5 Testosterone Boosting Exercises

testosterone boosting exercises
Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
20th August 2020

Erections aren’t always easy for millions of men in the UK. It’s no big deal. Choose from highly effective, clinically proven solutions.

In 30 Seconds 

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. 

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. 

A few studies even suggest that regular physical activity by older men and by men who were sedentary can be linked to higher testosterone levels.

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:

  • 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.
Testosterone Support

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.


Taken Daily
1 Tablet

Key Takeaways

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. 

References

  1. Babak FarzadReza GharakhanlouHamid Agha-AlinejadDavid G CurbyMahdi BayatiMorteza BahraminejadJarek Mäestu (2011). Physiological and performance changes from the addition of a sprint interval program to wrestling training: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21849912

  2. A C HackneyK P HosickA MyerD A RubinC L Battaglini (2012). Testosterone responses to intensive interval versus steady-state endurance exercise: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23310924

  3. Rafael Timón AndradaM Maynar MariñoD Muñoz MarínG J Olcina CamachoM J CaballeroJ I Maynar Mariño (2007). Variations in urine excretion of steroid hormones after an acute session and after a 4-week programme of strength training: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17051372

  4. Lawrence W. Weiss, Kirk J. Cureton & Frederick N. Thompson (1983). Comparison of serum testosterone and androstenedione responses to weight lifting in men and women: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00423247

  5. Zeki AriNecip KutluBekir Sami UyanikFatma TaneliGurbuz BuyukyaziTalat Tavli (2004). Serum testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor-1 levels, mental reaction time, and maximal aerobic exercise in sedentary and long-term physically trained elderly males: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15204068

  6. Diana VaamondeMarzo Edir Da Silva-GrigolettoJuan Manuel García-MansoNatalibeth BarreraRicardo Vaamonde-Lemos (2012). Physically active men show better semen parameters and hormone values than sedentary men: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22234399

  7. S HansenT KvorningM KjaerG Sjøgaard (2001). The effect of short-term strength training on human skeletal muscle: the importance of physiologically elevated hormone levels: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11782267

  8. Rahman RahimiMohammad QaderiHassan FarajiSaeed S Boroujerdi (2010). Effects of very short rest periods on hormonal responses to resistance exercise in men: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20555276

  9. Mikel IzquierdoKeijo HakkinenJavier IbanezAlazne AntonMiriam GarruesMaite RuestaEsteban M Gorostiaga (2003). Effects of strength training on submaximal and maximal endurance performance capacity in middle-aged and older men: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12580668

  10. S MelamedU UgartenA ShiromL KahanaY LermanP Froom (1999). Chronic burnout, somatic arousal and elevated salivary cortisol levels: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10454175

  11. D C CummingM E QuigleyS S Yen (1983). Acute suppression of circulating testosterone levels by cortisol in men; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6348068

  12. D T BishopA W MeikleM L SlatteryJ D StringhamM H FordD W West (1988). The effect of nutritional factors on sex hormone levels in male twins: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3360302

  13. Ghanbarali Raeis JalaliJamshid RoozbehAzam MohammadzadehMaryam SharifianMohammad Mahdi SaghebAlireza Hamidian JahromiSanaz ShabaniFariborz GhaffarpasandRaha Afshariani (2010). Impact of oral zinc therapy on the level of sex hormones in male patients on hemodialysis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20446777

  14. Rachel Leproult 1Eve Van Cauter (2011). Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21632481

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

Further reading

From our health centre. Experts, information and hot topics. See all Testosterone articles