How to Increase IGF-1 Naturally

Written by daniel bradley
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How to Increase IGF-1 Naturally
IGF-1 helps muscles grow larger. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you ever wondered what specifically helps your muscles get larger, you can rely on the hormone IGF-1. IGF-1 stands for insulin-like growth factors, and its benefits create much interest in individuals looking to increase muscular size. IGF-1 and human growth hormones -- hGH -- are closely entwined. The National Strength and Conditioning Association reports that the effects of hGH are mediated through IGF-1, and its release has been shown to be highly correlated with natural anabolic protein growth. By stimulating the release of IGF-1 and its hormonal companion hGH, you greatly increase the likelihood of gaining muscular lean tissue in a healthy manner.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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    Increasing IGF-1 Levels

  1. 1

    Perform resistance exercises with intensities that are 85 to 100 percent of your 8 to 15 repetition maximums. Use 8 to 15 reps to place your set in the hypertrophy zone, because this zone is responsible for muscular size gain. Lift intensities that are 85 to 100 percent of your 8 to 15 rep maximum, because this triggers human growth hormone release, which in turn helps release IGF-1. Execute at least three sets, and rest no more than a minute between sets. Target large or multiple muscle groups for optimal results.

  2. 2

    Sprint short distances -- 20 yards, 40 yards, 100 m -- with interval training. Rest in between sprints at a ratio that is equal to the entire duration of the sprint at minimum, or three times the duration of the sprint at maximum.

  3. 3

    Run at an intensity of 75 to 79 percent of your maximum heart rate continuously for at least 10 minutes. This keeps you in the high-intensity portion of the aerobic zone, and just under the anaerobic zone and lactate threshold, in which 10 minutes of continuous running cannot be met.

  4. 4

    Supply yourself with adequate rest. Sleep roughly eight hours a night to trigger hGH and IGF-1 release.

  5. 5

    Eat complete protein and complex carbohydrates before and after a training session, because IGF-1 is sensitive to the acute intake of both macronutrients.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure you are performing within the exercise intensity parameters. The serum levels of the IGF-1 and hGH hormones in the blood will not increase naturally unless high stress is met.
  • Do not overtrain. Give your muscles ample rest, as training at these intensities can cause excessive muscular fatigue.

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