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"Theory" behind squats for mass gains

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by punkchip, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. punkchip

    punkchip Well-Known Member

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    I know that squats are good because they release a shitload of hormones etc and supposely make your whole body grow...

    ... but I am wondering if that means that if the only exercise I did in the gym was squat, would, let's say, my biceps become bigger even though I wouldn't work them out directly at all?

    I hope my question is clear enough..
     
  2. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    I actually read where they did a trial on that a few years back and..

    yes. but not just biceps.
     
  3. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    This one I don't believe. Two people, one does squats only, another does a full body workout including curls and does leg extension for quads. I say the full body workout will have the biggest arms 9 out of 10 times. Muscles aren't build by indirect efforts or hormones alone.:tucool:
     
  4. bradh

    bradh Well-Known Member

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    400lb squats will build more mass then leg extensions and curls. Leg Extensions would be very low on my list for effective quad excercises.
     
  5. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    That is not the question it is "if the only exercise I did in the gym was squat, would, let's say, my biceps become bigger even though I wouldn't work them out directly at all?" Squats won't put muscles on your arms if you use no other exercise.

    Leg extensions have been used by nearly every pro bodybuilder in the last 30 years, they also used squats. Squats are a compound exercise that works many muscles, extensions are an isolation movement that works the quads directly. In both you use as heavy a weight as you can handle, if you are doing 400lb squats, I suppose you are using 225 or more on your extensions for 8-12 reps. :bb:
     
  6. betastas

    betastas Well-Known Member

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    I've also seen studies that point to the Human Growth Hormone having a pale effect in comparison to the insulin response and PWO nutrition. It seems that squats are better because they stimulate many muscles, not because of the HGH. I am afraid I cannot quote the studies as I am too unmotivated to find then right now, although the point was that nutrition > exercise.
     
  7. steven

    steven Well-Known Member

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    yeah but he is asking if one only does squats will his biceps grow because of the release of hormones or whatever.
    obviously someone doing fullbody workout with no squats will get the bigger arms since they are actually working their bis/tris..
     
  8. Gordo

    Gordo Well-Known Member

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    maybe......but very slowly and only up to a certain point, probably.

    Deads would likely put more on your bi's depending on which grip you choose but a little less on your legs than squats.

    It's sort of a moot point because you're not likely to do only one exercise ALL the time EVERY time. You'd simply tire of it eventually. If you only did that, you'd be short changing yourself anyways and setting up for muscular imbalance.
     
  9. marysson

    marysson Well-Known Member

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    Is this same Squat hormone effect gained from Hack Squats too?
     
  10. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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    Any exercise that is taken heavy will have a hormonal response; the heavier the weight is in absolute terms the better response, I believe. Heavy full barbell squats, by virtue of a great number of muscles used and a long ROM, happen to have the largest.

    Hack squats can also serve the purpose.
     
  11. Demon Knight

    Demon Knight Well-Known Member

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    Simple answer is no, your arms won't get significantly bigger by doing squats. However, they won't get significantly bigger by killing them with bicep curls and tricep extensions either!

    Your body tries keep a certain ratio.For a typically genetic guy, tt won't let your arms get 16" big when you have a 35 inch chest or 20 inch legs.The squat and deadlift are used to increase overall muscle mass, in other words make you bigger.

    Knock on effect? You can now SUPPORT bigger arms. You still have to do bench press, shoulder press and rows which indirectly involve the arms to get them bigger. It is NOT necessary to do much arm isolation work to make them big. But its fun!:D

    90% of all people at the gym kills themselves with curls, not growing an inch (There is the lucky 1% who have got the genetics and/or are on steroids but any training will make them big!). If you are 5'9" and have a Lean Body Mass of 140lbs or so, don't expect to have much bigger an arm than 14". However, if you are 5'9" and you have a Lean Body Mass of 170lbs, then you should be iaround 16". Get the picture?
     
  12. Atkinson

    Atkinson Well-Known Member

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    I would say no. Hack squats are are a quad dominant exercise with very little use for stabilizers in your back, calves, and hams. Now, if you are doing hacks and going all the way down ass-to-the-grass, then I can see the benefit.
     
  13. RTE

    RTE Well-Known Member

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    Rethink that, check out exrx.net for muscles affected:

    BB Hack Squats

    Target
    Quadriceps

    Synergists
    Gluteus Maximus
    Adductor Magnus
    Soleus

    Dynamic Stabilizers
    Hamstrings
    Gastrocnemius

    Stabilizers

    Erector Spinae
    Trapezius, Middle
    Levator Scapulae
    Trapezius, Upper

    Antagonist Stabilizers
    Rectus Abdominis
    Obliques
     
  14. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    You are quite correct that the muscles go well beyond the quads for hack squats.

    On the other hand, since most people can barbell squat more than they can hack, the barbell squat typically has a bigger hormone response.

    What exercise has the biggest hormone response? The one with the biggest muscles under the biggest load. For some people with unusually large upper development this could even be the bench press, or weighted pullups. For other people, deadlift could be the answer (I'm pretty sure my brother was that way). I think the barbell squat is most frequently mentioned for this because it's the one for most people that they can do heaviest with the most muscles.
     
