Let’s just put it out there. Testosterone is the most important hormone when it comes to building muscle. But you probably already knew that. Something you might not have known is that there’s a way to boost testosterone levels through strategic weight training.
You see, when you exert a lot of effort during lifting, your nervous system sends a signal to your adrenal glands to punch out a high amount of testosterone. Doesn’t it stand to reason that you’d want to turn your workouts up a notch to get this effect? Well, it should, if you want to maintain what you have and go even further.
Add these five exercises into your program to ensure the lean slabs of muscle you’ve built stay right where they are so that you can continue to add to them. Your goal is to perform drills that involve multiple muscles and joints at the same time. These are called compound exercises and they allow you to hoist more weight.
The more neural feedback you can muster, the more testosterone you’ll pump out.
The deadlift is a classic go-to exercise for strength, power, and mass-building. Since it uses so many joints, it in turn incorporates a lot of large muscles. The end result is a table set for a sizeable testosterone dump and big gains. You can do deadlifts with dumbbells, a barbell or a hex bar. I’m going to describe doing this exercise using a barbell.
Load the bar and stand right behind it with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Keep your shins close to the bar but don’t touch it with them. Push your hips back and bend your thighs so they are at about 45 degrees to the floor. Your shins should roughly be perpendicular to the floor at this point.
Grasp the bar with an over/under or overhand grip and pull your shoulder blades inward to engage your lats. Look up at an angle in front of you and keep your lats tight as you pull the bar off the floor and stand up. Fully extend your knees and hips and rest the bar against your thighs for a full second. Slowly lower it back to the floor and repeat.
Much like deadlifts, squats fire up a lot of lower body muscle while giving your testosterone levels a nice shove. You can use dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells for squats; I’m going to describe doing them with a barbell.
Place the bar in a rack and stand under it with the top of your traps pressed against it. Don’t let the bar crush your vertebrae! Use your manly traps to their advantage.
Pinch your shoulder blades together and grasp the bar with a wide overhand grip. Lift the bar off the pegs and step backwards a few feet. Look up at an angle, tighten your core to “brace” yourself and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
Bend your knees to lower yourself down and push your butt back. Keep your feet flat on the floor and stop when your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Stand back up in a smooth motion until your legs are fully extended and repeat.
It’s in your best interests to wear flat-soled shoes or go barefoot when you do squats and deadlifts. This will help your force production and allow you to stay more balanced.
3: Barbell clean and press
A barbell clean and press is a combination drill that incorporates multiple exercises. It’s a great combo to boost testosterone levels. Start out as if you were doing a deadlift. Pull the bar off the ground quickly, then turn it over and rest it in the front of your shoulders with your palms facing forwards.
Only hold this position for a split second—then drive the bar straight above your head until your arms are fully locked out. Slowly lower the bar down to the front of your shoulders, then turn it around and lower it back to the floor.
When you do the drive to lift the bar above your head, bend your knees slightly if you need to.
4: Kettlebell snatches
The kettlebell is one of the greatest testosterone-boosting tools out there. Pretty much every exercise performed with it uses a large amount of muscle fiber and multiple joints.
The snatch is a signature move that also has the advantage of raising your heart rate through the roof. Begin this exercise with the kettlebell on the floor an arm’s length in front of you. Push your hips back and get your shins vertical to the floor as if you were going to do a deadlift.
Grasp the kettlebell handle and lean it back towards your body. Rip the bell forcefully back behind your legs and keep your arm close to your body. Explosively extend your knees and hips as you pull the bell up in the air in a slightly arcing motion. Let the ball of the bell turn over on your hand and land softly on your forearm as you spear your hand through the handle.
Tighten your abs, quads, glutes and lats at the top for a split second, then pull the bell downward. Let it turn over again as you push it back between your legs. Repeat for a set of reps and then switch sides.
Never underestimate the power of sprints. Not only do they burn a metric ton of calories, but they also boost testosterone levels into the stratosphere. This is due to the high-intensity nature of the exercise.
Start out with a light jog to warm up, then run as hard as you can for 20, 30 or more seconds—as long as you’re happy with depending on your fitness level. Come back down to a slow pace for twice as long as your sprint time, then hit it hard again. Alternate back and forth for 20 to 30 minutes and then call it good.
If you don’t like running, choose another type of high-intensity interval exercise. The type of cardio is less important than how hard you do it.
As you can see, boosting your testosterone levels through exercise is hard work. But nothing in life that’s worth going after is easy. Practice on a regular basis and you’ll get your test levels up to par and it’ll all be worth it!