There are specific ways that we can train that signal the body to release high doses of Growth Hormone. This specific training can come in the form of movements, patterns and intensities that can be included into training each week to ensure we are priming our bodies to yield higher Growth Hormone output each week leading to greater health, physique, performance, mood and recovery.
Before we dive into the science of GH Positive training, let’s back up a second, as in case you missed out on the last ES INTEL Blog, you may be wondering, what is the advantage of training in ways that release the most amount of Growth Hormone over other training methods that don’t take hormonal output into account?
The answer is, Growth Hormone, otherwise known as Human Growth Hormone or by its peptide name; somatropin, is one of, if not the most important hormone inside our body. Its main responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Cellular repair of all the body
- Metabolism management
- Body fat management
- Insulin management
- Signals the body to use stored fat for energy
- Drives glycogen (sugar) into skeletal muscle
- Muscle, protein and collagen growth and regeneration
- Bone mineral fortifying
As you can see from this list, Growth Hormone produced inside our bodies is responsible for the growth, repair and metabolism of the cells inside the body. The higher ones output of Growth Hormone the better that body is at regenerating and the younger the bio-age of that person - with Growth Hormone levels being the major marker when calculating the biological age.
Now let’s get back to The Training that will produce the greatest natural GH output.
3 training styles that have been proven in studies to produce High Growth Hormone output include:
1. HIIT Training
2. 1-3 Reps Compound Lift in the barbell squat, deadlift, barbell bench press and barbell shoulder press
3. Sub 1 minute rest between sets of circuit training (30-35 mins of intense work maximum duration)
So what is the science behind these training technique’s and what causes the physiological response of larger Growth Hormone secretions compare to other styles of training?
1. HIIT - This stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This is where an absolute all-out effort is carried out for a certain movement followed by a rest period - to fully recover - then the all-out effort is repeated again, for sets.
Studies have revealed there is a linear response to growth hormone (GH) secretion and exercise intensity. HIIT training is perfect for high Growth Hormone secretions as it is the Intensity of output that the body is undergoing during an all-out effort that triggers the pineal gland to release GH into the blood. By taking the body into a high intensity and then letting the body fully recover before repeating again creates the trigger to amplify growth hormone output. The higher the intensity we reach within each HIIT interval, the higher the GH secretion we create inside our body and the more the positive effects are felt and seen in the body post exercise.
The Method (How to apply HIIT to your weekly training schedule): We are going to choose Sprinting as our movement of choice for this HIIT Session because it is an activity that includes the activation of all the muscles in the entire body when done at full intensity and also Sprinting it is a great movement to reach an all-out effort with practice, over time.
1. Warm up sufficiently ensuring the entire lower and upper body is warm and mobile.
2. Create a starting line. Begin about 10m behind your starting line
3. Begin running, then when you hit the starting line go into an all-out sprint for about 7 seconds or 100m. If you have a partner with you, have them time your 7 seconds then mark the distance you reached in the 7 seconds, otherwise carry a marker and drop it around the 7 second mark.
Note: this is an all-out effort and therefore unless we are an Olympic sprinter, majority of humans can only sprint for an all-out effort of around 7 seconds. Beyond this time we will have to slow down and this then defeats the entire purpose of HIIT training
4. After the sprint you time your rest. Rest until you are ready to hit the same intensity for the next sprint. This is usually between 2-3.5 minutes. This is repeated for 4-5 rounds at first. Slowly each week increase your sprint repetitions to up to 8 sprints over a period of around 3-4 weeks. In my experience, no more than 8 all-out sprints need to be carried out to obtain the greatest benefit from HIIT training for the sprint and for the greatest GH release post training it. This will take around 20 minutes and can even be placed before or after a training session.
***Note: This is completely opposite to long-distance running where you preserve your energy to last the distance. When completing an all-out sprint the fast twitch muscle fibres become highly engaged and over time these athletic fibres will develop and strengthen adding more high quality Type II muscle fibres to your lean-muscular physique.
