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Updated On: February 16, 2024
If you want to get stronger, lose fat, and perform well, pay attention to maintaining healthy testosterone levels. This particular hormone is like a boss when it comes to how your muscles work and your response to training.
High testosterone levels make everything we do in the gym easier. But here's the thing: If your testosterone levels are low, it has the opposite effect, making it hard to make any progress. Now, the critical question is: Are there exercises that increase testosterone?
That's what we're diving into in this article. We'll look at what science says and talk about some movements shown to boost your testosterone levels naturally. It doesn't matter if you're a guy or a girl – prioritizing these exercises in your workouts can really affect testosterone levels and lead to a stronger, fitter, and healthier you.
Table of Contents:
Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the male testicles and, to a lesser extent, in the female ovaries. It is a steroid hormone from the androgen family.
Testosterone acts like a messenger telling our body what to do. It's mainly known as the "male" hormone because guys have more of it than girls, but girls have a little bit too. For guys, testosterone does lots of important things.
It helps them grow taller, build muscle mass, make their muscles strong, and it's part of what makes their voices deeper. It also helps them grow facial and body hair. Even though they have less of it, testosterone is still helpful for girls. It helps keep their bones strong and energy and hormone levels balanced.
If someone's testosterone levels are low, it can affect their physical and mental health. They might feel less energetic and have trouble concentrating. Guys might struggle to build muscle or feel like they're not as strong. Additionally, they might have trouble getting or keeping an erection. Girls might experience changes in their periods or have difficulty sleeping well.
Exercise, particularly heavy resistance training, can boost testosterone by signaling your body to produce more. It starts with the endocrine system, a network that releases hormones into the bloodstream to control various bodily functions, such as activated muscle. Since your muscles get challenged when you do physical activities like lifting weights or intense aerobic workouts, your body thinks it needs more testosterone to handle the demands.
As a result, your body releases more testosterone into your bloodstream. Another way exercise can influence testosterone is by increasing the number of androgen receptors in the muscle1. An androgen receptor is like a lock on cells that testosterone and other similar hormones can fit into, influencing how the cells work.
More androgen receptors in a muscle can make it more sensitive to the effects of testosterone and potentially lead to increased muscle growth and strength when these hormones bind to the receptors. One crucial thing to keep in mind is that over-exercising will not have the effects you want, either. Exercising too much potentially leads to lower testosterone and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
To learn more about how exercise increases testosterone, check out our article: Does Working Out Increase Testosterone Levels?
Here are the five best testosterone-boosting exercises. Of course, these are all excellent exercises in general. Testosterone production is an added benefit!
When it comes to effective exercises to build muscle mass and strength, squats are at the top of the list. Squats work big muscle groups like the legs and lower back, which signals your body to release more testosterone.
Learn more about squatting and t-levels in our article: Do Squats Increase Testosterone?
How to do a Squat:
Perform 3-5 sets of 3-6 reps.
Deadlifts are a total body exercise that engages large muscle groups, mainly your upper and lower back and hamstrings, making it one of the best testosterone boosting exercises.
How to Deadlift:
Perform 3-5 sets of 1-5 reps.
The bench press is a compound exercise targeting the chest, shoulders, and arms. Although it doesn't involve as big muscles as squats or deadlifts, it can still help raise testosterone levels.
To perform a Bench Press:
Do 3-5 sets of 3-10 reps.
I could go on and on about the benefits of pull ups, as it is one of the most underrated muscle-building exercises. They work your upper body, especially the upper back and lats, which can contribute to increased testosterone.
Perform the movement by pulling your body up toward an overhead bar until your chin is above it, then slowly lower yourself down.
Do 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps.
Cardio usually doesn't come to mind when thinking of exercises that boost testosterone.
However, HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by short rest periods, which can lead to a temporary testosterone boost. Don't mistake it for endurance training. HIIT is short and intense. It's also one of the best types of exercise for burning fat.
