2 Most Important Adrenal Hormones
The adrenal glands fire as we create stress through exercise. Adrenal hormones are responsible for our fight-or-flight instinct and can be utilized during strength and conditioning. Adrenal glands promote secretion of hormones that provide benefits for strength training; like testosterone. When is comes to exercising the 2 most important hormones secreted from the adrenal glands are cortisol and catecholamines.
Cortisol is responsible for carbohydrate metabolism by converting amino acids into carbohydrates. Cortisol helps store glycogen in the muscles and this glycogen provides energy for the muscles during contraction. When the muscles run out of glycogen for energy they turn to protein. This adrenal hormone increases production of enzymes that break down protein. The greatest amount of cortisol is produced during anaerobic workouts where total volume is high and rest is short.
Even though Cortisol has essential properties, a large buildup is detrimental. Overtraining and high stress are two major factors that can cause build up of Cortisol. Signs of overtraining can be a plateau or decrease in performance. When a large amount of this hormone exists it causes suppression of immune system cells. This negative impact on the immune system leads to a decreased rate of muscle recovery and growth.
Cortisol buildup can result in a loss of protein because it causes an increased rate of protein breakdown. This takes away essential energy from the muscle and decreases strength. If there is more testosterone and insulin hormones present than they will counter the negative effects produced by cortisol. Even though overtraining can be bad in the short run it can be beneficial in the long run once we decrease the load and allow our muscles to recover.
This hormone has a more physiological effect that contributes to better muscle performance. Through central motor stimulation catecholamines increase focus, rate of muscle contraction, blood flow, and energy. Greater levels of catecholamine secretion occurs during conditioning sessions with a mixture of high volume , heavy resistance, and low rest.
Optimize Adrenal Hormone Production
Ideally your workout should change often so you do not burn out your adrenal gland and delay muscle recovery rates. Focus on larger muscle group exercises such as deadlifts, power cleans, squats, and bench press. Our reps should consist of high volume with heavy weight. Rest should consist of 10-60 seconds, reps could be anywhere from 8-15, sets should range from 2-3, and the weight should be your max for the coinciding repetition. The rest, reps and sets should vary to avoid cortisol buildup.