Declining testosterone levels in men have become a serious concern for medical professionals. Never before have men had such low levels of testosterone on a global scale. What’s the big deal about testosterone?
Low levels of testosterone have been shown to correlate with weight gain, loss of muscle, man boobs, depression, mood swings, and increased risk for certain diseases.
Despite this worldwide medical issue, there are ways to naturally boost your testosterone production and support your overall health. One of the best ways to boost those t-levels is through exercise. Sure, you might be happy with your current workout program, but not all exercises are created equal, especially when it comes to increasing testosterone levels.
Let’s take a look at the science of exercise and t-levels. We’ll also provide you with seven testosterone workouts that you can start following right now!
The best way to naturally increase your levels of testosterone is with consistent and proven lifestyle changes. Here are four things you can change to help boost your t-levels:
Exercise: As we’ll discuss more below, physical fitness is key to healthy testosterone levels. Many studies have shown the positive correlation between exercise, especially resistance training, and testosterone levels. The trick is to have a workout to boost testosterone, not a program that is vague or focuses on cardio only. We’ll discuss the ideal exercises for testosterone boosting below.
Diet: Everyone wants their food to taste delicious, forgetting that food should be fuel. As a result, people are willing to consume ingredients that zap testosterone production so long as the flavor is good. Thankfully, you can have the best of both worlds.
A natural diet – one that focuses on eating a well-balanced diet of unprocessed lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates – can support testosterone production.
Suggested read: 10 incredible testosterone boosting foods
If you want to kickstart testosterone production, emphasize healthy fats as they are precursors to sex steroid hormones like testosterone.
Avoid foods that contain high levels of pesticides, growth hormones, and artificial additives. Studies show that these synthetic additives can harm the body’s ability to produce testosterone.
Suggested read: 5 testosterone killing foods to avoid
Supplements: While the foundation of testosterone production is going to be reliant upon a healthy diet and testosterone-boosting workout, supplements can also help. There are a variety of proven ingredients that can naturally support testosterone production. The most studied and reliable t-boosting supplements include ashwagandha, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, and DHEA.
Meditation: We live in a chaotic world. We’ve become so accustomed to the hustle-bustle of traffic and our busy schedules that we don’t realize the effect it has on us. Chronic stress levels can promote the excessive release of catabolic hormones such as cortisol while stifling anabolic hormones such as testosterone. Consider practicing daily meditation for a few minutes each day. Studies suggest that meditation practice can lower catabolic hormones and promote the release of testosterone.
While exercise has been shown to increase the body’s metabolic response and therefore caloric expenditure in both men and women, resistance training has a unique effect on men only. Studies show that strength training – when you use either bodyweight or external weights – can increase testosterone levels.
The boost in testosterone levels following a resistance training workout is the body’s response to repair the microtears in the muscle tissue. It should come as no surprise that the heavier you lift, the greater the response in testosterone production.
One study found that testosterone levels were higher for a short period of time following a resistance training workout. But this temporary boost in t-levels wasn’t a fluke. Another study found that men who consistently performed weight training workouts had higher levels of testosterone, growth hormone, and dihydrotestosterone.
The lesson here: Start exercising and keep at it.
You know that exercise can help increase testosterone levels, but not all exercises and workouts are created the same. Here are seven unique types of testosterone boosting workouts, exercises, and tips. We would recommend cycling through the workouts while keeping the tips in mind at all times.
While all forms of resistance training have a positive impact on testosterone levels, going heavy produces the best response. Studies show that heavy weightlifting has the greatest impact on testosterone levels. What qualifies as heavy? Using 85% of your one-repetition maximum (or the greatest amount of weight you can safely and effectively lift at one time) is thought to be the ideal amount of weight to trigger testosterone production along with strength and muscle building.
As far as acute variables, perform between 3 to 6 sets of 5 to 7 repetitions for each exercise. The amount of time you rest can also help boost t-levels.
