Exercises That Release Human Growth Hormones

The pituitary gland is about the size of a pea and it sits at the base of the brain behind the nose. Even though it is small, this does not take away from its importance to the body. It produces human growth hormone (HGH), which is quintessential for growth when you are an adolescent. Once you are fully grown, HGH is responsible for the proper functioning of organs and tissues. If you are looking to boost your levels, you can get this done by performing exercise; but not just any exercises. They should be compound. Compound exercises involve more than one joint and they recruit more than one muscle group.

A woman is training in a gym. (Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images)


Pushups are a popular body weight exercise that can be performed just about anywhere. They recruit your chest muscles, triceps, shoulders and abs all at the same time, which qualifies them as compound exercises. To perform these, lie on your stomach with your hands directly under your shoulders. Push yourself up in the air until your arms are straight, then lower yourself back down until you are about the width of your fist off the ground. Repeat for a series of reps. When you do these, keep your back completely straight and your abs contracted. To make these more intense, place your feet on a chair or bench.


Pullups are another body weight compound exercise that works your back, shoulders, chest and biceps all at once. To do these, grab the bar with an overhand grip with your hands just past shoulder-width apart. Keep your body straight and pull yourself up until your chest is the height of the bar. Lower yourself back down and repeat. You can also do these with a wide grip, close grip and reverse grip.

Bench Presses

Bench presses are often done as a mass builder. To do these, lie on the bench and grab the bar in a wide grip. Push it off the safety pins and hold it straight above you with your arms straight. Slowly lower it down until it is right above your chest, then push it back up. Take a big inhale when you lower it and exhale when you lift it.


Deadlifts are a compound exercise that works your back, legs and glutes. To do these, load a barbell with heavy weights. Come into a wide stance behind the bar. Bend your knees, squat down and grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip. Keeping your back straight and gaze fixed forward, lift the bar off the ground and come to a standing position. Lower it back to the ground and repeat. When you do these, you can use an overhand grip or an alternating grip. They can also be done with dumbells.

Clean and Press

Clean and presses work every major muscle in the body. To do them, load a barbell and stand behind it. Squat down and grab it in a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. Lift the bar, swing it around to the level of your chest, then forcefully push it straight above your head. Slowly lower it back to your chest then back to the ground and repeat. These can also be done with dumbells.


Lunges are a compound exercise that work the butt, quads, hamstrings and calves. To do these, take a long step forward and bend your front knee so it is 90 degrees. Your back knee should be just above the ground. Stand back up and step forward with your other foot. Plant your foot and do the same thing. Continue lunging across the room for a series of steps. If you want to make it more intense, hold onto dumbells while you lunge.

Varying Levels

When exercising on a regular basis, your body increases growth hormone after each session, and it continues over a 24-hour period. The amount of growth hormone your body produces during exercise is dependent on your age, the work-rest interval, the load and the frequency of the resistance exercise you're doing. Younger adults, especially women, tend to produce more growth hormone with exercise even after aerobic activities, according to a research study published in Sports Medicine.

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