Did you know there are certain ways you can train that will ignite a larger testosterone response allowing for greater muscle growth and performance?

And have you ever wondered why some muscles grow faster than others?

Andorgens such as testosterone and Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) bind to androgen receptors which are then activated, causing a direct effect on the targeted tissue. The androgen receptor will then interact with other proteins, and become involved in other actions, resulting in muscle growth.

Androgen receptors are more common in certain areas of the body. By utilizing more or increasing the density of an androgen receptor we allow for a higher free testosterone utilization rate. This can result in greater muscular development.

(Free testosterone: is also referred to as bioavailable testosterone.)

What is an Androgen

Androgens such as testosterone and (DHEA) are a group of hormones that play a vital role in male characteristics, reproductive activity and especially in muscle development.

What is an Androgen receptor

Androgen receptors play a major role in utilizing free testosterone. Androgen receptors are the binding site for the androgen’s such as testosterone and DHT.

Androgen receptors are located in muscle and other tissues throughout the body. These receptors are activated when testosterone or DHT binds to them. Men have more androgen receptors and should, therefore, be sensitized to circulating androgen, which might explain some of the differences in upper-body size between men and women.

Activating receptors and testosterone utilization

Activating receptors won’t necessarily boost your T levels but will increase the utilization of free testosterone.

The more androgen receptors you have and the greater their density, the more anabolic your testosterone will be.

There are a couple of ways to increase androgen receptor density:

In this article, we will discuss more about the resistance training method.

Resistance training not only increases testosterone production it also increases the activity and density of androgen receptors in muscle tissue. Research has shown that trained men have significantly higher AR content in their muscles than non-trained individuals.

Taking into considerations these factors a natural bodybuilding is limited by

  1. Limited testosterone.
  2. A number of testosterone receptors.

This is why it is common for men on steroids to experience a large amount of muscle growth without training. This is due to an increase in androgen receptors and free testosterone levels.

Which muscles have the most androgen receptors?

Generally, the upper body has a higher level of androgen receptors- traps, shoulders, delts, etc.
The least receptors are located in calves  & forearms, which is why they are both notoriously difficult to gain mass on.

This will explain why men on Anabolic steroids shoulders look 3d or look like buldgers . Not many natural guys have crazy shoulder size instead they will look more athletic.

Natural shoulder shape left vs unnatural shoulder shape right

Calvs have the least androgen receptors that’s why you’ll see men that are on TRT/steroids calves still remain small after using steroids while other muscles will increase in size.

Arnolds small calves compared to the rest of his body

Why steroid users shoulder and traps size explode 

We have identified that there is more receptors in the upper body especially in the shoulders and traps. Here is a study that has examined the relationship between the androgen receptors located in the traps and limb muscles and the intake of anabolic steroids.

 Testosterone and androgen receptor Training tips

Weight training has proven to up-regulate the activity and density of androgen receptors within muscle tissue.

In general, men that do Resistance training will have plenty of receptors but not enough testosterone. Increasing testosterone levels should be the first focus and then increasing androgen receptor density.

Here are some training tips for men that want to increase the utilization of testosterone via improving receptor sensitivity.

  1. Focus on increasing testosterone levels first
  2. Activate as much tissue during the shortest amount of time. 
  3. Progress with your lifts on a weekly basis, and rest accordingly to actually be able to do that.
  4. Train upper body at least twice a week
  5. Train legs no more than once a week to keep hormonal stress to a minimum. Squats don’t increase testosterone levels or androgen density. Multiple Leg sessions may actually hinder your performance during upper body sessions.

The big picture

Yes, increasing androgen density will result in more muscle growth. One of the easiest ways to increase androgen receptor activity is with resistance training. Let’s not get carried away with just increasing androgen receptors activity and instead we should focus more on increasing our resting testosterone levels.

Should we cater our workout to improve receptor activity?

To be honest, if you do so the results might not be that dramatic. So  I would suggest sticking to what you are doing if it is working for you or just to stick to what you enjoy. Just take in consideration of following  3 tips.

  1. Always ensure you have enough rest days to fully recover.
  2. You always include upper body compound movements in your workouts. Working at a medium rep range and,
  3. Always progress with your lifts weekly.

Unless you are a bodybuilder just focusing on increasing your testosterone levels and lifting weights 3 times a week will reward you with great results. If you would like more tips on how to boost T levels (click here).