2. 1-3 Reps All-Out Effort in the barbell squat, deadlift, barbell bench press or barbell shoulder press
Studies have revealed that it is not only all-out cardio sprints that create high GH output but also all out compound weighted movements performed at maximum effort. Studies concluded that compound weighted movements such as the squat, deadlift, bench press and barbell shoulder press at 90 - 100% of our 1 rep maximum lift in the 1 - 3 repetition range favours the greatest output of Growth Hormone, compared to higher repetition ranges. Basically, as the weight of the lift increases and the effort on the central nervous system, muscles, bones and connective tissue also increases the body responds to this intensity by secreting large amounts of Growth Hormone. You could say it’s the bodies way of rewarding you for making a great effort :)
For this exercise pattern, we are going to choose the Barbell Back Squat. The barbell back squat is a compound movement that activates the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, ankles and feet (if completed without shoes). It is an excellent movement for growth hormone activation because we are applying a strong load to the glutes, hamstrings and quads and these are the largest muscle groups in the body. The more muscle fibres that are activated within the movement the higher the stress on the nervous system, the greater the GH output. In this exercise pattern we will complete a pyramid set where we begin at a light weight and high repetition range and then increase the weight each set and decrease the repetitions until we reach a 1 rep maximum lift (with a lil surprise at the end).
1. Warm up completing 30 body weighted squats. Then, starting with the barbell only complete another 20 repetitions in full range of motion with full control.
2. Complete the Barbell Back Squat with a light weight and do 15 repetitions rest as required. Next increase the weight and move to 12 reps. Rest, then increase the weight and go to 10 repetitions carry this out all the way through, 8, 6, 4 repetitions. Resting as long as required to complete the next set but not exceeding 3 minutes.
***Note: Once you are at 3 repetitions we are going to add another movement as a super set just for the final 3 sets. Its is this extra intensity and activation of the muscle fibres that will ensure a strong GH release once the sets are completed.
4. Complete 3 reps of Barbell Back Squat then super set straight into 20 x Kettle Bell Weighted Squat Jumps (holding a kettlebell squat all the way down past 90 degrees then explode into a jump as high as possible before landing and going straight into the jump again. Repeat for 20 repetitions).
5. Rest for 3 minutes. Then complete the same super set for 2 and then 1 repetitions
6. Try not to spew ;)
3. Short Rest Period - Sub 1 minute rest between sets of circuit training (30-35 mins of intense work maximum duration)
You may be picking up a theme here with GH focused training. It is the short periods of really high intensity that yield the greatest GH output in the body and allow for more muscle growth and better fat metabolism. It is no surprise then that having rest periods that are just short of your body fully recovering is another training tool that creates high GH output. Again it is this period of intensity, not of initial effort, but of sustained effort while the body has to continue work while not being fully rested that pulls the trigger on high Growth Hormone output during and after the session is completed. In contrast to the mechanical stress created in the 1 - 3 rep compound lift, this training pattern creates metabolic stress which is a high GH output activator.
The Method and Training
1. Carry out a 30 - 35 minute training session where you combine weighted and body weighted movements focusing on 2 muscle groups throughout the entire training session
2. Work in the 60-80% weight range of your 1 rep maximum for each exercise. Carry out 8-10 repetitions for each movement and set. Ensure you are reaching maximum effort by rep 10
3. Conduct intervals where you work for 2 minutes then using a stopwatch rest for just under 1 minute before completing the next work interval
4. Complete 15 - 20 intervals in total or when 35 minutes is completed
This medium-high intensity circuit training with sub 1 minute rest can be completed up to 3 x per week. Just ensure only 2 or 3 muscle groups maximum are worked during the entire circuit and each muscle group stress only 1 or 2 in one week to ensure cortisol levels remain low and all positive hormones remain elevated and the body is able to regenerate and strengthen effectively.
Whatever your training regime is right now, if you are overlooking any of these high GH Output training staples in your weekly program, then now is the time to add them back in and with consistency. You do not want to miss out the full activation of the most important hormone inside your body on a weekly basis! Growth Hormone is our literal, fountain of youth with its rise and fall determining our bio-age on a daily basis.
Including some or all of these GH Training Elements outlined above into your weekly program, adapted to your current fitness levels with the intention of improvement every week, will have a major positive effect on your overall health, fitness, strength, muscle mass, body fat levels, mood and recovery.
author: Ryan McTeigue