Choose an exercise (sprinting, cycling, pushing a sled, jump lunges, jumping rope - you get the idea!) and do it as fast as you can for 20-30 seconds, then rest for 10-15 seconds. Repeat for ten cycles.
Here are the Best HIIT Treadmill Workouts to help you get started!
How much can exercise improve your testosterone? Well, it depends on a few factors. Here are some things to consider.
Lifting weights is not the only way to boost testosterone levels. There are a few lifestyle factors, supplements, and treatments you can do as well.
If I had to pick the most critical lifestyle factor to naturally increase testosterone, sleep would be it. Sleep is essential for several reasons, including hormone balance.
In healthy young males, even one week of poor sleep lowered testosterone . Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Sleep in a completely dark room. Wear blue light-blocking glasses while watching TV before bed. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
A nutritious diet high in protein, healthy fat, fruit, and vegetables can help keep T levels in check.
Ensure you obtain at least 20% of your calories from fat and get all your micronutrients. Studies have demonstrated low-fat diets lower testosterone levels in men5.
Maintaining a healthy body weight through regular exercise and nutrition can help support healthy testosterone levels. Being overweight is, in fact, the most significant risk factor for low testosterone levels, particularly in middle-aged and older men6.
Regular weight lifting can increase lean muscle mass and improve overall body composition to benefit testosterone.
Chronic stress is known to reduce testosterone.
The body releases cortisol in response to persistent stress, which can interfere with testosterone production. Furthermore, stress can cause poor sleep quality, suppressing testosterone levels further.
Alcohol use can decrease testosterone levels, especially in men. However, it is vital to note that we are discussing excessive drinking.
A glass of whiskey or wine here and there won't make much difference. However, heavy alcohol intake lowers testosterone levels7.
Testosterone boosters are supplements that can encourage your body to make more testosterone. They often contain natural ingredients that send signals to your body, telling it to produce extra testosterone. This can push you to have more of this hormone, which might help build muscles and have more energy.
Interested in checking out some T Boosters packed with effective and natural ingredients? Head to our article on the 7 Best Testosterone Booster Supplements.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is a medical treatment that involves giving your body a controlled amount of testosterone, usually through injections, patches, gels, or other methods. This helps raise your testosterone levels if they're too low.
Some TRT benefits include improving energy, muscle strength, and overall well-being by providing the body with the hormone it needs. It's like giving your body a helping hand to balance its testosterone levels.
And, these days, seeking TRT treatment is easier than ever. For convenience, you can use an online TRT clinic, which will work with you virtually throughout the process. My recommendation is Fountain TRT, as they have world-class doctors and exceptional customer service. You can get the process started with them by filling out a Personalized TRT Evaluation.
Check out the 8 Best Online TRT Clinics for more great options!
Here are answers to a few common questions about boosting your testosterone through strength training.
The best movements to increase testosterone involve large muscle groups - squats, deadlifts, etc.
Yes, running and other high-intensity cardio exercises can temporarily boost testosterone levels.
Yes, lifting weights or doing resistance training increases testosterone levels, primarily when focusing on larger muscle groups.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and compound exercises like squats and deadlifts are among the movements that substantially boost testosterone levels.
Getting good sleep, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly (especially with resistance training), and eating a diet loaded with micronutrients can help increase testosterone levels over time. However, there's no instant way to increase testosterone levels quickly or drastically unless you take exogenous testosterone or TRT.
To sum it up, boosting testosterone by using the right exercises is possible. Moves like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pull-ups, and high-intensity conditioning are the most effective in helping your body make more of this critical hormone.
That said, there are other important ways to maximize your testosterone naturally. Hard workouts are essential, but also take care of sleep, minimize stress, and eat well. These things make a big difference in keeping your testosterone levels in a good place. As long as you do this consistently, you will enjoy the benefits of feeling stronger and healthier.
Interested in pairing your testosterone boosting exercises with another T-boosting strategy? Check out the 7 Best Testosterone Boosters and the 8 Best Online TRT Clinics to find the perfect testosterone-increasing solution for you!
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