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 testosterone 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 testosterone levels.
Are Deadlifts Better?
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 testosterone 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.
No Weights, No Problem – Sprints
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 T
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 testosterone 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