Most training styles offer participants a specific type of body change, whether it’s slimming, lengthening, or building strength. Clients come to fitness professionals with specific goals in mind of what they want to achieve, so how do we best help them reach their goals? In my experience, most clients need to increase their strength to support their structure before beginning more intense workouts because of sedentary lifestyles. When strength is the goal, are weight machines always the most efficient?
A recent study compared the hormonal response to squatting with a barbell versus a decline leg press (Shaner et al., 2013). Following blood testing, researchers concluded that squatting elicited the greatest change in levels of circulating growth hormone and testosterone (both are required for the growth of muscle and skeletal mass). This study was not perfect, as the squats and leg press were not full range and, if the subject could not finish their set, a spotter aided them. However, it does bring up interesting points to consider as a personal trainer or group fitness instructor.