift much less weight.


    Growth Hormone: Part of the Muscle Hypertrophy Equation

    It’s amazing that after all the years of research, exercise physiologists and muscle researches still don’t know the exact cause of muscle hypertrophy. It’s not as easy as just lifting heavy weight. Scientists suspect that anabolic hormones play a part in the role in the exercise-induced muscle hypertrophy response. The acute increases in GH and testosterone lead to long-term increases in muscle hypertrophy. When acute and chronic hormonal responses to resistance training were evaluated in college men who completed 12 weeks (33 sessions) of high-intensity resistance training, only the acute increases in GH during exercise were associated with increases in muscle hypertrophy. Additionally, evidence from several studies earlier this year indicates that low-intensity (20 percent-50 percent 1 RM) exercise with moderate vascular occlusion markedly increases acute GH secretion and considerable muscular hypertrophy. This suggests that acute increases in anabolic hormones and muscle ischemia (reduced blood supply) can produce muscle hypertrophy at very low workloads. However, resistance exercises with vascular occlusion require special equipment and careful monitoring of blood flow. Alternatively, a low-intensity resistance exercise (~50 percent 1 RM) with a slow lift and constant force generation has been shown to cause enhancement of GH secretion, muscular hypertrophy and strength gains.


    Testosterone: The Other Part of the Equation

    Testosterone is the other major circulating hormone that can cause increases in muscle hypertrophy. Several factors appear to influence the acute serum total testosterone responses to resistance exercise. Acute elevation of testosterone during resistance exercise has been shown to be affected by the muscle mass involved, intensity and volume, nutrition and training experience. Only one earlier study in men has shown that individual changes in the acute testosterone responses to resistance exercise correlated with strength training-induced muscle hypertrophy. Another study reported that the acute increase in both testosterone and free testosterone correlated with the individual changes in strength that occurred during a six-month training period. Although some studies have reported no long-term changes in resting testosterone after resistance exercise, acute increases in testosterone— which may only last for 15 minutes after exercise— are essential for muscle strength and hypertrophy gains. Just how important are acute testosterone increases for increasing muscle strength and muscle mass? One study documented that without acute testosterone increases, you can expect zero strength gains and increases in muscle mass from a heavy resistance training protocol. In the study, 22 young men with strength training experience participated in this double-blinded intervention study. Some subjects were randomized to treatment with a medication called goserelin, which stops the production of testosterone. The goserelin group showed no changes in muscle strength or lean muscle mass after training, whereas the placebo group had increased strength and muscle mass gains. Body fat mass increased by 3 pounds in the goserelin group, while it decreased by 1.3 pounds in placebo group. It appears that the acute response to resistance exercise is more important to muscle growth and remodeling than chronic changes in resting hormonal changes, as many researchers haven’t shown a significant change in resting hormonal level despite increases in muscle strength and hypertrophy.

    Research has indicated that short rest periods (60 seconds) increase GH and testosterone to a greater extent than longer rest periods (3 minutes). Your workouts, if to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat, should be ones that cause the greatest release of both GH and testosterone. A new study just released in the Journal of Physiological Sciences reports that slower movements with a lighter weight increases GH and free testosterone responses to a greater extent than faster movements with a heavier weight. In the study, men performed either exercise regimens (5 sets of knee extension exercise): (1) high-intensity resistance exercise with normal movement performed at 80 percent of 1 RM (1 second for lifting action; 1 second for lowering action); (2) low-intensity resistance exercise with slow movement performed at 40 percent of 1 RM (3 seconds for lifting action; 3 seconds for lowering action). The results of the study demonstrated that lifting the weight slower (3 seconds up, 3 seconds down) caused greater growth hormone and free testosterone secretions than lifting the weight faster (1 second up, 1 second down). Additionally, the scientists hooked up an electromyogram (EMG) to the subjects’ leg muscles during the slow and fast trials. An EMG measures the muscle electrical activity during contractions. The EMG pattern in the fast, explosive group (1 second up, 1 second down) trial showed greater fluctuations during the exercise, indicating that the exercise was performed with ballistic actions. On the other hand, the slow movement trial (3 seconds up, 3 seconds down) showed small, but constant EMG signals throughout the exercise. This means the muscle tension was constant in the slower trial…when the muscle firing was more rapid and fluctuated during the fast movements. The finding that resistance exercise with slow movement showed enhancement of growth hormone and free testosterone secretion is a new finding that has not been reported before.


