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Power up naturally: Five exercises to boost your testosterone levels
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Power up naturally: Five exercises to boost your testosterone levels

Testosterone production increases with higher muscle engagement, which can be achieved by incorporating compound movements into your workout routine
According to experts, some exercises that boost your testosterone levels include deadlifts, squats and pull-ups
Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K/Happiest Health

The crucial role that hormones play in improving fitness levels and strength is no secret among gym-goers or workout enthusiasts. Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, not only helps pack on more muscle but is also essential for everyday activities. Fitness fanatics, however, seek ways to boost its production, at times resorting to unhealthy practices. Advising against this, experts recommend certain exercises that can help boost testosterone levels naturally.

Impact of exercise on testosterone

Exercise, especially resistance training and high-intensity workouts, triggers a hormonal response in the body. “Resistance training such as lifting weights, sprinting and jumping will increase testosterone levels more than endurance training,” says Dr PC Jagadeesh, senior consultant, orthopedic trauma and robotic joint replacement surgeon at Kauvery Hospitals, Bangalore.

Intense exercise signals the body to adapt to the stress by releasing hormones like growth hormone and cortisol. Growth hormone aids in testosterone synthesis and plays a vital role in muscle growth and repair, while cortisol can play a part in regulating metabolism. A study published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine analyzed the changes in serum adiponectin (a hormone secreted by adipose tissue) and testosterone levels in overweight men following 12 weeks of resistance training. It concluded that training for the assigned period increased serum concentrations of both hormones, aiding muscle growth and repair.

In addition, another study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that performing high-volume aerobic exercises with moderate intensity for less than 200 minutes per week produces significant improvements in sexual function, testosterone and weight.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is particularly effective in boosting testosterone levels. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in 2021 found that strength and endurance training, performed based on high-intensity interval sessions (circuit training), increases testosterone levels in men aged 35–40 years. These exercises involve short bursts of intense activity, which elicit a significant hormonal response, including a spike in testosterone production. This, in turn, enhances general well-being and partly inhibits harmful age-related changes.

Additionally, compound movements like the deadlift also boost testosterone production. “Higher muscle involvement leads to elevated testosterone levels for a short period after working out. Exercises like bicep curls will only activate the bicep muscle, unlike the leg press or squats, which work more muscle groups, resulting in higher testosterone levels. Free-weight exercises involve more muscle activation compared to machine exercises,” explains Dr Jagadeesh.

Exercises that boost your testosterone levels

Experts recommend some exercises involving compound movements for boosting testosterone levels, which include:

♦ Deadlifts

This compound exercise engages multiple muscle groups such as the glutes, hamstrings, arms, shoulders, quads and calves, among others. Deadlifts trigger a significant hormonal response, including increased testosterone production. 

♦ Squats

This popular strengthening exercise targets large muscle groups like the quadriceps and hamstrings, prompting a surge in testosterone. There are different variations of squats that one can perform based on their fitness goals.

♦ Bench press

Besides building upper body strength, this compound exercise also triggers the release of testosterone, especially when performed with challenging weights.

♦ Pull-ups or chin-ups

These exercises work the upper body and engage the back muscles, contributing to increased testosterone levels while also improving your upper back posture.

♦ High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Involving intense bursts of exercise followed by short recovery periods, HIIT workouts are renowned for their ability to increase testosterone levels during and after the workout.

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