  15. tennisball

    tennisball Well-Known Member

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    Right. I also believe that the HGH release myth was debunked a while ago. Not that I don't think squats aren't great mass builders, but from what I've read, you release more HGH during sleep than from any exercise.



     
  16. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    Interesting -- I was just going to write the same thing, because I have also read that more HGH is released during sleep than after doing squats.

    I always get a little annoyed when somebody writes: "How do I get big arms?" And invariably, there is at least one reply that says: "Do squats!". You get the same thing with deadlifts too.

    Want huge arms? Do squats

    Want a huge chest? Do deadlifts

    Triceps lagging? More squats

    Cure cancer? Squats + Deadlifts.....yada yada yada....

    Don't get me wrong, these are great exercises, but they are not the training panacea that everybody wants to make them out to be.

    Kind of interesting -- Wanna know what would happen if you ONLY did deads? Well, there is this guy in my gym who does exactly that. He comes in about twice per week, and does deads with pretty respectable weight, but does nothing else. And when I say nothing else, I really mean nothing else ... not a squat...not a bench press....not even a preacher curl .... nada. His physique? Not bad, but not great. He looks like he has got a strong back, but his most conspicuous feaure is his huge traps....and I mean huge. They are disproportionately large actually .... they make his shoulders look like they slope downwards, and he looks sorta dumpy. He doesn't have huge arms, no huge chest, legs are ok, but nothing spectacular, even his shoulders aren't very big. He looks like he has a lot of lagging body parts.

    As I said, these are great exercises, but don't let some article on the net fool you into thinking squats and deads are enough to cover you.
     
  17. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    GH is only one of many hormones in the exercise response, and it's also one of the hardest ones to measure effectively.

    GH by itself will tend to just promote fat burning. But in the presence of IGF-I, GH promotes muscle growth. So you need to know about IGF-I response as well.

    Now those two right there are enough to get really complicated. They both are stimulated by exercise, and a lot by sleep. The exercise stimulation is pretty complicated - it depends a lot on your training state, age, and sex.

    But exercise seems to cause local secretion of IGF-I. Which means, in the muscle that was exercising, not through the whole body. It seems to be connected with eccentric contractions more than concentric contractions:

    "Results indicate that a single bout of mechanical loading in humans alters activity of the muscle IGF-I system, and the enhanced response to ECC suggests that IGF-I may somehow modulate tissue regeneration after mechanical damage."

    (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11171591&dopt=Abstract)

    OK so this is promotion of IGF-I in the muscle that was contracting. The total serum elevation of IGF-I could be much lower - because the IGF-I in this experiment is not circulating, it's concentrated in the muscle which was contracting.

    So although the bulk IGF-I elevation of sleep might be bigger overall, it might not be bigger in the muscles that you used for exercise. (And this would help explain why people that sleep all the time and do not exercise at all, do not get enormous muscles.)

    This speaks to some of the specifics of the GH exercise response (as opposed to the sleep response). But the whole GH/IGF-I thing is way complicated. Even just measuring GH in a biologically relevant way is very tricky.

    There are a lot of other hormones that respond to exercise (glucagon, insulin, adrenalin, cortisol, lots of thyroid hormones, etc.).

    Many of these have in common feature: a response that depends really strongly on the intensity of the exercise, and mildly on the volume.

    Indirectly, one expects this because that's the way EPOC clearly works. You get a huge EPOC from high intensity, more than volume, but you get more EPOC from more volume than from less. Part of the energy in EPOC is used for restoring the circulating hormones to their resting levels (http://www.drlenkravitz.com/Articles/epoc.html).

    So when you put together the dependence of exercise response on intensity, and the locality of some (but not all) of that response, you come to the conclusion that intense exertion in a large muscle mass is what will push your hormones hard. Volume matters, but not as much as intensity.

    Probably the most obvious exercises for this are squats and deads. They're easy, pretty safe, and they hit a lot of muscles hard. If you are well trained, you might be able to do a full body workout that is as intense - it's intensity much more than volume that stimulates hormones in response to exercise.

    So there is nothing magic about squats or deads in terms of the hormone response to exercise, but they fit the description of an exercise that can be intense for a large muscle mass.
     
  18. BreakingPoint

    BreakingPoint Well-Known Member

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    Well, I can tell you from experience, I've been doing squats for a while. During my recent bulk I did them too, heavily, but my arms didn't start growing until I hit them with loads of direct-arm work volume.

    I'm not a believer that squats and deads will make your entire body grow like some say. On a side note, I don't even do conventional deads.
     
  19. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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    As a counterpoint, my limbs grow best when I am doing squats and deadlifts. :nod: Without them, gains are not as great.

    I've also done only squats in the past and this, along with diet, is enough to maintain my muscle mass, but not my strength.
     
  20. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    Zenpharoahs -- Good stuff. Thanks! :tu:
     

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