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Metabolic Bodybuilding

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Loads of about 50 to 60 percent of a 1-repetition maximum will stimulate most of the readily available muscle fibers to contract and, if you do them for a relatively high number of sets and reps, such lifting will produce a powerful stimulus for muscle growth. Not only is this form of training very effective at directly stimulating the muscle, but it also has another distinct advantage over the heavyweight, low-volume program. High-volume work can enhance metabolic processes by stimulating the endocrine (hormone) system. This response, when added to its direct effects on muscle, makes for an extremely productive form of training. Thus one should strongly consider using high-volume lifting in one's training because its effects can go well beyond the direct stimulation of muscle growth.

Metabolic effects of volume training

Human growth hormone (hGH) is a potent hormone produced by the body to promote anabolic metabolism (protein tissue build-up) and to enhance the breakdown of bodyfat (lipolysis). Factors which enhance natural hGH levels should simultaneously enhance metabolic processes since the hormone is a potent regulator of bodyfat and tissue anabolism.

I have verified such effects in several of my medical experiments. Human volunteers were given small dosages of hGH while they did intensive weight-training exercise and their body composition was studied by hydrostatic weighing. (Hydro-static weighing accurately gauges changes in levels of bodyfat and lean weight by measuring the buoyancy of the human body.) The end result of my studies was the discovery that hGH is significantly related to increases in lean body mass and a decrease in bodyfat.

From these findings I concluded that maintaining optimum natural levels of hGH is bound to greatly benefit metabolism and stimulate increases in muscle size and decreases in bodyfat. You do not need to inject any hGH into the body. Not only can this practice be dangerous, but I have found evidence that stimulating natural secretion of the hormone can be just as effective as taking in foreign hormone. It certainly is safer than injecting the hormone.

Hormonal effects of high-volume bodybuilding

Studies have found that weight training can significantly increase hGH release. However, the type of bodybuilding program used is critical in determining the amount of hormone released. If you use high-volume training properly, it can be an excellent way of stimulating hGH release. This release will magnify the direct effects to muscle. If you don't use enough weight or volume of exercise, you are unlikely to stimulate your metabolism to its peak from hGH release.

In conventional heavy-weight, low-volume weight-training programs, muscle receives only direct stimulation, significantly limiting the amount of muscle-tissue growth that is possible. Moreover, you don't stimulate bodyfat loss with conventional heavy-weight, low-volume training. This form of training can have significant limitations, but high-volume training stimulates muscle directly and also promotes hGH release to boost metabolic pathways responsible for muscle growth and bodyfat loss. You need to give careful attention to [ designing a high-volume bodybuilding program in order to attain the best hGH effect. Experimental studies (Eur J Appl Physiol 53:31,1984) have found that lifting a moderate amount of weight (85 percent of a 7-rep maximum which converts to about 60 percent of a 1-rep max) for at least 7 repetitions per set will

produce a marked increase in hGH release, whereas lifting extremely light weights (about 30 percent of a 7-rep max which converts to about 18 percent of a 1-rep max) for 21 reps per set will not produce an hGH effect.

I must emphasize that 7 repetitions is probably very close to the minimum number required to stimulate hGH while lifting 60 percent of a 1 -rep maximum. Since I studied a moderate weight (85 percent of a 7-rep max which converts to about 60 percent of a 1-rep max) I conclude you can probably achieve a much better hGH response by increasing the repetitions from 7 to at least 12.

Another study measuring muscle performance clearly supports the use of high-volume bodybuilding (PhysThrpy Rev 36:371,1956). The authors of the study found that lifting a weight which induces fatigue at 25 repetitions (this should convert to about 60 percent of a 1-rep maximum) will, when done for as many as 10 sets, produce a marked effect, increasing performance by over 200 percent in as few as 15 training sessions. Lactic acid sensed in the muscle may actually be one of the major stimulators for hGH release. You have to feel a normal "burn" in the working muscles while weight training to enhance metabolic processes by the stimulation of hGH release. Sets that are low in repetitions (i.e. fewer than 7 and/or too high in weight, i.e. above 70 percent of a 1-rep max) would not be the most desirable for promoting pure muscle growth because they will not achieve an optimal combination of burn and load. This inferior result will compromise your ability to directly stimulate the muscle and impair the stimulus for natural hGH release. You'd be better off doing a relatively high number of sets and reps to achieve a high degree of muscle lactic acid. One must be careful, however, to distinguish a "friendly" burning sensation in the muscle brought about from the normal production of lactic acid from that of an injury which produces a burning sensation resulting from muscle, tendon, and/or ligament damage.

Evidently production of lactic acid in the muscle is a desirable event during bodybuilding from the standpoint that it will likely enhance metabolic processes by simulating hGH release. Lactic acid should be controlled so that it does not significantly hinder workout performance. Use a system of training that will avoid an untimely excess accumulation of lactic acid in specific muscle areas (that will adversely affect workout performance), but yet still allow production of enough lactic acid to stimulate hGH release and achieve the subsequent metabolic benefits.

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