Studies show that taking a long rest break during a heavy weightlifting workout produces an even greater response in testosterone production than if you were taking short breaks. Researchers found that 120 to 150 seconds of resting time produced the greatest response and this makes complete sense as it allows you to fully recover from the heavy lifting set and preps you to do it all over again.
One form of heavy weightlifting to consider is powerlifting. Focusing on three compound exercises only, powerlifting is designed to push the body hard by using between 80% to 100% of your one-rep max. What’s more, the exercises being used – the squat, bench press, and deadlift – activate the greatest number of muscle fibers at one time. Not only will your strength levels explode with powerlifting, but your testosterone levels will follow suit.
An excellent way to bring your muscles to the point of complete fatigue is with forced repetitions. To tap into the greatest testosterone-producing response, the muscle tissue needs to be pushed to the point where you are physically unable to do any more repetitions. When we are lifting alone, it’s essentially impossible to do this. We always have a bit left in the tank, but we believe that we are on empty. This is where forced rep lifting can help.
Once you reach what you believe to be the end of the line, have a spotter assist you for another five more repetitions. They will probably have to take on most of the weight during the concentric or lifting portion of the exercise, but when it comes to lowering the weight, that’s all on you.
While it might be tempting to hit the bench a few times per week to increase t-levels, studies suggest that your focus should be more on lower-body workouts.
One study found that by incorporating leg training into an arms-only day, testosterone levels were far higher. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as leg day training involves compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, which are exercises that are going to recruit the maximum number of muscle fibers.
When creating your workout, we highly recommend targeting your legs twice per week. Be sure to start with the bigger, bolder movements such as the squat, deadlift, and lunge, then finish strong with isolation work such as leg extensions and leg curls.
At this point, you might be wondering where cardiovascular training falls into your weekly workout routine. The traditional thought of cardio is getting on a treadmill or bike and mindlessly walking or peddling for about an hour. This is okay when it comes to weight loss, but for testosterone, guys need to crank up the intensity.
Studies show that high-intensity interval training can effectively increase testosterone levels while promoting fat burning and muscle building. More commonly referred to as HIIT, this type of workout focuses on performing several bodyweight-based exercises in rapid succession without a break until the end.
An example would be 10 push-ups immediately followed by 15 squats then 5 pull-ups and finishing strong with 3 burpees.
One type of HIIT workout involves performing only sprints. While many believe that sprints are just running fast, it’s more than that. Sprints require you to literally give everything you have in your running for a brief period of time – only several seconds. Sprint workouts are short, but incredibly effective.
Studies show that performing several sets of six-second sprints with rest in between was enough to skyrocket testosterone levels and keep them elevated.
The following testosterone workout plan reflects an A-B-A and B-A-B format, which means you’ll be alternating the order of the workouts from week to week. The focus is on full-body workouts, utilizing movements that target the greatest number of muscle fibers.
There is a special focus on lower body exercises, but you won’t be going hard for each and every workout. We provide a lighter day following the heavier day.
(Use 80% to 85% of your one-repetition maximum) (Move the weight explosively)
(65% to 75% 1RM)
(65% to 75% 1RM)
(65% to 75% 1RM)
(2-minute rest in between)
(65% to 75% 1RM) (Move the weight explosively)
(do as many as you can)
(65% to 75% 1RM)
(do as many as you can)
(2-minute rest in between)
Since testosterone levels are typically highest in the morning, we recommend performing your testosterone-boosting workout shortly after you wake up. If that’s not possible, it’s okay. It’s better to get in your workout than skip it altogether because you’re not a morning person.
Although testosterone levels are at all-time lows for men, there’s something you can do about it: exercise.
Focus on resistance training three times per week with a focus on lifting heavy at around 80% to 85% of your one-repetition maximum. Treat your recovery as seriously as you do your training, making sure to eat a well-balanced diet and sleeping at least seven hours per night.
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