    THIS IS NOT SUPER SLOW CONTRACTIONS

    Lifting slower (3 seconds up, 3 seconds down) should not be confused with SuperSlow Training (SST), which involves performing reps very slowly, in a 4-1-10 tempo. That is a 10-second concentric movement per rep, a 1-second pause and then a 10-second lowering movement. Sounds good for muscle hypertrophy and metabolic responses, right? It sounds good in theory, but it just does not hold ground in research. For example, the gains in strength associated with 10 weeks of traditional resistance training were compared with those using SST. Both groups trained three times a week during the study period, performing leg presses, leg curls, leg extensions, anterior lateral pulldowns, bench presses, seated rows, biceps curls and triceps extensions. After 10 weeks, the traditional group had improved 1 RM significantly more than the SST for the bench press (34 percent vs. 11 percent), the anterior lat pulldown (27 percent vs. 12 percent), the leg press (33 percent vs. 7 percent), leg extensions (56 percent vs. 24 percent) and leg curls (40 percent vs. 15 percent). The traditional group’s improvement in total weight lifted was significantly greater than that of the SST (39 percent vs. 15 percent). Although proponents of SST may feel lifting slowly is harder, the training responses do not add up to increased training gains. The bottom line is that the weight is just too light (to present) to see reasonable increases in strength or muscle mass.

    You may have recently recalled that a study was published which reported that fast lifting speed caused a greater number of calories to be burned in the workout. Subjects performed squats using either 2 seconds up, 2 seconds down (slow) or explosive concentric contractions (1 second), but identical repetitions, sets and loads (60 percent 1 RM). The total average calories burned for explosive lifting was 214, while explosive exercise burned 223. That’s really not that much…9 kilocalorie difference. So the difference in total calories burned between slow and fast lifting is not going to make an impact on weight loss. The gym I used to train at had a huge sign, “Build Strength, Do Not Demonstrate It.” It means you don’t always have to load the rack up with 45s to have hardcore workouts. Lifting slowly will cause you to have to reduce the weight you would normally use, but lifting in a slower, controlled manner can increase GH and testosterone. What’s more important: impressing the people around you with how much weight you can lift or increasing anabolic hormones and making gains in muscle mass?


    References:
    McCall GE, Byrnes WC, Fleck SJ, Dickinson A, Kraemer WJ. Acute and chronic hormonal responses to resistance training designed to promote muscle hypertrophy. Can J Appl Physiol, 1999 Feb;24(1):96-107.
    Takarada Y, Nakamura Y, Aruga S, Onda T, Miyazaki S, Ishii N. Rapid increase in plasma growth hormone after low-intensity resistance exercise with vascular occlusion. J Appl Physiol, 2000;88:61-5.
    Pierce JR, Clark BC, Ploutz-Snyder LL, Kanaley JA. Growth hormone and muscle function responses to skeletal muscle ischemia. J Appl Physiol, 2006;101:1588-95.
    Reeves GV, Kraemer RR, Hollander DB, Clavier J, Thomas C, Francois M, Castracane VD. Comparison of hormone responses following light resistance exercise with partial vascular occlusion and moderately difficult resistance exercise without occlusion. J Appl Physiol, 2006;101:1616-22.
    Takarada Y, Takazawa H, Sato Y, Takebayashi S, Tanaka Y, Ishii N. Effects of resistance exercise combined with moderate vascular occlusion on muscular function in humans. J Appl Physiol, 2000;88:2097-106.
    Tanimoto M, Madarame H, Ishii N. Muscle oxygenation and plasma growth hormone concentration during and after resistance exercise: comparison between “KAATSU” and other types of regimen. Int J Kaatsu Training Res, 2005;1:51-6.
    Tanimoto M, Ishii N. Effects of low-intensity resistance exercise with slow movement and tonic force generation on muscular function in young men. J Appl Physiol, 2006;100:1150-7.
    Ahtiainen JP, Pakarinen A, Alen M, Kraemer WJ, Häkkinen K. Muscle hypertrophy, hormonal adaptations and strength development during strength training in strength-trained and untrained men. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2003; 89: 555–563.
    Sallinen J, Pakarinen A, Fogelholm M, Alen M, Volek JS, Kraemer WJ, Häkkinen K. Dietary intake, serum hormones, muscle mass and strength during strength training in 49 to 73-year-old men. Int J Sports Med, 2007 Dec;28(12):1070-6.
    Hakkinen K, Pakarinen A, Kraemer WJ, Newton RU, Alen M. Basal concentrations and acute responses of serum hormones and strength development during heavy resistance training in middle-aged and elderly men and women. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2000 Feb;55(2):B95-105.
    Kvorning T, Andersen M, Brixen K, Madsen K. Suppression of endogenous testosterone production attenuates the response to strength training: a randomized, placebo-controlled, and blinded intervention study. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2006 Dec;291(6):E1325-32.


