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Are Prohormones A Safe Alternative To Anabolic Steroids?
By: Richard Mitchell

Steroid prohormones such as androstenedione and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) have become popular in recent years as safer alternatives to anabolic steroids, but two questions need to be answered:

1. Are they effective in stimulating muscle growth?

2. Are they safe to use?

The theory behind prohormones is that they are building blocks for testosterone and are converted into testosterone by the body. Very little definitive scientific research exists to back up the claims of prohormone manufacturers. The difficulty seems to be that the minimum dosage levels recommended by manufacturers appear to be insufficient to stimulate a measurable clinical reaction. Many users point to the effectiveness of prohormones when doses that exceed recommended levels are taken, hence the difficulty for researchers - do you subject human participants to potentially dangerous doses?

Safety concerns are similar to those that relate to steroids. Some studies report that side effects can include acne, production of estrogen, development of breast tissue in males and development of masculine features in females.

At the time of writing some doubts surround the future of prohormones as health authorities may consider selective banning of some products.

Richard Mitchell is the creator of the website that provides guidance and information to athletes at all levels of bodybuilding experience. Go to Bodybuilding Advice to learn more about the issues covered in this article.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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