by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Testosterone is one of the most essential hormones in your body. It is responsible for your posture, sex drive, muscle strength, muscle growth, as well as fat loss. As men age, testosterone levels start to dwindle (generally around the age of 30), leading to loss of energy, increase in body fat, and a higher risk of getting sick.
This is why it is important to know what testosterone boosting exercises are the best for you to take part in during your training session.
Disclaimer: You should always speak to your doctor before starting or engaging in any exercise program to ensure you are healthy enough to do so.
The Relationship Between Exercise and Testosterone
There is a clear correlation between exercise and testosterone. Exercise is one of the best ways to naturally boost testosterone levels, as it improves body composition and fitness levels.
Testosterone can increase with exercise, especially when it comes to strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Improving cardiovascular health may increase testosterone by improving blood flow to the testes.
One thing to ensure doesn’t happen is that you start over-training. Over-training can have the opposite effect on testosterone and cause it to decrease.
6 Exercises That Help Boost Testosterone
Below are six exercises that you can start implementing into your training program to help boost your testosterone levels naturally.
1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This is a form of exercise that has been shown to boost testosterone levels. It involves doing very intense exercises in bursts, followed by short rest periods, where you do much lighter exercise or even no exercise at all.
One study in men found that interval training consisting of 90 seconds of intense treadmill running followed up with 90-second recovery periods boosted free testosterone levels more significantly than doing a continuous 45-minute run.
Squats are one of the best full-body exercises you can do. They’re also great for increasing testosterone levels and building muscle mass in your legs and butt.
What is great about this exercise is that it doesn’t require any equipment so that you can do them anywhere with your own body weight or while holding items found around your home.
To do a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and then lower your body down into a seated position, keeping your back straight and your chest up. Then push yourself back up until you’re standing again. This counts as one rep.
There are many variations of the squat, each offering its own unique benefits. Here are a few:
- Bodyweight Squats: These are basic squats where you just use your body weight to perform them, making them ideal for beginners or people who don’t have access to a gym.
- Barbell Squats: These require a barbell, but they allow you to lift more weight than bodyweight squats which can help build more muscle faster.
- Dumbbell Squats: These allow you to work your legs if you don’t have access to a barbell. You can hold the dumbbell between your legs, at your chest, or even at the shoulders.
Push-ups are an excellent exercise for boosting testosterone because they strengthen a lot of different muscle groups such as the chest, triceps, and shoulders. You can do push-ups with weights or without them. If you have access to weight plates at home, then using those would be ideal if you find standard push-ups too easy. But if not, then just using your body weight will work just fine too.
The deadlift is one of the most effective exercises for building total-body strength. It involves all major muscle groups and is a compound exercise that recruits multiple muscles to perform the movement.
The deadlift is an extremely taxing exercise that can build functional strength, boost testosterone levels, aid with fat loss, and support the growth of lean muscle mass.
There are many variations of the deadlift, including conventional, sumo, trap bar, Romanian, and deficit deadlifts.
5. Bent-Over Row
The bent-over row targets your biceps, shoulders, and upper back, which are three major muscle groups that help boost your testosterone levels. Moreover, this exercise promotes a strong grip, which results in greater confidence and strength.
Here’s how to do a bent-over row:
- Place your feet hip-width apart and keep them flat on the floor.
- Bend at the waist and raise the weights until they reach your hips or abdomen.
- Keep your back straight as you lift and lower the weight.
- Try to avoid using your arms or back muscles to swing the weights up and down.
6. Bench Press
This exercise targets your triceps and pectoralis major muscles (chest), which are two important muscle groups that require optimized testosterone levels to develop properly. This exercise also helps you build endurance, which allows you to perform better when lifting heavier weights versus gassing out before your muscles fatigue.
Here’s how to do a bench press:
- To begin this exercise, lie down on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and your head resting against the back of the bench.
- Hold a pair of dumbbells or barbell over your chest with your palms facing forward.
- Slowly bring the weight down to your chest until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Then, extend your arms upward until they are straight but not locked out, and then lower them back down to 90-degrees before repeating the cycle.