3 Best Testosterone-Boosting Exercises to Boost Your Gains

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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As a certified personal trainer, I am well aware that testosterone is the king of hormones.

Also known as the "male sex hormone," testosterone is the driving force behind traits that literally make us man, such as: gains in muscle mass, sperm production, body, and facial hair growth, deep voice.

As the production of this youth juice dwindles with age, it's only natural to keep trying to find ways to get it back. But you probably heard the good news - exercise can be your ally if you are looking for ways to boost testosterone naturally.

Our team has spent days researching tons of scientific articles to bring you the latest findings and information on maximizing your T-levels while working out.

Quick Summary

  • To naturally boost testosterone levels, incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT), resistance exercises, and bodyweight workouts is highly effective.
  • These exercises enhance testosterone by stimulating hormonal response and muscle development and are beneficial for both men and women.
  • A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website indicates that testosterone levels can increase by up to 30 minutes post-exercise, highlighting the immediate impact of physical activity on hormonal balance.
    In my experience, consistent engagement in these exercises, especially resistance training, offers a practical and sustainable approach to boosting testosterone levels.

How Does Exercise Increase Testosterone?

shirtless man leaning on a mirror

Exercise increases testosterone by enhancing hormonal response, reducing body fat, improving metabolic health, reducing stress, and enhancing the quality of sleep.

There are two key players in this process: testosterone and growth hormone. Testosterone acts as a fuel for a growth hormone that your body produces in response to a workout and is indispensable for protein synthesis and muscle development.

One of the studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website has shown that regular exercise also stimulates growth factor levels by reducing inflammation [1].

Although full effects of testosterone and exercise are still being researched, we do know this for a fact: exercise triggers a short-term increase in testosterone levels, so you need to exercise regularly to get all the benefits.

However, according to professionals, there are some limitations:

 "For men who have low testosterone, exercise alone probably won't raise their levels enough to make a difference, but for men whose testosterone level is on the borderline between normal, it's going to have a much more potent effect,"

- Scott Isaacs, Endocrinologist, MD of Emory University

According to another study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, testosterone levels go up around 30 minutes post-exercise before they return to normal by the one-hour mark. [2]

There are also a couple of testosterone effects to consider before you get started with your exercise routine, such as:


High testosterone levels correlate with lower body fat percentages. Scientific data have shown that testosterone directly inhibits the creation of fat cells. In addition, physical activity in obese men has proven to be more effective for boosting T-levels than shedding those extra pounds alone.


T-levels fluctuate throughout the day - they are the highest in the morning, meaning that you should exercise later in the day to trigger the greatest testosterone response.

Fitness levels

Surprisingly, not being in good shape is actually an advantage in this case. The lesser your level of fitness, the greater testosterone response you'll achieve by working out. Conversely, as your body gets used to exercises, the testosterone response will decrease.

What Exercises Can Increase T-levels?

shirtless man doing circuit training with a rope

Exercises that can increase T-levels are short endurance exercises, high-intensity interval training, and resistance training.

Research indicates that short endurance exercise, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and resistance training both increase testosterone levels briefly, while weight lifting sessions or strength training have a more pronounced effect on your testosterone [3].

Cardio can help you burn fat, while strength training stimulates the development of lean muscles and boosts your metabolism. To optimize testosterone levels through exercise, you need to consider both the type and intensity.

You can improve your testosterone levels while improving your heart health, weight management, and overall health by starting a fitness routine, but you need to learn how to do it correctly.

Combining cardiovascular and weight training routines can improve your fitness and well-being. So, let's break it down.

1. High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

shirtless man using a medicine ball for russian twists

It's also sometimes referred to as sprint interval training (SIT) or high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE).

There are many variations of HIIT, but it boils down to combining short bursts of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity exercise, for example, combining sprints with light jogging.

More than one study suggests that you'll reap the most benefits if you get short rest between intervals.

According to one study on testosterone responses in men, doing HIIT, consisting of 90 seconds of treadmill running combined with 90-second rest, boosts T-levels more significantly than simply running for 45 minutes without a break.

Whatever you do, don't go overboard.

Overdoing it can mess up your hormone levels, including overstimulation of cortisol production, which can interfere with testosterone release.

To ensure you maintain a healthy balance, it's crucial to listen to your body, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your HIIT workouts, and give yourself enough time to recover between sessions.

By doing so, you can optimize your hormone levels and experience the full benefits of high-intensity interval training.


2. Resistance Exercise (Weightlifting)

man doing dumbbell flyes

The bigger your muscle mass, the higher your testosterone levels, so hitting a gym for a weightlifting session seems logical.

Through my journey, I've experimented with various forms of resistance training, including free weights and resistance bands. I've found that consistently engaging in these exercises not only increases my testosterone levels but also offers sustainable results over time.

According to research, if increasing testosterone is your goal, then resistance training is the best choice with both short and long-term results.[4]

According to one study on male participants who took part in resistance training three times a week for four weeks, they were able to boost testosterone levels immediately after the workout and in the long run.

As a bonus, weight training has proved efficient for both genders. A recent study on women found that resistance training can increase testosterone and impact fat distribution.

