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The Ultimate Anabolic Guide to Testosterone



Aug 11, 2010
No anabolic reference guide would be complete without the mention of the most anabolic of all hormones: testosterone! GH and testosterone work synergistically together when produced in conjunction with intense exercise. It seems the increases in both GH and testosterone results in the greatest increases in muscle mass and reductions in bodyfat. For example, when the effects of GH or a combination of GH and testosterone on lean muscle mass and fat mass were compared, a combination of GH and testosterone resulted in superior increases in lean muscle mass and reduced fat mass compared to GH or testosterone alone26, 27. The effects of GH and testosterone on lean body mass appeared additive, suggesting that both GH and testosterone are synergistic yet increase muscle hypertrophy thru different mechanisms.

Testosterone: The King of Muscle Building

Testosterone is the king of anabolic hormones, don't expect much increases in size or reductions in bodyfat without increases in testosterone. For example, one study administered a drug that suppresses natural testosterone production to a group of healthy men which reduced circulating testosterone levels to sub-normal levels and found that testosterone decreases in protein metabolism, decreased lean muscle mass, decreased strength, and increased adiposity. If that's not bad enough, there was a decrease in gene expression for IGF-1 in muscle28. One of the major mechanisms that testosterone is suggested to increase protein synthesis and subsequent muscle growth is through the stimulation of satellite cell number and an increase in the actual binding of satellite cells to muscle fibers. Testosterone administration has been shown to increase satellite cell number. Several factors appear to influence the acute serum total testosterone responses to resistance exercise. The magnitude of elevation of testosterone during resistance exercise has been shown to be affected by the muscle mass involved (i.e. exercise selection), intensity and volume, nutrition, and training experience. A bout of resistance exercise produces acute changes in testosterone have been linked to those cellular processors involved in protein turnover and muscle growth2, 29. In brief, elevated testosterone concentrations produced during intense exercise increase testosterone-receptor interactions, thereby initiating a cascade of events leading to the acute (e.g. protein metabolism) and chronic (e.g. muscle growth) adaptive response to training. Acute elevations in serum free testosterone occur after high intensity exercise in both young and elderly men after resistance exercise. However, the magnitude of elevation was greater after 10 weeks of progressive resistance exercise stimulus; thereby suggesting that a resistance training base may enhance the acute response to a workout. In addition, a significant elevation in resting serum free testosterone was observed in the young men30. Testosterone is thought to be the predominant factor that produces greater hypertrophy in men than women when placed on identical training regimens. Strength protocols which take prolonged rest periods produce smaller testosterone responses than short rest period hypertrophy schemes. Such a notion is supported by the larger muscle fiber sizes of bodybuilders versus power-lifters/Olympic lifters, which may be attributed to the training methods employed by these athletes (bodybuilders =hypertrophy schemes, power/Olympic lifters = strength schemes) and associated testosterone responses.

More Explosive Power with Testosterone

Like feeling's your testosterone levels! Higher testosterone levels are correlated with maximal strength levels and higher resistance levels of fatigue in weightlifters8. Additionally, testosterone levels are directly related to how high a person can jump and how fast a person can run23. Testosterone appears to augment power activities and activities with high force output. For example, work from Bosco and colleagues tested 97 high level athletes involved in various sports. They found that the highest values of testosterone were for jumping performance in sprinters, while the lowest values were in cross-country skiers, and intermediate values were found in soccer players23. They also found that testosterone was directly related to both the height in the countermovement vertical jump and average sprinting speed. What is most fascinating is that actual increase in testosterone concentrations in a maximal continuous vertical jumping test for 60 seconds in professional soccer players was directly correlated with average power output15. One study documented that without testosterone, you can expect impaired strength gains from a heavy resistance training protocol. In the study, young men performed several weeks of performing a resistance training program while receiving a medication that turn blunts the production of testosterone. The strength-training period of eight weeks included exercises for all major muscles (three to four sets per exercise x six to 10 repetitions) and one-minute rest periods between sets. The protocol was designed to cause acute increases in testosterone, which has been validated by previous investigations. The subjects who received the testosterone suppression medication had a decrease in testosterone that was 10 percent lower than that of normal males, whereas testosterone remained constant in the placebo group. So here is where the importance of testosterone becomes clear for muscle strength and weight loss. The group that received the testosterone suppressing medication showed no changes in strength after training, whereas the placebo group had increased strength gains. Body fat mass increased in the testosterone suppression group while it decreased by 1.3 pounds in normal group. The testosterone blunting medication group made a small gain in lean mass, but not as much as the placebo group24. So this study demonstrates that maintaining or increasing testosterone levels are essential for strength gains.

