Let’s start with the facts. Most men will begin to suffer a gradual decline in testosterone after age 30. This decrease in T-levels may eventually result in:
- A reduced sex drive
- Poor sleep
- Erectile dysfunction
- Weight gain
What causes T to decline? While aging does play a role, lifestyle can have the most significant impact.
Stressful jobs, little or no exercise, sleep deprivation, and a poor diet can have a far greater effect on your testosterone levels. Let’s take a look at what changing one of these factors can do to raise your T levels: Exercise.
Squats for More Testosterone
A 10-week study (1) examined the effects of a heavy squat program on baseline hormone levels in two groups of men, one in their 30’s and the other in their 60’s. The routine consisted of four sets of 10-rep maximum squats with 90 seconds of rest between sets.
Blood tests showed that both groups experienced an immediate increase in testosterone along with a decrease in resting cortisol levels (cortisol inhibits testosterone) after completing the squat workout.
This study proves that even in late middle-age, just doing moderately heavy squats can quickly increase your T levels.
Deadlifts Increase Testosterone
According to the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research (2), squats aren’t the best way to increase testosterone levels – because the deadlift is just as good. Researchers had 10 athletic males complete eight sets of two repetitions at 95% of their one rep max for both squat and deadlift. What they discovered was that the increase in T levels immediately afterward was the same!
They concluded that the only difference was that squat training felt harder than the deadlift, so if you want a quick testosterone boost without too much fatigue, then skip the squats and pull some weight off the ground.
Sprints Increase Testosterone
Not everybody has regular access to a well-equipped gym; what can you do if circumstances keep you away from heavy lifting? Although a slow long-distance run won’t help, it turns out that sprinting for short distances can raise testosterone levels just like squats and deadlift.
Researchers tested 12 healthy, elite-level junior handball players between 17-20 years old (3). After completing four 250-meters treadmill runs at 80% of their individual top speed (with three minutes of rest between runs) tests showed:
- Increased testosterone
- Reduced cortisol
- Increased growth hormone
HIIT it for More Testosterone
Face it; relying on a just few movements to naturally build up your testosterone levels can get boring. How about using a training protocol that can turn loads of different exercises into testosterone boosters?
Consider doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a training method that consists of short bursts of all-out effort punctuated by brief rest periods. A 2017 study found that HIIT training increased T in both sedentary and athletic men over age 60 (4).
HIIT can be applied to calisthenics, weight-lifting, and cardio training to turn every workout into a chance to naturally give your testosterone levels a quick boost.
1) Kraemer WJ, Häkkinen K, Newton RU, Nindl BC, Volek JS, McCormick M, Gotshalk LA, Gordon SE, Fleck SJ, Campbell WW, Putukian M, Evans WJ. Effects of heavy-resistance training on hormonal response patterns in younger vs. older men. Effects of heavy-resistance training on hormonal response patterns in younger vs. older men. Journal of Applied Physiology (1985). – Link
2) Barnes MJ, Miller A, Reeve D, Stewart RJ. Acute neuromuscular and endocrine responses to two different compound exercises: squat versus deadlift. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. (2017). – Link
3) Meckel Y, Eliakim A, Seraev M, Zaldivar F, Cooper DM, Sagiv M, Nemet D. The effect of a brief sprint interval exercise on growth factors and inflammatory mediators. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. (2009). – Link
4) Herbert P, Hayes LD, Sculthorpe NF, Grace FM. HIIT produces increases in muscle power and free testosterone in male masters athletes. Endocrine Connections. (2017). – Link