by Steve Hoi man
Hormone manipulation may sound like some futuristic concept, but it's here—and it's achieving spectacular results in medicine and athletics. In terms of muscle growth, the technique of boosting testosterone, growth hormone and insulin levels at specific times is becoming the great bodybuilding equalizer. Thanks in part to hormone manipulation, we're now seeing some of the most impressive drug-free bodybuilders that ever walked planet earth. Studies show over and over again that boosting certain hormones can produce results similar to those that occur with anabolic steroid use.
Is hormone manipulation as dangerous as steroid use? Not in most cases. In fact, if you train intensely with weights, you already manipulate your hormones to a degree. Intense weight training increases both testosterone and growth hormone output, which is one reason you get results. If you're like most mass-hungry bodybuilders, however, you're looking to kick up those results a few notches—and perhaps uncover the key to ultimate size and strength.
Your growth hormone level is critical to your getting spectacular results with hormone manipulation. It's the orchestra leader that conducts the other hormones, the quarterback leading the anabolic drive.
For example, a high GH level helps amplify the anabolic response of testosterone, and it can help smother many of the anticatabolic, or anti-muscle-wasting, effects of Cortisol. When GH is high, Cortisol is low. The anabolic/anticatabolic power of GH makes it the premier bodybuilding hormone, and you should attempt to boost it as often as possible.
How do you up your GH and increase the power of your other anabolic hormones without having to resort to injections? Proper training is the place to start.
Three training variables have a direct impact on growth hormone and its positive effects on muscle hypertrophy: intensity, muscle stretch and muscle burn. When you combine them during your workouts, you create an extreme anabolic environment.
Intensity. As James Jamieson, noted pharmacologist and developer of the growth-hormone-boost-ing supplement GH Stak, and Dr. Lawrence Dorman, a leader in the field of natural medicine, write in their book Growth Hormone: The Methuselah Factor, "Sustained high-intensity exercise increases the quantity and number of pulses of GH release. Intense is the key word here; garden-variety jogging won't do it." That means you need focused effort on the big compound weight-training movements to affect your GH levels.
Intense effort on the big exercises is vital—for example, squats for your quads, bench presses for your chest, overhead presses for your delts and rows and chins for your back. If you want an increase in GH, use the core movements in the majority of your bodypart programs.
Muscle stretch. Stretch-position movements— such as stiff-legged deadlifts for hamstrings and flyes for pecs—can increase the IGF-1 receptors on the muscles. IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor 1, is a highly anabolic metabolite that can occur as a direct result of higher GH output, and it can have a tremendous positive impact on muscle growth. Here's a list of stretch-position movements for each bodypart. Seriously consider incorporating them all into your program for maximum growth response from your higher GH level.
Quads: Sissy squats
Hamstrings: Stiff-legged deadlifts
Calves: Donkey calf raises, leg press calf raises
Midback: Close-grip cable rows
Delts: One-arm incline laterals
Biceps: Incline dumbbell curls
Triceps: Overhead extensions
Abs: Full-range crunches, Ab Bench crunch pulls
One highly effective way to use these exercises is to do a few sets of the corresponding stretch-posi-
In a study published in the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology (22:244-255; 1997), researchers showed that there's a direct correlation between higher blood lactic acid levels and GH release from the pituitary gland.
tion exercise at the end of each bodypart routine. For example, end your chest workout with two sets of flyes, and on your last set emphasize a stretch-pause on each rep, holding for a four-count in the stretch position before continuing the movement. Stretch-pauses can increase the IGF-1 receptor development and stimulate an even greater anabolic response.
Muscle burn. In a study published in the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology (22:244-255; 1997), researchers showed that there's a direct correlation between higher blood lactic acid levels and GH release from the pituitary gland. That means the more muscle burn you induce, the more growth hormone you can stimulate. To attain the searing effect efficiently, superset two exercises in each bodypart routine. For example, use a mul-tijoint exercise, such as bench presses, followed immediately by a lighter, single-joint, or contracted-position, movement, such as cable crossovers. That superset, a variation of the Aftershock technique, will trigger the higher lactic acid levels you're after.
