Gain muscle and endurance without exercise

There are two ways to gain muscle and endurance without actively performing exercise: using drugs, and having the exercise performed on you.

Testosterone intake for muscle gain

A 1996 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed how testosterone injections alone, with no exercise, caused more fat-free body weight gain than exercise alone.

600mg of weekly testosterone administered for 10 weeks, without any exercise, has on the average increased men's fat-free body weight by 4.5%, their strength by 10%, and their muscle area by 6% (quadriceps) and 12% (triceps). The increase in fat-free body weight was greater than that of a control group who took a placebo and performed exercise (2.7% increase). No negative side effects were noticed.1

The men assigned to testosterone and exercise had greater increases in fat-free mass (6.1±0.6 kg) and muscle size (triceps area, 501±104 mm²; quadriceps area, 1174±91 mm²) than those assigned to either no-exercise group, and greater increases in muscle strength (bench-press strength, 22±2 kg; squatting-exercise capacity, 38±4 kg) than either no-exercise group. Neither mood nor behavior was altered in any group.

Mentioned at http://www.fitnessspotlight.com/2009/07/23/muscle-building-exerciseif-pick/.

Endurance increase without exercise

From a study titled "AMPK and PPARδ Agonists Are Exercise Mimetics", published in Cell:

The benefits of endurance exercise on general health make it desirable to identify orally active agents that would mimic or potentiate the effects of exercise to treat metabolic diseases. Although certain natural compounds, such as reseveratrol, have endurance-enhancing activities, their exact metabolic targets remain elusive. We therefore tested the effect of pathway-specific drugs on endurance capacities of mice in a treadmill running test. We found that PPARβ/δ agonist and exercise training synergistically increase oxidative myofibers and running endurance in adult mice. Because training activates AMPK and PGC1α, we then tested whether the orally active AMPK agonist AICAR might be sufficient to overcome the exercise requirement. Unexpectedly, even in sedentary mice, 4 weeks of AICAR treatment alone induced metabolic genes and enhanced running endurance by 44%. These results demonstrate that AMPK-PPARδ pathway can be targeted by orally active drugs to enhance training adaptation or even to increase endurance without exercise.

User discussion at http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/01/1438239.

AICAR can be purchased at http://www.caymanchem.com/app/template/Product.vm/catalog/10010241/a/z.

Electronic muscle stimulation

December 2004 study: THE EFFECTS OF NEUROMUSCULAR ELECTRICAL STIMULATION TRAINING ON ABDOMINAL STRENGTH, ENDURANCE, AND SELECTED ANTHROPOMETRIC MEASURES -- John P. Porcari , Jennifer Miller, Kelly Cornwell, Carl Foster, Mark Gibson, Karen McLean and Tom Kernozek

Abstract, full text, PDF. News releases in the La Crosse Tribune and the Minneapolis Business Wire (none of which link to the study, of course). Study findings summary:

  • experimental group: 24 adults, 25-50, BMI between 18-30; control group: 16 adults
  • stimulated their abdominals 5 days per week (20-40 minutes per session)
  • for 8 weeks
  • no additional exercise during the study
  • stimulation group had a 58% increase in abdominal strength
  • stimulation group also had a 100% increase in abdominal endurance
  • Waist circumference "decreased by of 3.5 cm"
  • All 24 subjects in the stimulation group felt that their midsections were more "toned" and "firmed"
  • 13/24 (54%) felt that their posture had improved
  • no significant differences in body weight, BMI, or skinfold thickness
  • "neuromuscular electrical stimulation, as used in the current study, resulted in significant improvements in the muscular strength and endurance of the abdominal region, as well as subject's perceived shape and satisfaction of the mid-section."

Footnotes


  1. "Doses as high as 300 mg per week have been given to normal men for 16 to 24 weeks without major toxic effects.34 [...] Acne developed in three men receiving testosterone and one receiving placebo, and two men receiving testosterone reported breast tenderness, but no other side effects were noted. [...] No differences were found between the exercise groups and the no-exercise groups or between the placebo groups and the testosterone groups in any of the five subcategories of anger assessed by the Multidimensional Anger Inventory. No significant changes in mood or behavior were reported by the men on the Mood Inventory or by their live-in partners, spouses, or parents on the Observer Mood Inventory. [...] to our knowledge the dose of testosterone enanthate administered in this study (600 mg per week) is the highest administered in any study of athletic performance. Undoubtedly, some athletes and bodybuilders take even higher doses than those we gave. Furthermore, athletes often "stack" androgenic and anabolic steroids, taking multiple forms simultaneously. We do not know whether still higher doses of testosterone or the simultaneous administration of several steroids would have more pronounced effects. The absence of systemic toxicity during testosterone treatment was consistent with the results of studies of the contraceptive efficacy of that hormone.34
    ― Shalender Bhasin, M.D., Thomas W. Storer, Ph.D., Nancy Berman, Ph.D., Carlos Callegari, M.D., Brenda Clevenger, B.A., Jeffrey Phillips, M.D., Thomas J. Bunnell, B.A., Ray Tricker, Ph.D., Aida Shirazi, R.Ph., and Richard Casaburi, Ph.D., M.D. "The Effects of Supraphysiologic Doses of Testosterone on Muscle Size and Strength in Normal Men", The NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL of MEDICINE, Volume 335:1-7, July 4, 1996 ↩

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