Strength Training - The Secret Ingredient to Hormone Balance

Most of us underestimate the power of regular strength training to help improve & maintain hormone balance & as a result optimise fat loss. The right volumes of training as well as knowing what muscle groups to train & how often will be key principles you need to learn in order to see ongoing changes to your physique.

When we strength training we automatically start to produce the right hormones that control our metabolism & that help develop lean muscle. The hormone which is responsible for controlling all other hormones in the body or what I like to call the mother hormone or switch board hormone is DHEA.

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is made by the adrenal glands & is a precursor to how much of the other hormones your body produces like oestrogen, testosterone & progesterone. It also helps to regulate hormones such as cortisol & insulin that when out of balance can hinder fat loss.

Too little of this important hormone is often reflected by low muscle tone (in particular mid-arm muscle) or an inability to gain lean muscle as well as adrenal, thyroid & metabolism issues.

Before you begin…

The obvious pre-requisites for undergoing a training regime are to make sure you’re injury free. I always suggest consulting a health care professional to help rehabilitation for any pre-existing injuries you may have.

Regarding hormone health, if you are constantly battling fatigue or suspect you have pre-existing hormonal issues relating to low DHEA levels, supporting your adrenals is vital before undergoing any sort of rigorous, regular training program. You can find out more about supporting adrenals here

Do not let your training efforts be in vain. Learn these few key strength training principles below & get a handle on how to approach your strength training regime.

So how much Strength Training do I need?

As a bare minimum to get a decent hormonal response for the body; 3+ times per week. If 3 sessions is all you can manage I strongly advise 2 days be leg dominant. Your leg muscles are the biggest in your body & therefore release more of the right hormones when training. Leg training achieves the best metabolic response so when people say “never skip leg day” you now know why!

The secret to maintaining an overall lean physique is to make leg exercises your key foundational muscle group in your training program. This is not to say we do not train upper body but again we are talking about the best outcome for the objective of hormone balance & fat loss.

As the 3rd session I would then focus on the bigger muscles of the upper body incorporating multi-joint or compound exercises which utilise the most muscles & also again achieve a greater hormone response.

If you have an additional 1-2 days to train repeat the bigger muscles of upper body once again & then the final session would be the smaller muscles of the arm and abdominal muscles. 

Remember our objective is about getting the most “bang for your buck” & when you are training legs & upper body we are utilising the abdominals or core so to devote an entire session to these smaller muscles would be an additional session not the foundation of your strength training program.

Other considerations…

Tempo training or the speed at which we lift the weight is perhaps one of the biggest errors people make when entering into a strength training regime. We often want to rush through the workout but I am telling you right now you are missing out on the best benefits of strength training when you approach your workout like this.

You need to vary the tempo to maximise results & create once again the best positive hormonal response from your session.

A variety of repetition ranges is also vital to keep the body guessing and also maximise your training regime.

Training volume (sets) is also fundamental to the best outcome regarding hormone response & lean muscle development. If your body begins to plateau training volume will be the first thing I review in an individual’s training regime.

If you want to learn more about sets, reps, tempos and other training variations that will help you achieve the best hormone response outcomes from regular strength training go to for all the information you need to balance your hormones & shred fat for life.

Yours in Hormone Health & Fitness,

Sally Matterson

"Sally Matterson is one of Australia’s foremost personal trainers. With over 13 years of industry experience, her cutting edge methods of training are in high demand helping actors, models, athletes & everyday people get their bodies in peak physical condition. As a qualified BioSignature"" Practitioner (study of hormones & their correlation to fat storage), she has revolutionised the way her customers and followers think about conventional means of weight loss." - Rockpool Publishing