As a matter of fact, your testosterone levels or T levels will increase when you work out. But this isn’t going to be the case with every exercise. However, if you do intend to increase your testosterone levels, you should consider adding activities that will boost your T levels during your exercise regimen.
Would you like to learn the connection between T levels and exercise? Keep reading to discover the exercises that work, the ones that don’t work, and other natural ways to increase testosterone levels.
Making the Connection between Testosterone Levels and Exercise
There are certain exercises that can increase testosterone levels. Depending on whether you are a male or female and your exercise types will influence and affect T levels.
Keep reading to gain background on how testosterone levels work with different people.
The Production of Testosterone
Typically, most people look at testosterone as a male sex hormone. But everyone including men and women has testosterone in their system. It just doesn’t exist in at the same levels.
Testosterone is also produced in the adrenal glands in small amounts. Depending on whether you’re a man or a woman, your body will produce varying amounts of this hormone.
Men who are born with the XY chromosomes will produce large levels of testosterone in their testicles. These testosterone hormones are the main contributor to pubescent changes that take place while you are a teenager. The changes that happen include:
- Building more and stronger muscles
- Growing pubic and facial hair
- Developing a deeper voice
Females born with the XX chromosomes also produce low levels of testosterone within their ovaries. Read about females and testosterone here.
It’s critically important to maintain healthy testosterone levels all throughout your life. This is even more necessary as we age because it helps perform a measure of risk reduction to preserve health and prevent unwanted conditions that include certain issues like:
- Heart disease
- Type II diabetes
How Testosterone Levels Are Affected by Exercise
According to the latest research, T levels experience an impact through exercise in the following ways:
- A study performed in 1983 measured the testosterone levels in women and men after a weightlifting session. During this study we learned that male testosterone levels increased significantly. Women didn’t experience much of an increase at all.
- A study performed in 2001 taught us that women performing resistance training will increase their testosterone levels temporarily. This same type of exercise impacted fat distribution as well.
- A study performed in 2004 discovered that older men who regularly participated in physical activities had increased levels of growth hormone and testosterone. These activities also helped provide positive effects on their brain functions.
- A study performed in 2008 followed 102 men who never exercised regularly before. After they started exercising regularly, their DHT (dihydrotestosterone) levels saw an increase of 14.5%.
- A study performed in 2012 learned that men who regularly exercise produced higher levels of testosterone than sedentary men who rarely or never worked out.
- A study performed in 2016 learned that obese men who regularly exercised had greater levels of testosterone. And their testosterone levels remained higher while exercising then those who lost weight without exercise.
It’s also important to note that maintaining higher T levels will lead to building bigger and stronger muscles. This is especially true when compared to men who have very low or slightly decreased T levels.
The Ideal Testosterone Boosting Exercises
As previously alluded to, some exercises are going to have a different effect on your testosterone levels than others. The top testosterone increasing exercises to perform include the following:
- Resistance training – exercises that offer resistance are known through research to increase long-term and short-term testosterone levels. The best resistance training exercises include weightlifting for long-term and short-term gains. In 2007, a study discovered that males with the XY chromosomes who performed resistance/strength exercises three times a week for four weeks in a row had increased levels of testosterone immediately after the workout. These levels remained increased over time as well. But the effects didn’t act the same for everyone. Women who lifted weights and had both female chromosomes saw a smaller testosterone increase as opposed to their male counterparts. Some people even believe that these testosterone gains are temporary for women. Finally, an older study but still a very trusted source determined that men both young and old could increase their testosterone levels through exercises. If they lifted weights and performed three sets with 8 to 10 reps, their testosterone would increase. But the younger men were likely to experience higher levels of growth hormone then older men of a certain age.
- High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) – if you were born a male with the XY chromosomes, performing high intensity interval training is another great way to increase the levels of testosterone in your system. But this only works if you are a natural born male with male chromosomes. According to one study, men who performed interval training for 90 seconds intensely on a treadmill, and then recovered for 90 seconds, would experience significantly higher levels of testosterone than males who simply went for a run for 45 minutes in a row. Another study in 2013 says that taking DHEA supplements along with cycling exercises that lasted for two minutes would increase testosterone levels for older and younger men. And finally, one large study in 2014 says that high intensity interval training will increase male testosterone levels.
Exercises That Fail to Increase Testosterone Levels
Females born with female chromosomes also require healthy levels of testosterone like their male counterparts. But when you are born a female and you have high levels of testosterone, it could actually cause great harm to a degree. The extra T levels can lead to abnormalities including excessive acne, balding, or too much hair growth.
Even more interesting, certain exercises known to boost testosterone levels for some people can actually produce the opposite effect in others. Some examples include:
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – for females born with female chromosomes, performing high intensity interval training actually has the opposite effect as their male counterparts. It can reduce testosterone levels. So if your T levels are already too high, you should perform these exercises to lower them. A study performed in 2016 discovered that cycling for eight seconds and resting for 12 seconds over a 20 minute period will lower testosterone levels for natural born women.
- Cardio – we do not have sufficient evidence to definitively prove that cardio exercises impact testosterone levels whether you’re male or female. Believe it or not, it’s possible that performing too much cardio will lower your testosterone levels. Overall, weight loss is known to help keep T levels in balance along with other hormone balancing factors as well.
Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally with These Tips
Some great testosterone boosting tips besides exercise include the following:
- Consume a diet containing high levels of carbs, fat, and protein – here’s a guide to the best foods.
- Lower stress and cortisol levels
- Take vitamin D supplements and get plenty of sunshine
- Use other vitamin supplements including vitamin B and zinc – TestoFuel works great.
- Sleep 7 to 10 hours each night
- Take natural herbal supplements including ginger, Ashwagandha, and horny goat weed
- For natural born males, steer clear of chemical exposure that raises estrogen levels. BPA is a great example of a chemical to avoid.
Boost your testosterone levels with high intensity interval training and resistance training if you are a natural born male with male chromosomes. Females with female chromosomes can experience unwanted symptoms if their T levels are too high, so keep that in mind as well.
To balance your testosterone levels, speak with your physician to get a baseline T level test and use our recommendations to increase your testosterone levels to greater heights.