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Sprinting & Testosterone

by
author image Eric Brown
Eric Brown began writing professionally in 1990 and has been a strength and conditioning coach and exercise physiologist for more than 20 years. His published work has appeared in "Powerlifting USA," "Ironsport" and various peer-reviewed journals. Brown has a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in kinesiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Sprinting & Testosterone
Tostosterone helps women strengthen sprinting muscles. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Testosterone grows your muscles and revs your metabolism. High levels of testosterone contribute indirectly to your ability to sprint. And with the right training and diet, you can make sure your testosterone levels are at their peak at all times. This will allow you to not only become stronger, but recover faster. Consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.

Effects of Testosterone

Testosterone is a steroidal hormone secreted by the testes in men and the adrenal glands in women, but men produce approximately 10 times more testosterone than women. Testosterone is the primary anabolic hormone, or the hormone most responsible for the growth of muscle tissue. Even if you are not trying to grow muscle, low levels of testosterone can make it difficult for you to retain the muscle you do have, which not only gives you less power when you run, but also slows your metabolism.

Training Effects on Hormone Production

Sprinting itself has no effect on testosterone, unless you overtrain, in which case your testosterone levels drop. However, training at high intensities with short rest intervals gives your testosterone levels a brief boost without elevating cortisol levels. It is desirable to keep cortisol levels low, as cortisol is a hormone responsible for muscle wasting and fat storage.

Keeping Your Testosterone Levels Up

Diet is the primary method of ensuring that your endocrine system -- partially responsible for testosterone production -- operates optimally. A diet too low in fat will cause your levels to drop. Fat provides your body with cholesterol and other dietary sterols that your body converts into steroidal hormones, such as testosterone. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are particularly critical, and these can be found in oily fish such as salmon, flax, nuts and seeds. If you have trouble getting these foods in your diet, fish oil and flax oil can be supplemented in liquid or capsule form.

Heavy Resistance Training

Additional training can increase your strength as well as increase your testosterone levels. Heavy resistance training with exercises such as squats build some of your sprinting muscles. This training should be performed the way you run: short and intense. Train with at least 75 percent of your one-repetition maximum, and keep your rest periods short, no more than 90 seconds, to get the maximal response from your endocrine system. Between lifting and running, the only other thing you need to do is rest and recover.

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