Does Working Out Increase Testosterone?

A manly man holding dumbbells

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There are many reasons we exercise. Lifting weights, running, playing basketball and other activities get our body moving and producing endorphins. These neurotransmitters make us feel good about ourselves and accomplished. What about the all-important male hormone testosterone? Does working out increase testosterone? 

You need testosterone for critical bodily functions. How does this hormone connect with exercise? Many people believe workouts increase testosterone — while true, it depends on the regimen. Not all activities affect testosterone equally. Let’s dive into testosterone and how your exercise affects your body’s testosterone.  

What Is Testosterone?

First, let’s talk about testosterone. It’s a sex hormone you can find in both males and females — however, it’s more prevalent in men. The high testosterone levels help men like you build muscle easier and grow huge chests of hair. You need testosterone to construct your reproductive tissues as you age into adulthood. High T levels are necessary for libido and sperm production. 

Testosterone can also affect your mood. Research connects testosterone with aggressive behavior, anxiety, depression and more. For example, a 2020 study says testosterone subtly affects aggression levels in men. Other researchers have found links between low testosterone levels and depression. Low T levels mean your energy and mood decrease — but it’s important to remember other factors affect depression along with testosterone.

working out testosterone

How Does Testosterone Change With Age?

Testosterone is a young man’s game — at least, that’s what the researchers tell us. Experts say your testosterone peaks in your late teens and early 20s. You gain testosterone during puberty, lending to your deep voice and broad shoulders. You’ll even see changes in your face as it becomes more masculine. 

Though, you won’t have high T levels forever. Your testosterone starts declining after you turn 30 — about 1% yearly. Over the years, your lower energy will make you feel fatigued easier. You’ll lose muscle mass and strength along with bone density. Time conquers all — except Tom Brady, who won a Super Bowl at age 43. 

Even athletic men in their mid-40s like Tom Brady will eventually lose their high testosterone levels. Once you hit the golden years, it’s not rare to have low testosterone. Research suggests 8% of men between 50 and 79 have low testosterone levels.  

It’s critical to have testosterone to keep your positive mood and increase productivity throughout the day. One way many men do that is by exercising. 

Does Working Out Increase Testosterone?

Yes, working out does increase testosterone levels. In fact, exercise helps men with low T get back to the levels they need to hit. Working out increases testosterone levels — but the rise is only temporary. Medical experts say your T levels increase between 15 minutes and an hour, depending on your body. 

Do you prefer cardio or strength-training exercises? The good news is both positively impact your T levels. Think about weightlifting. How awesome does setting personal records on your deadlifts and squats feel?

Strength training is terrific for testosterone levels in the short and long term. In the long run, it helps people who haven’t worked out in a long time or naturally have low T levels. Weightlifting also changes your body composition by increasing muscle and decreasing fat. This change leads to higher testosterone levels and an improved metabolism. 

How Does Cardio Affect Testosterone?

Strength training is fun, but what about cardio? These exercises really get you huffing and puffing. It’s good for your heart and your testosterone. One regimen that works well for your T levels is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT involves short periods of intense exercise with short recovery periods.  

A HIIT workout may consist of stationary bikes, fast sprints, squat jumps, rowing machines, pushups and more. It’s definitely not the boring cardio some are used to. Studies show a positive relationship between testosterone and HIIT workouts. A 2021 study finds testosterone levels immediately increase after HIIT and return to normal after 30 minutes. 

Do Restorative Workouts Increase Testosterone?

Dumbbells and treadmills aren’t the only ways to work out. Some guys like to do restorative workouts. These exercises ease pain and restore your body’s joints and muscles. For example, a popular therapeutic activity is yoga. Yoga came from northern India about 5,000 years ago, and its restorative qualities help your testosterone levels. 

Yoga is a terrific stress reliever. It can also help after an intense workout. Imagine doing 30 minutes of yoga stretches while relaxing music plays in the background. Increase the heat to feel like Charles Barkley in the steam room, creating an excellent hot yoga session. Research shows yoga positively affects your testosterone-to-cortisol ratio by decreasing your salivary cortisol concentration. 

How Can You Work Out to Increase Testosterone?

If you like strength training, you’ll get a testosterone boost by getting stronger. Working multiple joints and muscle groups is important to get the maximum benefit for your T levels. These exercises include:

  • Squats: Don’t skip leg day. Remember to do your squats and increase your leg strength. You’ll be glad you did later. 
  • Pushups: If you’re working out multiple muscle groups, pushups are excellent exercises. You engage your entire body and build muscle mass. Doing pushups signals a hormonal response from your body.
  • Deadlifts: Deadlifts are a terrific exercise for gaining strength in multiple muscle groups. Do a few of these, and your T levels will rise quickly.
  • Bench press: After squats and deadlifts, bench presses are the third part of the holy trinity. Set the bar high on the bench press and push your maximum weight. Your body will go into overdrive and produce more testosterone.
  • Pullups: No matter how much you work out, pullups are hard to do for many. You’re lifting your entire body with only your arms and shoulders. Keep working on your pullup game to see your testosterone levels increase. 

What Foods Boost Testosterone?

Does working out increase testosterone? Yes, but you need to consider your diet as well. Food is integral to your testosterone levels, so ensure your diet has plenty of foods like:

  • Oysters
  • Onions
  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Berries

Working Out to Increase Testosterone

Working out makes us feel incredible and can take on the world. Why do we get this feeling? It’s our brains producing endorphins and our testosterone levels. 

Does working out increase your testosterone levels? The answer is yes. Studies show your T levels sharply rise in the short term. Regular exercise, diet and rest will increase your testosterone levels in the long run. Use this guide for workouts and food suggestions to up your testosterone game. 

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