Whether male or female, our body produces testosterone. The way in which testosterone plays a role in our body depends on our sex, and some other factors. Without testosterone males would not be able to build the amount of muscle that they do. Also, it is testosterone that is responsible for the low-level of body fat that men can achieve, as compared to women.
Testosterone is an androgen, or male sex hormone. It is secreted by the testes in men, and by the ovaries and adrenal glands in women. In women the testosterone is converted into estrogen, while in men testosterone plays a significant role in the development of male sexual characteristics, such as sex organs, body hair, and muscle.
Testosterone plays a very important role in muscle growth. This is the reason why anabolic steroid use is so rampant in those desiring to build big muscles quickly. Anabolic steroids are basically a synthetic form of testosterone. They are illegal and have many potentially negative health related side effects. Natural testosterone, in combination with human growth hormone, helps to stimulate muscle repair after resistance training through increases protein synthesis.
The amount of testosterone released for muscle protein synthesis and growth is dependent upon a number of factors. Resistance training is required to increase production of this anabolic hormone. Additionally, greater testosterone will be released if the resistance training focuses on the large muscle groups, especially with heavy weight loads, and high training intensity. A resistance training program of low weights and intensity will result in less production of testosterone, and therefore less muscle growth.
Women who are afraid of getting big and bulky when weightlifting tend to shy away from the heavier weights, which are also important for muscle strength, and the often desired toned look. This fear is unwarranted, because unless you have a disorder that is causing your body to produce, and not to convert to estrogen, high levels of testosterone, then few women will be able to build large muscles the same way men can.
To benefit from testosterone’s role in muscle growth, focus on heavy weight loads, low repetitions, and multiple sets of each exercise. Target the larger muscle groups at least two days per week as well. Focus your program on the large muscles of the legs, back, chest, and core to produce higher levels of testosterone. The production of testosterone during our workout leaves testosterone circulating afterwards, and this increases our chances of muscle hypertrophy as a result.