Trying to gain muscle mass without the addition of unwanted body fat can often be hard and whilst the right combination of cardio and weight training can help, perhaps the key to lean muscle mass is your endocrine system. Here we look at what exactly your endocrines system is, the role it has to play in lean muscle growth and what exercises can help to stimulate it.
The endocrine system is basically the bodily system that consists of the endocrine glands (such as the thyroid gland, pancreas and testes) that release their secretions (hormones) into the bloodstream to reach and act on target cells of specific organs. It’s often viewed as the master system of the body, especially for bodybuilders or athletes looking to increase muscle since its integral to the production of anabolic hormones. Hormones are chemicals that are manufactured at one tissue location in the body, and then secreted into the blood stream, so that they may act on other tissue locations in the body. Below is a list of the various tissues found in the body that comprise the endocrine system, as well as their respective hormonal products.
So how is this relevant to building muscle mass? Well, when trying to build muscle most people will rely on creating a calorie surplus (I.e. you eat more calories than you expend) and whilst this is very effective, you will put on unwanted body fat as well. However by manipulating the hormones of the endocrine system (specifically testosterone and growth hormone) you will virtually guarantee continuous growth without increasing body fat. One way of doing this is to employ multi-muscle exercises within your workout since they place the most stress and stimuli upon the body, which in turn causes the body to adapt and grow via the endocrine system.
Studies have shown the 4 exercises that have been shown to have the best effect on your endocrine system, due to the large number of muscle fibres they recruit and stimuli they provide are:
• The deadlift:
A compound movement that involves both strength and speed, targeting primarily the lower back, it also works
the trapezius, the quadriceps, the hamstrings, and gluteus.
• The clean and press:
Although this exercise mainly targets the front deltoids and triceps it also works the trapezius, the
quadriceps, the hamstrings, the gluteus during the initial lifting phase.
• The squat:
A big strength movement that targets mainly the quadriceps, it also works the gluteus, the hamstrings, the hips and
the lower back.
• Bench Press:
Perhaps the most widely performed upper body exercise, this targets the pectorals, deltoids, triceps, trapezius
and lastly the lats as well (not a lot of people know they share a significant amount of the work, as they assist in the movement.)
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