Blast Through Your Bodybuilding Plateaus With Anabolic Prime
Have you ever heard a bodybuilder say, “You need to work your legs to develop your arms”? While there is, in fact, quite a bit of truth to this advice, it also suggests a solution to overcome training plateaus and pack on muscle when weight gain is difficult. This article explains how to use exercise to anabolic “prime” your body to increase training gains and offer a natural alternative to the use of dangerous and illegal steroids.
Exercise and Adaptive Responses
Most serious bodybuilders and athletes will have experienced the frustration of training plateaus, meaning the more you train, the more difficult it is to achieve gains in muscle size and strength. Why is this? Simply put, the reason is that the window of adaptation that was once wide when starting an exercise routine for the first time has now been reduced by several times.
Weights and exercise intensities that used to stimulate muscle size and strength no longer have the same effect. Under natural (non-steroidal/drug-enhanced) developmental conditions, the human body places constraints on adaptation to ensure survival and balance or homeostasis.
It would seem that the solution to this problem would be to increase the body’s anabolic hormone response to allow for more adaptation, however the “natural regulation” process frustrates many bodybuilders and causes many to turn to steroids for a solution.
Exercise and the response of anabolic hormones
In a previous article on our website, we discussed the interaction of bodybuilding exercises and the hormonal responses associated with them. The anabolic steroids we explain are responsible for not only “building” and enlarging various types of tissue, such as muscle and bone, but also directly increasing strength, which indirectly leads to further gains in muscle size. In the same article, we mentioned that the anabolic hormone response can be manipulated with exercise.
According to the NSCA, the world’s leading authority on strength and conditioning, manipulating one or a combination of the following factors can naturally increase testosterone levels:
Exercises that use large muscle groups
Exercises that use heavy resistance (85-95% 1RM)
Moderate to high exercise volume (multiple exercises/sets)
Brief rest periods between exercises (How does this type of exercise create a more anabolic environment in the body?
The following are some of the suspected mechanisms that lead to the increased anabolic state:
Since the control of anabolic hormone release is directly dependent on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis (the link between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland), it is possible that intense physical exercise/stress itself stimulates increased levels, since either directly or indirectly.
Fluid shifts from the blood to the cells during intense exercise can concentrate hormone levels without an actual increase in secretion levels
· Venous pooling of blood (muscle “pump”) in exercised muscle can increase hormone concentrations by reducing clearance and breakdown in organs such as the liver. It is also suspected that blood retention in the veins of the exercised muscle may increase the exposure time and the likelihood that the hormone will bind to its specific receptor in muscle tissue.
The sarcolemmas (membranes that surround the muscles) of the affected muscles are mechanically sensitized (stretched) due to force-generated stress and become more permeable to available anabolic hormones and growth factors.
What is the suggested protocol for using exercise as an anabolic starter?
A good way for a bodybuilder to take advantage of the body’s natural anabolic preparation system is to perform a combined upper and lower body routine. In other words, the upper and lower body exercises are performed in the same training session.
This type of routine can, for example, be done 2-3 times per week to separate upper and lower body split programs. On partial days, you can still choose to only do the “warm up exercises” before working out your arms and back, for example.
The hormonal “spike” induced by exercising the large leg muscles early in the workout creates a highly enhanced anabolic environment for exercising the smaller, less powerful muscles of the upper body, such as the chest and arms. Increases in testosterone will also increase strength levels through increased motor nerve activity which, in turn, will allow for more exercise-induced muscle damage and muscle growth (great for “hard arm size gainers”).
So, to anabolically prepare your body, try doing the following:
Start your lifting session with 3-4 sets of deadlifts or squats at 85-95% of your 1RM (if you don’t know your 1RM, aim for 2-6 reps)
Rest no more than 60 seconds between sets.
Perform your traditional combined upper and lower body routine or your split routine as usual
Drink a carbohydrate-protein mix drink during and after your workout, as it has been shown to increase IGF-I levels
In closing, this article has briefly explained the concept of “anabolic preparation” through exercise. It is suggested that you experiment with other exercises that will have the same effect as squats and deadlifts to avoid boredom and to ensure a varied training stimulus and sufficient anabolic response.