Pumping iron can do more than get your blood boiling – it can help raise testosterone levels too.
While the relationship between testosterone and exercise is complicated, it has been noted that moderate exercise can increase testosterone levels somewhat. On the other hand, if exercise is too rigorous, testosterone levels can actually drop.
In somewhat of a catch 22 fashion, men with already low levels of testosterone will find it harder to exercise, which can potentially lead to a harmful cycle of inactivity and reduced hormone levels.
What to know about raising testosterone levels with exercise
- Given that testosterone levels are generally higher in the morning according to some studies, it’s best to train in the morning.
- Resistance training workouts or weight lifting will increase your levels of testosterone since the muscle mass that’s exerting energy also releases testosterone. Testosterone tends to spike after heavy workouts so take lots of protein afterwards to take advantage.
- Multi-joint exercises with weights such as squats and hang cleaning will release more testosterone than isolated movements.
- Higher weights and short rest times will help release more testosterone. The idea here is more time under tension – somewhere between at least 40 and 70 seconds. But remember, overtraining can make your testosterone levels plunge – even as much as 40 percent according to a study by the University of North Carolina.
- Use multiple muscle groups within each exercise set to the point where your muscles fail – meaning you can’t complete another repetition with proper form. Research on exercise and testosterone point out that using the greatest volume of existing muscles to your maximum level of intensity within each exercise will have an optimal effect on testosterone levels.