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The Facts About Anabolic Steroids
By: Rick Mitchell

Anyone involved in the world of bodybuilding, and competitive sport generally, will understand the pressures that go with striving to achieve optimal performance. Sometimes athletes feel they cannot reach their peak without artificially enhancing their powers of recovery from intensive training. One way to speed up this process is through the use of anabolic steroids. In this article we'll examine what anabolic steroids actually do. In a second article we'll focus on the dangers associated with steroid use.

The main active ingredient in steroids is testosterone which is well known as the major male hormone. Testosterone affects the body in two ways, either as an anabolic or an androgenic influence. The anabolic action helps build body tissue by increasing lean muscle mass and bone density. The androgenic actions are those that affect secondary sex characteristics in men.

In recent years research has provided some interesting information in relation to testosterone:

1. It affects muscle size through muscle fiber hypertrophy with an increase in the cross-sectional area of muscle fiber.

2. It takes a dose of at least 300 milligrams of testosterone to raise the body's level above normal.

3. It acts directly on the muscle itself.

4. It stimulates the release of growth hormone.

5. It has an anti-catabolic effect.

From these facts we can deduce that testosterone is an effective aid to muscle building and that it must be taken in significant quantities to have this effect. As far as bodybuilding is concerned the science beyond this is somewhat limited as most users base their steroid regimes on little more than trial and error or the advice of 'veterans'. Due to the illegal nature of steroid use little scientific data exists to confirm the effectiveness of the many steroid supplements in use.

It is perhaps the tendency of some bodybuilders to use a combination of powerful steroids and other drugs that presents the very real dangers that have sometimes led to tragic conquences.

About the Author

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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