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    I really can't agree with this article. I am pretty confident that someone who benches 315 with a controlled tempo will have bigger pecs, shoulders and triceps than someone who benches 225 with the 3 seconds up and down tempo prescribed in the article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart14 View Post
    I really can't agree with this article. I am pretty confident that someone who benches 315 with a controlled tempo will have bigger pecs, shoulders and triceps than someone who benches 225 with the 3 seconds up and down tempo prescribed in the article.
    Depends on what you mean by controled tempo and number of reps preformed. The tempo of the lift, is a big factor in how much you can lift. I'd guess doubling the temp, would on average, drop the weight your able to move by 10-20% (example assume you have a 10 RM of 300lb at a 1-1-1 tempo, increasing the tempo to 2-1-2 woud drop that 10RM to between 240-270, increasing that to 3-1-1 means a drop to 210-240 lbs).

    The other thing to consider is the article is more about rate of mass accumulation, not absolute stength. The size of the muscles depends on how you develop them, not how much they move (although it's nice when they're both big)

    As the article says"
    If absolute weight lifted was the key to increasing muscle mass, then Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters should be the biggest humans to walk the earth…but they are not— bodybuilders are much bigger than both, yet lift much less weight"
    Last edited by Zeus100; 03-24-2009 at 12:59 PM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus100 View Post
    Depends on what you mean by controled tempo and number of reps preformed. The tempo of the lift, is a big factor in how much you can lift. I'd guess doubling the temp, would on average, drop the weight your able to move by 10-20% (example assume you have a 10 RM of 300lb at a 1-1-1 tempo, increasing the tempo to 2-1-2 woud drop that 10RM to between 240-270, increasing that to 3-1-1 means a drop to 210-240 lbs).

    The other thing to consider is the article is more about rate of mass accumulation, not absolute stength. The size of the muscles depends on how you develop them, not how much they move (although it's nice when they're both big)

    As the article says"
    If absolute weight lifted was the key to increasing muscle mass, then Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters should be the biggest humans to walk the earth…but they are not— bodybuilders are much bigger than both, yet lift much less weight"
    by controlled tempo, I mean lifting and lowering the weight under control, whether that takes 1 second each way, or less, as long is you are not flinging the weights around.

    Lets look at a more specific example. A guy who benches 315 for 6 reps with the controlled tempo vs a guy who benches 225 with the 3 second tempo for 6 reps. I just think the first guy is going to have bigger muscles.

    Yes, I know there are instances where you can be strong, but not have an abundance of muscle mass, but in general, I think if you are lifting heavy in the 5-8 rep range, you will get plenty big regardless of tempo.

    I also disagree with the article's last statement, as I am pretty sure the biggest professional bodybuilders out there aren't using puny weights with a long tempo each way, they are lifting weights that rival powerlifters, minus the one rep max attempts and powerlifting gear. As for every other bodybuilder not on steroids, I am fairly certain that over 75% of powerlifters are bigger than these bodybuilders as well.

    I guess it is a tool to throw in your toolbox and use on occassion, but I don't think the points of the article are based in too much fact, just my opinion of course.

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    yes but even so if you take a body builder of the same size and a powelifter , the power lifter will generate more force then the body builder , if a powerlifter cut to solid muscle he would not be as big as a body builders muscles or as equally proportioned , at one national competion i went to for powerlifting in the 235 lb weight class a body builder thought he would try the event and placed dead last , this guy was 10% at the time of the contest and the winner was 18%
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