But to make the most out of your time in the gym, you'll need a good strategy that includes the following:

  • Training compound, instead of isolation movements;
  • Lift heavier weights with fewer reps rather than doing more lightweight reps;
  • Use short rest periods, resting one minute between sets;
  • Targeting larger muscle groups;

Some experts suggest targeting larger muscle groups like the hamstrings, quadriceps, back, and chest and performing two sets of three to five reps at 95 percent of your maximum effort during your strength training to maximize testosterone release.

"But don't ignore smaller muscle groups, like the biceps, calves, and shoulders: Strengthening your entire body helps prevent injury and speeds up your metabolism, and consequently, your T-levels" Dr. Richard Jadick, urologist.

If you're new to lifting weights, consider hiring a personal trainer to help you learn the ropes, although training with more experienced partners can be a great option, too.

3. Bodyweight Exercises

men doing different workout in a gym

If you're one of those people who is not crazy about lifting weights, there are other exercises you can try to increase testosterone and grow muscle.

Perform different types of exercise, like:

  • Bodyweight squats.
  • Bodyweight push-ups
  • Bodyweight pull-ups,
  • Bodyweight sit-ups,

From my personal regimen, incorporating bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, and pull-ups has been pivotal in enhancing my muscle strength and naturally boosting testosterone. These exercises engage multiple muscle groups, providing a comprehensive workout.

And the best thing about these exercises is that you don't even need equipment to perform these workouts and feel the effects almost immediately. You can also consider using a fitness app to keep track of your progress.

What Exercises to Avoid?

close up image of a rubber shoes of a man running

Exercises to avoid are long-distance running or cycling exercises since they can ramp up cortisol levels.

Cortisol, aka stress hormone, can disrupt the production of testosterone in your body, so that's the reason why long-term endurance training is not recommended to men whose aim is to increase T-levels.

Regular endurance exercise, such as training for marathons or cycling, can put lots of stress on the whole body, including the endocrine system that is responsible for hormone production, and that's why T-levels are significantly lower in endurance athletes.

Although chronic endurance training is in some cases associated with decreased testosterone levels, some scientific data indicate that acute endurance exercises can actually stimulate steroid hormones, including testosterone.

Does Exercise Increase T-Levels in Men and Women Both?

man and woman working out using dumbbells in a gym

Yes, exercise increases T-levels in both men and women.

According to science, several factors can influence low testosterone levels, and workouts are among those natural testosterone-boosting options for men and women equally.

Testosterone is most commonly associated with masculinity, even though both men and women produce it.

Testosterone is produced in testicles and regulates important functions in males, like sex drive, muscle strength, bone density, fat distribution, and red blood cell production. It can even affect mood and behavior.

Puberty sends our hormone-producing glands into overdrive, resulting in a range of changes to the body. As we age, testosterone levels decline, which is followed by changes in muscle tissue.

Low levels of sex hormone can cause an array of issues, including depression, erectile dysfunction in men, hair loss, reduction in muscle mass, etc.

But it's not all about men. Women can also experience low testosterone. They can also get a range of benefits from testosterone, such as:

  • Increase in strength and lean mass
  • Bone density
  • Better brain function
  • Enhanced sense of well being
  • Higher energy levels

Those are just some of the reasons why it's essential to increase testosterone in women, too.

Other Ways to Naturally Boost Testosterone

vitamins pills in a kit, plate filled with pasta and tomatoes

You may need a slight lifestyle modification to get those sex hormones running.

But, before you reach for a T-boosting supplement, here's what you can try:

  • Adding more carbs to your meals - Some findings have confirmed that low-carb diets have been linked to low-T;
  • Increasing magnesium and zinc intake;
  • Using Vitamin supplements, such as Vitamin D and vitamin K supplement;
  • Adding a splash of olive oil - Results of a small-scale study indicate that the oil may boost serum testosterone levels in healthy adult men;
  • Sleep better - We all know that a good night's sleep reduces stress hormones that can disrupt the release of testosterone. Sleep also aids recovery and gets your muscles ready for the next day's workout.


How Does Body Composition Affect Testosterone Levels?

Body composition affects testosterone levels in a way that higher fat percentages are negatively correlated with serum testosterone, suggesting that reducing body fat can effectively increase testosterone levels.

What Is the Relationship Between Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Testosterone?

The relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and testosterone is positive. Engaging in aerobic exercises that improve cardiorespiratory fitness can be beneficial for boosting testosterone.

Can You Recommend Specific Exercises to Boost Testosterone?

Specific exercises I recommend to boost testosterone are aerobic exercise, whole-body stretching, and strength training. This balanced approach addresses both fat reduction and overall physical fitness, contributing to higher testosterone levels.

How Does Exercise Enhance Testosterone Treatment?

Exercise enhances testosterone treatment by making it more effective, especially in individuals with testosterone deficiency. It not only improves the treatment outcomes but also prolongs the benefits after the treatment is stopped.

What Is the Significance of Testosterone Threshold Levels in Health?

The significance of testosterone threshold levels in health is that 384.9 ng/dL marks significant changes in body composition and fitness. Below this level, there's a notable impact on body fat percentage, abdominal fat percentage, and cardiorespiratory fitness, indicating the health significance of maintaining optimal testosterone levels.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4243532/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4461225/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6298450/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9660159/
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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.
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Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
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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