When it comes to men’s health, testosterone is a major topic. Declining testosterone levels occur as a result of aging as well as lifestyle and diet factors. Overall, declining testosterone is associated with a range of symptoms you probably want to avoid. According to research, these include decreased lean body composition, lower energy levels, loss of muscle strength, decreased physical and cognitive functions, and worsening mood. While clinically low testosterone levels require advice from a professional, there are some steps you can take in the gym with your workouts that can increase your testosterone, even if you’re not receiving supplemental testosterone. I’ve put together five of the best exercises for men to increase testosterone that you can start doing today.
According to research on exercise and testosterone, workouts that result in the greatest testosterone serum increases are compound exercises performed at a high intensity. This includes heavy lifting with squats and deadlifts as well as power-based exercises such as Olympic lifts and sprints.
Scientists cannot necessarily say the exact best repetition range to use, but somewhere between five and 12 repetitions with a heavy weight and 60 to 90-second rest are guidelines I tend to see across various authorities on the topic. For sprints, keep it high-intensity with short-medium rest periods for the best testosterone-boosting effect.
The following are my top five exercises for men to increase testosterone. For each exercise, choose a repetition range between five and 12. I usually prefer either six or eight repetitions. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds, and perform three to four total sets. Incorporate each of these once per week either in a single session or multiple sessions. Take two to three full days off throughout each week for recovery.
Barbell back squats are a must if you want to increase your testosterone through weight training. They allow you to lift very heavy weights with the largest muscle groups in your body, which is typically the best way to get post-exercise testosterone serum elevation. I recommend using the safety pins in a squat rack and going for heavy sets of six to eight repetitions on barbell squats.
Like barbell squats, barbell deadlifts allow you to lift massive amounts of weight with a ton of different muscle groups. Because they load and stress somewhat differently from squats, you can include both for more total testosterone-boosting volume.
When deadlifting, keep your spine neutral and core braced. Push the floor away with your feet, and try to keep your chest rising at the same rate as your hips.
Loading your body vertically and working your shoulders with some heavy overhead presses is a great way to boost testosterone while performing some upper-body muscle group training. For the same reasons I like barbell squats and deadlifts, I prefer the barbell overhead press when maximal weight for the repetition range is the goal.
When overhead pressing with a barbell, engage your core in the same way you would during a squat. Prevent your shoulders from shrugging as you press the bar fully overhead.
Trap bar deadlifts can rightfully be called trap bar squats as well. The trap bar is a device that allows you to stand inside the bar directly between both weights holding parallel handles. The resulting movement is safer on your back and joints and becomes a hybrid movement between a traditional barbell squat and a deadlift. Focus on keeping your chest at 45 degrees or higher throughout the movement, and keep your hips from shooting up at the beginning of the movement.
Sprints are a great total-body exercise that gives the level of stimulus required to see the testosterone-boosting effect. I recommend 50-meter all-out sprints with 30 seconds of rest between sprints for a total of five to 15 repetitions depending on your current fitness level. Sprints are very high-impact, so ease into them especially if you are performing all the exercises in this program.