Put those three variables together, and your GH-boosting quad routine might look like the following:
Aftershock superset Leg presses Leg extensions Sissy squats
Sissy squats (stretch-pause)
2x 15 2x6-9
Here's a sample arm routine:
Decline extensions 2 x 6-9
Close-grip bench presses 1x7
Dumbbell kickbacks 1x7
Overhead extensions 1x9
Overhead extensions (stretch-pause) 1x6
Barbell curls 2 x 6-9
Undergrip pull downs 1x7
Spider curls* 1x7
Incline curls 1x9
Incline curls (stretch-pause) 1x6
*Performed on the vertical side of a preacher bench. You can construct your own bodypart routines, or consult Compound Aftershock for more specific GH-boosting programs. See the ad at the back of this book for information.
Supplements to Ramp Up GH:
No Injections Necessary YOU get 3
There have been a number of studies showing that specific amino acids, such as glutamine, can boost GH output. One supplement that incorporates the known GH releasers in a powerful compound is GH Stak.
Bodybuilders at the IRONMAN Training & Research Center have been experimenting with it—effervescent tablets like Alka Seltzer that you dissolve in water and drink on an empty stomach either before you train or at bedtime. Drug-free bodybuilder Jonathan Lawson made some spectacular gains using GH Stak, adding more than 10 pounds of muscle to his ripped competition weight [see Growth Hormone Q&A], He competed in 1997 at a body weight of just over 180 pounds, and with his first eight-week cycle of GH Stak he boosted that to a ripped-and-ready 195 in early 1998. He got that amazing result due to a number of factors, including the supplement and his high-intensity, full-range training protocol, which incorporated the above concepts. Jamieson has said on many occasions that you get a synergistic effect from the combination of the compounds in the effervescent supplement and the GH-releasing effects of high-intensity exercise. Lawson certainly did.
Why does GH Stak come in an effervescent form? Studies show that there's a significant increase in GH from oral glutamine when the glutamine is in that form—due to pH manipulation in the stomach—and significantly better absorption. The effervescent action also enhances the delivery of the other growth hormone precursors in GH Stak, such as L-arginine, which is included in a more bioactive pyro-glutamate form than what you get from standard L-arginine supplements. Other GH Stak ingredients include glycine; tyrosine; Aminotrope 7, a sequenced glycoamino acid complex; and compounds from a legume called the Lacuna bean that's naturally high in L-dopa, a renowned GH-stim-ulating amino acid compound.
GH Stak also contains anterior pituitary peptides that normalize somatostatin, a hormone that can shut down GH and IGF-1 receptors. That's critically important because when you elevate GH and IGF-1, you don't want somatostatin to smother their effects. GH Stak's anterior pituitary peptides prevent the shutdown, which drastically increases the effects.
As for the research, Jamieson and Dorman presented a study to the American College for Advancement in Medicine, "The Role of Somatotroph-Specific Peptides and IGF-1 Intermediates as an Alternative to hGH Injections." In the 1997 study a group of subjects took the supplement for 12 weeks, and while many were older individuals, there were young bodybuilders as well. Even though body-
synergistic effect from th< combination o the compound in the effervescent supplement ar the GH-releasing effects of high intensity exercise.
It's believed that in combination with testosterone and other anabolic, anticatabolic compounds, the muscle-wilding power of GH is significantly increased along with its fat-burning effects. G H also amplifies the power of many supplements-even protein powders.
builders usually have higher-than-normal IGF-1 levels, the ones in the study still showed anywhere from a 12 percent increase in IGF-1 levels after just one day of using the supplement all the way to a 36.6 percent increase after only six days. Those are some incredible numbers, especially when you realize there was no IGF-1 deficit to begin with. Most of the subjects who had low IGF-1 levels got even better results, with one showing almost a 230 percent increase in only 22 days.
Results with GH Stak have been so spectacular that doctors at anti-aging clinics are using it in place of GH injections. That indicates that the medical community is embracing this supplement as a true alternative. In other words, it works.
Here's the bottom line for bodybuilders. Most pros inject GH, and many experts believe it's the very reason we see such incredibly massive competitors in the sport. It's believed that in combination with testosterone and other anabolic, anticatabolic compounds, the muscle-building power of GH is significantly increased along with its fat-burning effects. GH also amplifies the power of many supplements—even protein powders. It's not hard to see why so many drug-using bodybuilders spend so much money on synthetic GH. If natural bodybuilders are going to come close to mimicking the powerful anabolic effect the pros get with synthetic GH injections and steroids, they'll do it by combining growth hormone boosters, such as GH Stak, with testosterone boosters, scientifically designed protein powders and Cortisol suppressors. Hor-m o n e manipulation is the key to rapid drug-free muscle growth, and it's here in full force. It appears to be the anabolic trigger for which natural bodybuilders have been frantically searching.
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