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If you’re interested in naturally increasing your testosterone levels, certain exercises may help.
In particular, resistance training (otherwise known as “weight training”) and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) have been proven to boost testosterone.
However, some exercises can actually have the opposite effect. Chronic cardio, such as endurance training, increases your body’s cortisol levels, which subsequently decreases your T-levels.
Testosterone is one of the body’s essential hormones. An androgen (male sex hormone), it helps develop male traits, such as body and facial hair, higher muscle mass, and a deeper voice.
In adults, a healthy level of testosterone is important for general health and wellbeing, helps to minimise the risk of disease, and can improve sexual function and body composition.
But what can you do if you suspect that your T-levels are too low? Before you opt for expensive supplements or testosterone replacement therapy, you could simply hit the gym.
Exercises to Increase Testosterone Levels
Not all forms of exercise will boost testosterone levels, but here are 5 that have been proven to help:
1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is characterised by short but intense bursts of exercise, combined with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. It’s known to burn a lot of calories in a short space of time, helps to reduce body fat, and can increase muscle mass in certain individuals.
And it also has the potential for boosting testosterone levels:
- Firstly, a 2011 study found that T levels increased significantly for those performing six “35-m sprints at maximum effort with a 10-second recovery between each sprint”.
- And a 2012 study put HIIT head-to-head with steady-state endurance exercise (SSE). The results observed that those performing 45 minutes of alternating between hard sprints and light jogs every 90 seconds received a higher boost to their testosterone levels than those running continuously for 45 minutes.
2. Resistance Training
Resistance training — often referred to as “weight training” — involves making your muscles work against a weight force. This can be anything from weight machines and free weights to resistance bands or your own body weight.
While there are obvious advantages to this exercise, such as building muscle, burning fat, improving strength and endurance, and enhancing flexibility, the short and long-term T-boosting benefits are an added bonus.
- One study found that men who undertook resistance training 3 times a week for 4 weeks experienced increased testosterone levels immediately after the workout, and over time.
- Another study, meanwhile, found that one 30-minute weightlifting session improved testosterone levels by 21.6 percent.
Just remember, if you’re new to weight training, don’t dive in headfirst! Ask for guidance from a qualified trainer to ensure your form is correct, and to limit the chances of injury.
3. Bodyweight Squats, Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, Sit-Ups
As mentioned above, you don’t need specialist equipment to do resistance training. You can simply use your own weight to your advantage.
By performing bodyweight squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups, you can exercise a range of muscles across your body, growing strength and boosting testosterone.
And the best thing about these exercises? You can start at home (today!) and gradually work your way up. Consider using a fitness app to improve your form and track your progress.
4. Don’t Skip Leg Day
While it can be tempting to think that high testosterone levels mean big biceps (and vice-versa), this doesn’t mean that you should focus solely on upper body muscle-building exercises.
In other words, don’t skip leg day!
A study by the Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics hammers this home. It split participants into an arm-only workout group and a leg-and-arm workout group, with results showing that testosterone increases were significantly higher in those exercising their lower body in addition to their upper body.
5. Rest For Longer
You may not think of rest as an exercise per se, but it’s a vitally important component of an effective workout.
And it could also have an impact on your T-levels.
Research has shown that longer rest periods — of around 120 seconds — between sets are better for raising testosterone. This makes sense as the longer you give yourself to recover, the more weight you’ll be able to lift.
Exercises to Avoid (If You Want to Boost Testosterone)
While high-intensity workouts and strength training have proven links to increased testosterone levels, there are a few exercises that have the opposite effect.
This includes endurance training, such as running or cycling for hours on end. This has been shown to increase cortisol levels while also decreasing testosterone.
Cortisol is a stress hormone, which can impact your sleep, mood, and muscle mass. However, if you get the balance right, a moderate amount of cardio can benefit your body and your mind without triggering excess cortisol production.
Other Ways to Naturally Increase Testosterone
If you have symptoms of low testosterone and you’re interested in boosting your T-levels, here are a few things you can try instead of (or in addition to) working out:
- Take steps to reduce your stress levels, which will, in turn, reduce your cortisol levels. Doing so is helpful as when your cortisol levels go up, your testosterone levels go down.
- Eat a healthy diet high in protein, fat, and carbs. The fuel you put in your body can have an impact on testosterone, as well as other hormones.
- Take vitamin supplements, including vitamin B, vitamin D, and zinc. Zinc supplements, in particular, can boost testosterone levels in those who are deficient in zinc.
- Get plenty of (good quality) sleep. Sleeping only 5 hours a night has been linked to a reduction in testosterone levels. Aim for 7 hours plus for long-term health (and testosterone) benefits.
Keep those T levels up
The powerful threesome of Maca, Ginseng & Zinc is there to help you boost testosterone levels and, in turn, virility. Low T can be a libido killer.
A healthy testosterone level is vital for your health and well-being in general. These exercises can help you naturally boost your body’s most important hormones, while also building strength, burning calories, and shedding body fat.