The relationship between exercise and testosterone explained
Everyone knows the health benefits that come with regular exercise but did you also know that exercise can help increase your T levels? Yes, working out can increase the levels of testosterone in men.
According to research conducted by various scientists, including Dr. Todd Schroeder of the University of Southern California, working out does increase testosterone levels. However, he goes on to explain that the boost is not permanent. The testosterone increase could last for anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour depending on a number of factors. The effects of such temporary testosterone increases are unfortunately, not yet very clear.
Exercise alone won’t significantly boost the T levels of men with low testosterone, but it will do a lot for men whose T levels lie between normal and low.
Dr. Todd Schroeder
How Does Working Out Increase Testosterone?
So what are the factors that influence the effect of exercise on your T levels? Consider the following:
1. Your age
According to Schroeder’s research data, age can have significant effect on a testosterone boost derived from exercise. Younger men will, in general, get higher testosterone increases after exercise. But that does not mean older men should not exercise; physical activity is known to have a host of health benefits to enjoy.
2. Your weight
Exercise helps people with weight problems and obesity in shedding off excessive pounds. Weight loss through exercise has been found to increase the production of testosterone in men.
3. Your level of fitness
Research has shown that people who do not normally exercise can expect to get a bigger testosterone boost with every workout session compared to people who are fit. The more you exercise, the more you get used to it and the less you get in terms of testosterone boost. Call it the law of decreasing marginal returns. Regular exercise might mean smaller T boosts BUT the boosts tend to last for much longer.
4. The time of your workout
Testosterone boosts for the same person will vary depending on the time of day. Generally speaking, exercising in the evening will increase testosterone more compared to working out in the morning.
What are the Risks in Trying to Use Exercise to Increase Testosterone?
There are many benefits that come with working out to naturally increase testosterone. However, as Dr. Schroeder notes, not all exercise is good for testosterone production. Overdoing your workouts can be counter-productive and actually do more harm than good.
Top athletes and overambitious amateurs who obsessively exercise can show signs of decreased testosterone levels in their bodies. Instead of boosting testosterone, they are increasing the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that has been inversely linked to testosterone; the more cortisol produced in the body, the lower the testosterone levels.
Possible risks that come with over-training to boost T levels:
• Difficulties in recovering from workouts
• Insomnia and sleeping problems
• Excessive soreness
• Loss in strength and performance
Exercises to Increase Testosterone Levels in the Body
Because of the risks of over-training, and the T benefits of regular training, the way forward seems obvious: try to find an optimal balance in your training routine. Of course eating a healthy diet and resting will really help, but the cardinal rule of optimal exercise still remains true for men working out to increase testosterone production levels. The key is to focus on resistance or weight training. However, since not all types of resistance training have equal hormone optimization and muscle building benefits, you should identify which work outs are going to give you maximum benefit. Here are a few tips that should help you in making that choice:
- Work out your legs! Concentrate on compound exercises which engage more muscle groups. Such exercises have been known to trigger bigger hormonal responses compared to other light excises. You will find an example of a great compound workout routine at the end of this article.
- Create and stick to a regular routine for your workouts. Try to include both bodybuilding training and traditional training so you build muscles while at the same time increasing your T levels. Aim to lift weights 2 – 3 x week.
- Cardio is important for fitness but avoid endurance training or endless running; alternate 8 second sprints with 12 seconds of walking to create a T boosting intense workout. Aim for 20 mins 2 – 3 x week.
- Rest in between workouts and forget training everyday! I don’t and I would not be able continue with a regime that was too intense. Enjoy what you do.
The Top 3 Compound Exercises That Increase Testosterone Levels
Here is a list of the top 3 compound exercises to include if you are trying to increase testosterone through working out. It is important to have good technique to gain maximum benefit and prevent injury. I ask the instructors at my gym to help me and also watch YouTube videos. I’ve included some of my favorite Alan Thrall videos.
#1. The Barbell Squat workout to increase testosterone
This exercise has maximum effect on the strongest muscle groupings in the body and improves strength in all movements of the upper body. It works on the glutes and the quads, serving as a strong foundation for the development of the whole physique.
- Place the barbels on a rack at upper chest height.
- Position the bar high on the back of your shoulders and grasp the sides of the barbels.
- Lift the bar from the rack and then stand with your legs apart at shoulder width distance.
- Bend the hips back and squat down while letting your knees bend slightly forward. The knees should point in the same direction that your feet point to and your back should stay straight all the time. Keep descending until your things are on a parallel alignment to the floor.
- Extend your hips and knees until your legs are straight once more
- Repeat 4 x 8 – 12 reps.
#2. The Bench Press workout to increase testosterone
This is one of the most common exercise routines among both professional athletes and recreational weight lifters. It does not require much in the way of equipment and is something you can start doing quite easily enough.
- First lie supine (with your stomach facing upwards) on the bench.
- Grasp the bar. While grasping the bar, ensure that your arms are extended wider than the width of your shoulders.
- Arch back and extend your hips.
- Rest your feet flat on the floor and then dismount the barbel from the rack over your chest.
- Lower the barbel down to your chest but only lightly touch your body. Do not let it rest.
- Press the bar upwards until your arms are fully extended.
- Repeat 4 x 8 – 12 reps.
#3. The Dead-lift workout to increase testosterone
This is another relatively common compound exercise that has been known to do wonders in providing a testosterone increase. Its effect can be compared to that of regular squat although the dead-lift is definitely more energy intensive and will likely produce a much greater testosterone boost in the body. The Romanian dead-lift and the Straight-leg dead-lift are the two most common types of dead-lift exercises.
- Stand in front of the Barbel with your toes under the bar and legs separated at shoulder width. You can make the distance narrower but not wider.
- Use a mixed grip or an overhand grip when grasping the barbel while it’s still on the ground.
- Bend and dead-lift the barbell off the floor keeping your back straight. Extend your hips to lift the bar until you assume an upright position. Keep your abs tight throughout the lift.
- Bend your hips to lower the bar while making sure that your back is kept straight. Keep lowering the bar until your lower back is just about to bend or until your hamstrings are tightly stretched.
- Extend your hips to lift the bar until you assume an upright position once more.
- You can pull your shoulders back at the top of the lift to assume your starting position.
- Repeat 4 x 8 – 12 reps.
Each of the three compound exercises described above is enough, on its own, to boost testosterone levels in an average male body. However, for maximum testosterone increase it is advisable to adopt a combination of the three exercises whilst working out.
And so….. Does working out increase testosterone? We know compound exercise gives the body a temporary boost and helps to fight obesity. Research still appears to be continuing on the effects of the temporary boost. However shedding pounds and keeping fit will boost your T levels for sure. You will also gain numerous other health benefits so why not have a go at working out to increase testosterone?