REST LESS BETWEEN SETS TO BOOST TESTOSTERONE
If you limit your rest period between sets to two minutes, your testosterone level rises. That’s a known fact. American and Finnish scientists have proven this through the following study.
The researchers got healthy – and clean – power athletes [CON] in their midtwenties to train their legs on a leg-extension machine. The athletes had to do five sets at 95 percent of their 1RM. They did a couple of reps themselves and then a number with help. They rested for three minutes between sets.
This style of training did not lead to a rise in testosterone levels. Typically trainers use this kind of schedule when they want to activate a progression in body strength, and when hypertrophy is not so important.
Lets take a look at the study. Half of the athletes [CON] rested before doing the leg training. The other half [HT] first did three exercises for the upper body: they trained the chest, upper back and shoulders. Each exercise consisted of four sets and between sets the athletes only rested for two minutes. They did the exercises at 80 percent of their 1RM. This kind of schedule maximises the natural production of testosterone, as sports scientists have known already for a number of decades. Trainers use routines like this to obtain muscle growth. Two minutes after completing the warming up, the athletes trained their legs.
The results showed the Test levels of the HT group was considerably higher than that of the CON group. During and after power training the muscle cells attract androgens, and these hormones then form complexes together with their androgen receptors. These complexes find their way to the DNA, where they get the muscle cells to manufacture more muscle proteins.
The researchers wanted to find out what effect the raised testosterone level in the HT group had on the androgen receptors: were they in short supply? Or did the muscle cells manufacture more receptors? The latter turned out to be the case. Three hours after completing the leg training, the number of androgen receptors in the leg muscles of the HT group had risen. “This implies that maximizing the T response to RE (by using multiple exercises, multiple sets, heavy loads, and short rest periods) enhances muscle AR content and, ultimately, promotes tissue anabolism and/or recovery”, the researchers conclude. They think that it’s not only bodybuilders who can benefit from a testosterone-maximising training program. A similar kind of program may also be interesting for elderly people who want to maintain their muscle mass levels.
Reference: Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2009.02.005.