Does Exercise Increase Testosterone? (And Which Ones Do)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 7, 2023
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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Any time you start a conversation with someone about testosterone production and how higher testosterone levels have a significant impact on men’s health and fitness, people immediately jump to the conclusion you’re talking about steroid hormones.

In fact, natural healthy testosterone levels are one of the most important factors when people constantly gain weight despite a healthy diet.

The good news is that you can break the cycle of low testosterone and weight gain by introducing the right kind of fitness and resistance training.

Let me explain.

Quick Summary

  • To naturally increase testosterone levels, incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and regular resistance training into your exercise routine.
  • Alongside exercise, reducing stress and taking mineral and vitamin supplements can further enhance testosterone production.
  • Short sprints resulted in significantly higher hormone increases compared to a 45-minute run.
  • In my personal opinion, a balanced approach combining both exercise and lifestyle changes is the most effective strategy for boosting testosterone levels.

How Does Exercise Increase Testosterone?

shirtless man flexing both his arms

There are two things you have to understand when it comes to testosterone and how your body responds to it.

Normal Testosterone Production

Testosterone levels in a healthy individual typically fluctuate modestly during the day, avoiding extreme variations.

For men, testosterone, produced primarily in the testicles, is crucial for libido, muscle development, and other physical attributes.

Women produce less testosterone in the ovaries, and it has a lesser impact on their overall health and weight management.

However, if you are experiencing significant fluctuations in testosterone levels or related symptoms, seeking guidance from a trusted online TRT clinic can provide expert advice and effective treatment options.

These clinics specialize in testosterone optimization and can help you achieve a balanced hormonal state and optimal well-being.

Exercise And Testosterone

Physically active men will naturally produce more testosterone if they do the right kind of resistance exercise. The increased T count will get to all muscle groups, and the sex hormones will help increase the amount of muscle fibers.

Muscle protein synthesis is enhanced by growth hormone and testosterone, benefiting not only endurance athletes but anyone looking to improve muscle mass.

Elevated testosterone levels significantly influence body composition. Next, we'll explore methods to naturally boost testosterone levels.

“Your body’s at its peak T at age 20, and then it slowly declines, reducing by 1% each year starting at around age 40. Luckily, you can stave off the process.”

- Mensjournal.com

What Kind Of Exercises Boost Testosterone Levels?

woman in an intense workout and a man lifting a barbell

Regular exercise is essential for boosting testosterone levels.

Infrequent workouts won't yield significant improvements; consistent and progressive training is key to enhancing testosterone responses.

Try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

In my coaching experience, I've seen HIIT transform clients' fitness levels. It's all about pushing hard at each station with little rest, a technique I personally use for maximum intensity.

This method is proven effective, as a study published in PubMed comparing short sprints with a 45-minute run showed significantly higher hormone increases in sprinters [1].

The intensity of exercise is directly correlated with changes in testosterone levels, where high-intensity exercises are more likely to yield significant increases in testosterone compared to low or moderate-intensity exercises, guiding individuals in structuring their workout intensity for optimal hormonal benefits.

With the diversity of HIIT that achieves maximal aerobic exercise levels, the strain on the muscles will also signal more muscle mass growth.

Plan Regular Resistance Training

shirtless man lifting up a heavy barbell

Regular weight lifting, especially with low repetitions per set, effectively strains muscles, signaling the need for increased muscle mass.

Gradually increasing weights and focusing on larger muscle groups can also enhance testosterone levels.

From my training days, I found that low-rep weight lifting sessions really challenge the muscles, a method I regularly incorporate for muscle growth.

Related Article: Do Squats Increase Testosterone?

Avoid Endurance Training

As a coach, I've noticed that steady-state exercises don't impact testosterone levels as much as intense weight training.

A steady-state endurance exercise is something like running, cycling, or swimming at the same pace for longer periods. It’s your typical cardio exercise, and it won’t have the desired effect on T-levels [2].

According to Dr. Len Lopez –  a strength and conditioning coach and sports physician – the more intense the workout is, the more testosterone and growth hormone you can produce.

Endurance and cardiovascular training can burn calories but you won’t get the same spike in testosterone when jogging versus a good intense weight training.

Here is our detailed article about workouts that boost testosterone.

4 Benefits Of Boosting Testosterone Through Exercise

man showing off his biceps and a banana wrapped in condom

Here are the main benefits you may experience when you tackle low T-levels. 

  1. Better Semen Parameters: You won't just notice a higher libido, but if you’re trying for a baby, then higher T-levels will play a key role in your success rate.
  2. Effectively Losing Weight: A higher T count will directly impact your body’s fat distribution, especially around the upper body and belly.
  3. More Muscle Growth: Along with the effect on your fat reserves, testosterone will also make it easier for you to bulk up without the need for resorting to banned hormone treatments.
  4. Improved Mental Reaction Time: Testosterone may also be linked to how fast your brain can react to different senses. This is particularly important in many types of sports, but also for day-to-day work and study activities.

What Else Can You Do To Boost Testosterone?

woman holding up a tumbler and her thumbs up and a man drinking a pill

Along with putting in maximum effort at the gym, you can do a few other things to naturally increase testosterone levels.

1. Reduce Your Stress Levels

Excessive cortisol production and disrupted cortisol cycles increase stress hormone levels, leading to stress and anxiety. This imbalance can also hinder your body's testosterone production.

Through my coaching, I've seen how managing stress is crucial. Excess cortisol can really throw off your body's balance, something I've experienced firsthand.

2. Take Mineral And Vitamin Supplements

Vitamins B and D, along with zinc, are the most important micronutrients that you can take to ensure your body can produce testosterone. They are key building blocks of the molecules that make up this hormone.

Also,  you can use testosterone boosting herbs. They are great natural supplements.

FAQs

Do Deadlifts Increase Testosterone?

Yes, deadlifts increase testosterone and growth hormone levels for a short period of time. It’s one of the compound movements that target the largest number of muscle groups, and that level of resistance training has been shown to impact hormone release.

Are Squats or Deadlifts Better for Testosterone?

Both squats and deadlifts seem to be great for increasing testosterone. There are no studies that have measured the exact amount of increase for each type of exercise, but you could argue that squats target more areas and, therefore, are better for building muscle mass.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23310924
  2. https://www.piedmont.org/living-real-change/the-best-exercises-to-increase-testosterone
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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