Squats vs. Leg Press - Round 2
Posted on: 2014-01-15 21:17:55 Ft.
Which exercise causes a greater response in testosterone and growth hormone (2 potent stimulators of muscle growth)? Find out below and then some.
In a research study conducted in Texas, 10 men with resistance training experience (i.e. weight lifters) performed squats on one day and leg presses on another. On both days, the men performed 6 sets of 10 reps using 80% of their one-rep max (1RM). After each workout, blood samples were taken and the men rated their perceived exertion levels.
The results showed that both exercises increased testosterone and growth hormone levels. However, the increase was considerably higher after the men performed squats.
What's interesting about this study is that there was no difference in perceived exertion for each training day. In other words, the men found both training days equally tiring. The reason why this is interesting is that the men actually did more total work doing squats than leg presses even though they used the same set/rep scheme and percentage of 1RM. This is because squats have a greater range of motion and increase the time under tension of the muscles. In addition, squats require you to move your own body weight.1
Therefore, assuming you're injury free, squatting may be a better choice, but we wouldn't discount leg presses as they do have their place in a proper program design. However, if you have a tendency to blow off squats for leg presses, 'cause you're too tired, you may want to rethink this as the exertion level for both is fairly comparable.
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1. Shaner AA, et al. 2013. The acute hormonal response to free weight and machine weight resistance exercise. Nov 22 [Epub ahead of print]