The Best Exercises To Boost Your Natural Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
Exercise and growth hormone
There’s a simple way to boost your growth hormone levels – all you need is heavy weights and compound movements.
One thing keeps you going back to the gym week in, and week out: the goal of muscle growth.
Whether you want to be a mass monster, an aesthetic physique, or straight up strong, mass is the goal.
There are a handful of natural hormones that can make or break your quest for bigger, stronger muscles.
One of them – Human Growth Hormone (or HGH) – could hold the key to muscle gain and fat loss.
The great news is that you’re probably already doing the exact thing that will boost your body’s natural levels of HGH – training hard and heavy, with a focus on big compound exercises.
However, there’s always room for improvement.
If your squat is slacking or your deadlift needs bringing back to life, it’s time to refocus on the compounds.
Here’s how they boost your human growth hormone (and what that means for your physique).
What Is Human Growth Hormone?
HGH is one of the body’s natural anabolic hormones which is produced in your pituitary gland and secreted by somatotropic cells.
It’s a protein-based peptide hormone which contains 191 amino acids, and it has huge implications for building muscle mass, retaining lean mass, and helping you stay lean (not to mentioning sending your libido and energy sky high!).
Human Growth Hormone plays a central role in the growth and regeneration of all tissue, not just muscle and bone.
HGH is crucial for your internal organs, your heart, and even your brain.
Once your pituitary gland has secreted Growth Hormone, it only stays active in your bloodstream for a few minutes.
During this time, it’s thought that your liver converts the hormone into growth factors (including the hugely anabolic insulin-like growth factor 1 or IGF-1).
Since HGH is so short-lived but critical to cell growth, it pays to do everything you can to maximise the frequency of HGH production so your body those natural growth hormone peaks high and rapid!
How Your Workouts Can Boost Growth Hormone Production
Like most anabolic hormones, Growth Hormone production peaks when we’re in our teens and early 20s.
In fact, HGH reduces by around 14% for every decade after we turn 30. Some guys can see a 30%-50% loss of lean muscle mass and an increase in body fat, plus loss of bone density – all because of falling anabolic hormone levels.
Yet, that’s no reason to throw in the towel once you reach 31!
There’s plenty you can do to boost your body’s production of Growth Hormone – and the good news is that it all starts in the gym.
You already know that muscles get bigger and stronger in response to the stimulus of lifting weights.
This adaptive process of stress and recovery increases as you lift heavier weights. The lighter you lift, the less your body has to do in order to adapt to the stress.
Lift Heavy For HGH
So if you’ve been training for a while, and/or you’re in your 30s (or beyond), you need to lift heavier and focus on compound lifts.
That is, unless you’re happy for your body to quickly adapt and stop pumping out more Growth Hormone?
Lifting heavier weights places a new stress on your body, and brings about a stronger hormonal response than before.
If you’ve ever trained for Powerlifting, or done a programme like StrongLifts 5 x 5, or Smolov Jnr, you’ll remember how trashed you felt (even though the volume was pretty low).
That was your body working super hard to recover, churning out a series of anabolic hormones to help you recover, in an attempt to suffer less badly next time!
That’s the kind of response you want.
More Compounds, Fewer Isolation Moves
Isolation movements, light weights, and machine work simply do not bring about the strong hormonal response you’re looking for.
It’s clear that intensity matters.
A 2003 study called “the exercise-induced growth hormone response in athletes” actually states that “Identification of a training programme that will optimise the EIGR (exercise induced growth hormone response) may present a viable alternative.
Ageing is often associated with a progressive decrease in the volume and, especially, the intensity of exercise.”
Your training needs to include solid, tried-and-tested compound moves which challenge your body.
The three Powerlifting moves (squat, bench, deadlift) are called “the Big 3” for a reason.
However, there are plenty of other multi-muscle moves you could use.
Deadlifts: traditional standard stance, Sumo, or a variation like Romanian deadlifts or SLDL.
Squats: back squats, front squats, box squats, or leg press if you can’t squat safely.
Overhead (Military) Press: standing OHP is best, but heavy dumbbell presses will work if OHP hurts your back.
Benchpress: forget high reps, go heavy and aim for 6-8 reps per set maximum. If barbell benchpress hurts your shoulders, go for heavy flat or incline dumbbell presses.
Bent Over Rows: using a barbell or a Smith machine.
Pullups: overhand pullups, or underhand chin ups, are a great way to use your body weight for a compound move.
If you’re a fan of conditioning work, keep it heavy with moves like tyre flips, sled drags, and farmers carries.
These classic Strongman moves will give you a cardio conditioning effect whilst still challenging most of the muscles in your body.
This 2008 study showed that heavy, low rep training can have a seriously impressive impact on the hormone levels of even a highly trained, elite lifter.
The study looked at the World Champion’s blood serum levels for total and free testosterone and cortisol, free testosterone-to-free cortisol ratio, and IGF-1 over a period of 21 weeks.
It was clear that his hormone levels peaked as his training was heaviest and hardest.
Extra Ways To Boost HGH
- – eat a healthy, varied diet and limit calorie restriction to short periods
- – vary your intake of protein foods to get a wide range of amino acids
- – stay in good health and look after your immune system
- – be active outside of the gym, avoid a sedentary lifestyle
- – limit alcohol and don’t binge drink
- – avoid illegal drugs and ditch the cigarettes
- – focus on getting good quality sleep every night (HGH is closely linked to circadian rhythm and a major pulse of HGH is released about an hour after you fall asleep)
Natural Supplements To Support HGH
Once you’ve got your training, sleep, and healthy diet in check, you could look to a few natural supplements to support your body’s production of Growth Hormone.
The hormone precursors called secretagogues include glutamine and arginine and may help.
Take glutamine in the morning, and arginine before you train.
You could also incorporate a natural testosterone booster, as long as it contains the proven and effective ingredients such as D3, D-Aspartic Acid, Magnesium, Zinc, B6, Fenugreek, Boron etc such as the one’s listed in our TOP 3 TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS you should notice some impressive results.
Go ahead and lift hard and heavy!
Nicola Joyce (aka “the fit writer”) is a fitness industry copywriter who has been writing for and about sport and fitness since 2004. Nicola is a competitive drug-free bodybuilder (with two World titles at amateur level) and has also competed in powerlifting and a couple of strongman comps. Prior to her strength training days, Nicola was an endurance athlete and has even swum the English Channel twice. She can be found on all social media at: thefitwriter.