Arms Don't Grow Faster With Leg Training: Stuart M. Phillips Busts Ronnestad's "Hormonal Ghosts"
|Image 1: Although Tom Platz had massive|
arms, as well, there is little conclusive scientific
evidence that this was a result of leg training.
As Phillips points out, Ronnestad's conclusion that training legs+arms results in bigger guns or, rather, that without training legs, your arms won't grow at all is funded in
selective reporting (considering only the site of the largest CSA), incomplete statistical analysis (not comparing the changes (in CSA between arms), and questionable MR practices (Phillips. 2011)In his analysis of the Ronnestad study, Phillips shows conclusively that, according to Ronnestad's own figures (Phillips refers to figure 6 of the paper, in particular), the authors' statement that
only L + A [leg plus arm training—a high ‘anabolic’ hormonal exposure condition] achieved increase in the CSA at the part of the arm ﬂexors with the largest cross-sectional area (p \ 0.001), while no changes occurred in A [arm only training—a low ‘anabolic’ hormonal exposure condition]. (Ronnestad. 2011)is not sustainable, since "examination of Fig. 6 in their paper reveals that signiﬁcant hypertrophy did occur at two sites (of 4 measured) in the A arm", i.e. the non-leg-trained arm. By means as simple as drawing a few vertical lines (cf. figure 1) Phillips is able to show that the hypertrophic response to the training stimulus was in fact identical in three out of the four measured cross sections.
|Figure 1: Four horizontal lines are all it took Phillips to show that there must be something wrong with Ronnestad's data; after all, it is unlikely that section 8 of the biceps had atrophied in the course of the stud (illustration taken from Phillip's letter to the editor of the European Journal of Applied Physiology)|
|Image 2: Make your biceps grow with the SuppVersity EMG series!|
Even if one neglects the questionable measuring practice of Ronnestad et al., in the course of which the "scanned arm [was] stretched behind the head and centered in the middle of the machine" (Ronnestad. 2011), the absence of an "estimate of variability of the procedure they used in their lab" and the questionable reference to "similarities" to magneto resonance scans (note that Ronnestad et al. used CT scans ;-) carried out by Moss et al. (Moss. 1997), the Ronnestad study is a particularly good example for the way research hypotheses can interfere with the "objective results" of scientific studies by establishing a (often unconscious) bias towards "desired" results. Selective reporting, incomplete statistical analysis and ad-hoc explanations for differences to the findings of previous studies are the undesirable, yet completely human manifestations of this phenomenon, I want everyone of you to be aware of - even if this means that my own thoughts and conclusions, which are almost always produced under time-pressure, are about to get more critical comments in the future ;-)