If you feel that your testosterone levels are low, or you’d simply like to find out how to increase testosterone, there are a few steps you can take. For starters, studies have shown that weight lifting has a positive response on the production of growth hormone and testosterone in people of all ages. In fact there are some exercises that increase testosterone more effectively than others.
Low Testosterone Symptoms
Firstly, if you suffer from any of the following symptoms, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor to test your levels. If they are lower than what is considered normal, the doctor may be able to recommend a medical solution such as testosterone replacement therapy. There could also be an underlying medical condition which may be the culprit.
- Decreased Libido
- Disrupted Sleep
- Erectile Dysfunction
Women may also experience the following if their testosterone levels are too low:
- Decreased Libido
- Constant Fatigue
- Low Energy
What Causes a Drop in Testosterone Levels?
It’s widely known that after the age of 30 most men experience a gradual drop in testosterone. For the most part this is nothing to be concerned about, although for some the levels may drop more so than others. Other common causes of low testosterone you can look at addressing include:
Stress – Stress has a significantly harmful effect on the body as it releases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol actually blocks the effects of testosterone. It’s speculative that this is a survival function in stressful situations as testosterone increases aggressive and competitive behavior.
Sugar – Even a little bit of sugar each day accumulates over time. This equates to a high insulin level which, research has shown, correlates to low levels of testosterone. Cutting back or eliminating sugar altogether will have a number of positive effects on your body.
Obesity – Studies have demonstrated that those who are obese are more likely to have lower levels of testosterone. If you are on the heavy side, shedding those excess pounds will help to regulate your hormone levels.
Zinc Deficiency – The mineral zinc plays an important role in the production of testosterone which is why it’s a key ingredient in the popular ZMA supplements. Too little zinc is associated with low testosterone levels, while supplementing can increase levels.
Vitamin D Deficiency – As if you needed another reason to look forward to summer, healthy levels of vitamin D increase levels of testosterone and are also important in the development of the nucleus of the sperm cell. Try to spend a little more time in the sun to up your levels.
Not Enough Healthy Fats – While many people tout the importance of avoiding fats, healthy fats are essential to the healthy functioning of our bodies. Research has shown that diets with less than 40% of energy consumed as fat can lead to decreased testosterone levels.
Lack of Sleep – Aside from allowing your body to recover after strenuous workouts, sleeping more allows your body to produce more testosterone (try aim for 7-9 hours’ sleep per night).
Exercises that Increase Testosterone
For those who are new to bodybuilding, it’s possible to increase testosterone by as much as 40% and even reduce the levels of resting cortisol by more than 20%. This is a good thing when it comes to building muscle and shaping your perfect physique. Here are 5 recommended exercises that increase testosterone:
- Barbell Squat – 4 sets of 10-15 reps
- Deadlift – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Barbell Bench Press – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Pull Ups – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
- Standing Military Barbell Press – 4 sets of 8-12 reps
Cardio: Sprinting has actually been shown to increase testosterone significantly. This is especially true for high intensity interval training type sprints on the treadmill. Consider adding sprints at the end of your weight lifting sessions.
Tip: It’s important to keep cortisol levels at a minimum to avoid blocking testosterone. As a result, keep workouts shorter rather than longer – ideally 45 to 60 minutes per session. Training heavy is also vital to elicit a hormonal response while training, but make sure to maintain form and hit your set/rep goals.
The listed exercises that increase testosterone naturally above should feature in every workout routine, regardless of your gender. The good news when it comes to boosting testosterone is that most tips include healthy lifestyle choices that you should be following anyway.