bodybuilding and endocrine profile

I recently had a conversation with a research student that used to be a thrower and now coaches track and field. He told me that biomechanicaly speaking the arms do not really produce enough force against the ground that being able to bench heavy would really effect the outcome of a sprint and that from a biomechanics standpoint the arms are really no more than a counter balance for the hips and legs which produce the real power. Therefore a sprinter would be best served if they lifted heavy for the legs on a speed type of day and on recovery days did bodybuilding exercises with light weight for 3x10 and maybe six different exercises because it has been shown that doing bodybuilding exercises changes your endocrine profile making you release more gh and testosterone and does not really tax your cns and this would aid in recovery. I must admit I have not taken any of the upper level biomechanics classes but this seems wrong. I am an exercise science student but sprinter first and do not believe for a second that a strong bench is not important. When my upper body is not strong I feel much slower. What I am really interested in is does this endocrine profile stuff does it really mean anything or can I get the same effect by running tempo? I have not been able to find any studies on tempo running and endocrine profile but know that tempo aids with recovery and keeps your body fat low and this is the same thing you expect the increased gh and testosterone to do. Should we be doing bodybuilding type stuff on our day off? Than it wouldn’t really be a day off. Or should we be doing bodybuilding stuff after tempo? And does anybody think that arms are really just counterweights

Your question is all over the place. It’s not very well structured, so I’m a little confused.

1-Bodybuilding is not sprint training. Any bodybuilding methods you use should always be adjusted secondary to your sprint training.

2-The methods to increase hormonal response in training for a sprinter and for a bodybuilder are completely different. Otherwise, you will see development that matches a bodybuilder’s. Mathematically speaking (albeit very informally), your improvement in strength/power should be reflected as an improvement in relative body strength/power (assuming you do not want to see large size changes; this depends on your current development). In short, 10 pounds of bodyweight and little to no increase in strength/power (let’s say, 50-100 watts) = BAD. 2 pounds of bodyweight with significant gain in strength/power (500-1000 watts) = GOOD.

I hope I’m answering at least part of your question/enigma.?

I think strength/sizze of arms are huge in sprinting. Just pump your arms while keeping your legs straight and see how much movement you get. Would you get the same movement with 11inch arms and 40kg bench press, and 15inch arms and 200kg bench press.

You are right about the strength, but not the size. Any size gain that is not needed will reduce the power to weight ratio.

Sorry I am so all over the place I not sure that I understand enough to get right to the point or ask exactly what I want to know. I think I am asking

1.What are the most effective methods to increase hormonal response in training for a sprinter?

  1. Is there a place I can go or can you tell me info about the power output needed for sprinting so that I can fully understand how much more weight we would need to be able to lift for every pound of muscle gained for weight gain to be beneficial?

3.Are there lifts one really needs to be strong in order to be fast?

I have additional thoughts and questions about these questions.
I am sure you right that the methods to increase hormonal response in training for a sprinter and for a bodybuilder are completely different. But just to make sure I understand I was told doing a small amount of building exercise on recovery days would not stimulate the muscle to grow it would just cause favorable changes to the endocrine system but this is wrong it does cause changes in the endocrine system but they are not really positive for a sprinter.
The research student/coach told me he did not have his athletes do much benching because from a biomechanics standpoint upper body speed was more important than upper body strength so explosive plyos. with very heavy med balls (100lbs or more. this is first I have heard of use such heavy med balls) are what need be the main focus of a sprint strength program. I understand that the answers are different depending the individual and how strong they are. Is there a way to determine if an athlete should really focus on building strength with weights or if they are strong enough that they just need to maintain their current strength level and focus on improving the speed of their movement with plyos.

I hope I have been less confusing and was able to express myself in a more structured manner. If am still too hard to understand and you have the patience I would like one more opportunity to attempt express questions in way which will get me answers that will help with my understanding of the different ways to build the strength needed for sprinting and the different hormonal responses as I am truly interested in these answers from a “practical” standpoint and as often times research only takes into account a very small piece of the large picture.

Thank you.

Well, I appreciate your enthusiasm.

1-Lifts done above 80-90% intensity will have the greatest input (i may need to check with martn76 about this) on testosterone levels. That being said, you can’t tolerate much volume of lifts with this intensity because they also have the benefit of impacting the CNS greatly so you will wear yourself out. Have you read the CFTS? Charlie’s model is a great guide to follow as it is the only complete program I have seen that offers a complete schedule.

2-Speed Trap and the CFTS. The bottom line is, if your sprint and strength work is not progressive and intensive to appropriate levels there’s no chance for you to improve your power/speed. There are many resources, but some are quite difficult to read. I’m not questioning your intellect, but assuming you are looking at this as an athlete, I suggest you consult with a good coach.

3-Yes, assuming you are not a genetic anomaly, you must be strong/powerful to improve your speed. One step at a time though. You need to develop good technique and follow through with appropriate intensity and proper progression. Back squats, front squats, single-leg work here, posterior chain work [rdl’s, GHR’s, snatch-grip deadlifts], chin-ups, olympic variations, etc. (all rotated depending on training phase). It’s a lot of work. Get started.

Bodybuilding methods are included on tempo days. Push-ups, sit-ups, dips… etc.

If you are going to lift heavy for the legs on speed days, why not lift heavy for the arms in the same workout? By lifting weights you are trying to stimulate the cns and maximally challenge the organism. Both upper and lower body weight work allows you to make improvements in total body power which is the ultimate goal. By moving all cns taxing lifts to one day you would maximize recovery of the cns, which is beneficial for subsequent speed sessions.

Can I just clarify something there?

Are your bodybuilding movements typically limited to bodyweight calisthenic type stuff, or do you include more ‘standard’ hypertrophy fayre - eg weighted exercise, 3 sets of 12/whatever??

I ask because I am experimenting with a sprinters tempo style days in between my o-lifting practice to boost recovery and increase GPP levels.

Do you find that bodybuilding as precribed above is sufficiently low in intensity not to intefere with your main sessions?

Mostly bodyweight calisthenics. Typical bodybuilding workouts are too intense and will interfere with CNS work.

There is no real need for hypertropy training in an advanced athlete since the desired musculature is already in place. An advanced athlete may do a couple weeks of hypertropy training at the beginning of GPP and that’s it.

A typical tempo session for me would involve about 1700m of running, quite a bit of ab work and a few sets of push-ups/dips. It’s nothing too intense…

Bodybuilding is 70-80% or 8-12RM. I believe 487 is talking about general calisthenics. I don’t think your releasing that much GH or testosterone with general calisthenics as compared to Maximum lifting over 90%.


This was a pretty academic question anyway, as I will be aiming to stay in the 85kg class - I’ve had to come down from 95kg (since summer) to achieve this so bodybuilding would be a needless endeavour right now anyway.

Thanks again for the reply.

yeah if you feel the need you can do bodyweight stuff like push ups, situps, squats, etc. This kind of work can bring up your work capacity a bit and shouldn’t cause you to put on much weight(although most of weight gain, muscle or otherwise is controlled by diet). As long as you have a solid level of current fitness and don’t go too overboard it won’t hurt you.