Testosterone and Resistance Training Intensity

An intense bout of resistance exercise produces acute changes in testosterone which have been linked to those cellular processors involved in protein synthesis and muscle growth. Resistance training routines, that incorporate short rest periods between sets, produce higher testosterone concentrations than training protocols that use the same workload and prolonged rest periods. For example, male strength athletes performed two different training intensities while maintaining similar rest periods (3 minutes). The first session consisted of maximal strength training session (20 sets x 1 RM x 100 %), while one week later they performed a sub-maximal bodybuilding training session (10 sets x 10 RM x 70%). Testosterone levels with maximal training (20 sets x 1 RM) did not change immediately and 1-hour post exercise, however testosterone and cortisol responses to submaximal training (10 sets x 10 RM) increased during after and 1 hour post-exercise with the submaximal training loads1. It was concluded that high intensity resistance exercises can stimulate testosterone production, while low intensity heavy resistance exercise does not. If you perform a high intensity bout of heavy resistance exercise, not matter what your previous training experience you will increase testosterone production. One study compared bodybuilders and powerlifters of the same age, size, and experience to an intense resistance training protocol, which shorted rest periods. The experimental sessions consisted of 3 sets of 10 repetitions for 10 exercises with 10-second rest periods between sets and 30 to 60 second rest periods between exercises. Testosterone increased in both groups, but regardless of previous training experience, both bodybuilders and powerlifters had similar increases in testosterone concentrations2.

Bodybuilding Protocols Increase Testosterone Greater than Powerlifting Protocols. Testosterone responses to resistance training in men are less with low intensity resistance training protocols than those that use high intensity. Raastad et al. compared testosterone responses to two protocols, which utilized different intensities of squats, front squats, and leg extensions yet workload remained constant. One protocol was a moderate intensity (70% of a 1-RM) and the other protocol was a high intensity workload (100% of a 6-RM). Testosterone responses were higher during and one hour after the 70% protocol compared to the 100% protocol3. So now you are understand that training intensity should be at least 70% or more to stimulate sufficient rises in testosterone production.

Testosterone Increases with Large Muscle Mass Exercises

Testosterone levels are also influenced by the amount of muscle mass activated in response to exercise. Olympic lifts, jump squats, and deadlifts all produce large increases in testosterone31,32. Although most people would rather perform a bench press than jump under a squat bar, the bench press is not going to increase testosterone production like a squat. For example researchers investigated the effects of 5 sets of 10 repetitions of bench press versus 5 sets of 10 repetition jump squats, with 2 minutes rest between sets in 12 resistance trained men. Testosterone was raised higher following the jump squat (15 %) then the bench press (7%). This suggests that exercises which recruit the most substantial amounts of muscle tissue will cause the greatest increases in testosterone32. It also reinforces the order of exercise principles. Generally exercises that recruit large muscle groups (squats, deadlifts, chin-ups) should be performed before isolation exercises (leg extensions, leg curls, ect). As testosterone is concerned, the larger exercise may raise testosterone levels and exert its effects on the smaller isolation type exercises. It has been suggested that large muscle mass exercises be performed prior to small muscle-mass exercises. The performance of large muscle-mass exercises (i.e. squat, deadlift, power clean) early in the workout produce elevations in testosterone, which potentially may expose smaller muscles to a greater response than that resulting from performance of small muscle mass exercises only. For example, one study measured muscle strength changes in the bicep strength following 9 weeks of resistance training. However, one group performed a workout consisting of bicep curls only and a second group performed squats prior to bicep curls. Performing bicep curls exercises only failed to acutely elevate testosterone significantly. However, testosterone was significantly elevated when squats were performed first, and muscle strength increased to a greater extent as well when both lower- and upper-body exercises were performed33. These data provide support for performing large muscle mass, multiple-joint exercises early in a workout and smaller muscle mass exercises later in the workout when training to enhance muscle strength.

World renowned Russian strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline wrote in his book, that if he had to choose one exercise to perform it would not be the squat, but the barbell deadlift. The deadlift recruits not only the legs, but the arms, abs, and lower back as well. It has been reported that significant increases in testosterone occur after deadlights in college age men; however, maximal and submaximal efforts in the bench press resulted in smaller increases in testosterone7 you can still perform isolation exercises such as bicep concentration curls, just perform these exercise after the larger exercise. For example, if an athlete performs squats before biceps curls, the biceps may be exposed to higher levels of circulating testosterone. Dynamic power schemes, often employed to maximize explosive power have also produced significant androgen responses. Dynamic power schemes, often employed to maximize explosive power and functional performance, have also produced significant androgen responses. For example, total (18%) and free TST (30%) increased in response to half-squat lifts performed with a load of 50% 1RM29. If you are looking to put on size and strength walk right past that leg extension to the squat rack. Testosterone levels did not increase from pre to post exercise for younger and older men to upper and lower body isolation-type (leg extension) resistance exercise on a Nautilus machine consisting of 3 sets of 10-repetitions4. Contrary to these finding, significant increases in testosterone responses of older and younger men in response to a high intensity large muscle mass squat (large muscle mass) protocol5.


Sep 9, 2010
Wow that was very informative thanks for the education man :)


I plan on starting a cut with in the next week and ive decided to chose out of these two diets. im curious to see what other members think of these 2 diets ive picked . Pros/cons, faster weightloss, easier to follow etc.... hopefully this thread makes some interesting arguments and lists valuable knowledge


VIP Strength Advisor
Sep 15, 2010
good info thanks for posting


VIP Member
Sep 24, 2010
Bump it up...a must read for everyone.
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