Does Working Out Increase Testosterone Or Is It A Waste Of Time?

Pumping iron is great, just ask Arnold!

Ripped bodybuilder in tank top working out

You’re inside the gym, sweating and grunting like an orc (no offense to orcs). You’re there for a reason – you want to be more muscular, manlier and to have more testosterone. But does working out increase testosterone?

In short – yes, training will elevate your natural T levels. After doing plenty of research, I found more than one study that connects high volume with moderate to high-intensity training (using mainly compound exercises) with an increase in testosterone levels.

And yes, you work out EVERY single time you engage in vigorous physical activities. And no, lifting a fork or a spoon for reps does NOT count here, sorry! I’m talking about going to the gym and getting a kick-ass training session – that’s the real definition of working out!

Exercise And Testosterone – The Perfect Match

Spending some quality time in the gym is one of the best things that you can do as a man. Not only will it help you to look better, but lifting heavy stuff off the ground is and always will be IDEAL for your manliness.

Weightlifting and vigorous exercises = more natural testosterone coursing through your veins!

According to researchers from Texas,  testosterone concentrations increase right after a heavy workout (1). This means that your workouts have to be somewhat vigorous, i.e. you should use weights that are challenging.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to become a powerlifter and deadlift 300 lbs for reps. It just means that you have to lift heavy, depending on how experienced you are, how big you are etc. You determine what’s heavy, because (especially if you’re starting out) your strength levels could very well be close to those of a 10-year-old girl.

When it comes to stimulating your natural testosterone production through exercise, the key point is going for HEAVY compound movements!

And to make it even more obvious, other relevant clinical trials highlight the connection between high volume, moderate to high-intensity workouts that target large muscle groups and acute hormonal response (2). Or in other words, going heavy on compound exercises (like deadlifts, bench press, squats etc.).

You now know that sweating in the gym does your primary male hormone good. So it’s time to put shift your focus to:

Does working out increase testosterone, man doing reverse dips
Good luck doing any of these as a novice lifter!

The Most Effective Exercises For More T

If you’re a man and you’re looking for top exercises that provide the most bang for your buck in terms of delivering the biggest testosterone response, then you’ve come to the right place. And here they are:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench Press
  • Pull Ups
  • Dips
  • Sprints

Notice any pattern here? Even if you do, I’m doing the hard work for you, so I’ll just go ahead. These are all multi-joint exercises. What does that mean? It means that those multi-joint a.k.a. compound exercises, in combination with enough resistance (i.e. heavy weights) results in an acute hormonal response from your body.

To put it simply – It means total AWESOMENESS for your masculinity. You can even amplify the effectiveness of your training by eating T-boosting foods and utilizing testosterone boosting supplements. Also, make sure to take a look at my top testosterone boosting foods and what a T booster really is to get a better idea of some other aspects related to optimizing your masculinity.

“Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights.”

– Ronnie Coleman

Big Ronnie knows what’s up for sure! We can twist his words, but the main idea remains the same, whether you want to become a bodybuilder (my advice – don’t even bother) or if you’re simply on the path to getting more natural T.

Now, guys, since we’re talking about heavy this and heavy that, let me pinpoint something… read on!

Don’t Underestimate The Safety Aspect of Weightlifting!

Does working out increase testosterone, exclamation markYou would be a total fool if you take my advice blindly and annihilate the gym on your next visit, because hey I told you to ‘go heavy or go home.’ While using heavy weights is the most optimal approach to gaining muscles and optimizing your testosterone production, you still have to train smart!

If you start messing around with a weight that’s beyond your capabilities, you will dramatically increase the odds of getting your rear end annihilated. In other words, you could injure yourself, cry in a corner, blame me and possibly quit working out altogether.

NO, I don’t want you to experience any of this misery. Instead, I’ll give you a precious, yet sensible piece of advice. It’s something to keep in mind every time you have the urge to perform heavy deadlifts, squats, bench presses or whatever compound movement it is:

Train smart – avoid injuring yourself – be happy.

What I mean here is use your HEAD when you enter the gym (use it all the time actually). Showing off by putting 220 lbs on the bar, while you can only do 150 lbs for reps would get you humiliated, if not dead (I pray to the Lord you have common sense and you never attempt that).

Leave your ego, and progress slowly and always have a spotter when doing bench press or even squats. Trust me, when you start lifting super heavy, you’ll beg for someone to be there for you if shit hits the fan!

Woah, I’m glad I got this off my chest! Hey, perhaps you’re cursed with low T and you’re curious to know if training is right for you? Let’s see!

Working Out And Low Testosterone?

If your libido is as potent as an 80-year-old’s morning wood and if you feel as manly as Celine Dion, then you might be dealing with low testosterone. This condition affects a good number of men these days, so hitting the gym and lifting weights could prove to be a great remedy.

The symptoms of low testosterone include awful things like low sex drive, man boobs and even erectile dysfunction (ED).  Basically, this is a rather unpleasant condition to put it lightly. That is why we’ll put our attention to the possibility of partially dealing with it by introducing physical activity to our lifestyle.

Being familiar with the fact that heavy resistance training provokes a hormonal response in our systems, everything seems so logical and related. Don’t you agree? I mean, if exercising helps you release more hormones, then you could exploit it to help with your insufficient amounts of T.

Low testosterone can translate into low energy and lack of motivation in the training room.

The real issue by training and having low T is mainly the fact that you’ll have a hard time putting on mass and increasing your strength. More testosterone = more muscles plus strength! Simple, eh? When you have less, it gets tricky to put on size.

Not all is lost though folks! Don’t lose hope! By tweaking your lifestyle, you could reverse low testosterone. Treating low t naturally is possible indeed, you just have to make the right adjustments to the way you live.

Don’t let low T stop you from working out. In fact, it might VERY WELL relieve your condition! Which brings me to the subject of HIIT – high-intensity interval training. Come, let’s explore this beauty of a training protocol!

Does working out increase testosterone, man lifting heavy weights
This is part of a thing called Caveman Training and it will DEFINITELY skyrocket your primary male hormone levels!

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Should Become A Part Of Your Testosterone Boosting Arsenal!

You CANNOT talk about the relationship between working out and testosterone without mentioning the superb HIIT. Thought I was going to miss it? Haha, I don’t let ANY valuable information slip through my fingers!

High-Intensity Interval Training is alternating between short periods of high-intensity of training, followed by lower-intensity in intervals. I’m sure you knew that before I explained it to you? Or it was logical, perhaps? Well, I DID anyway!

To give you a quick example: you sprint for 20 seconds, then you jog or walk for a minute, and then you repeat. It’s entirely up to you to decide how many times you want to torture yourself with, sorry, repeat this cycle. Anything from 5 to 10 would suffice in my view! Give me a shout if you go beyond 20!

Science backs the claims that HIIT is more effective than slow-paced cardio, regarding hormonal response (including testosterone) (3). To all you cardio bunnies – think twice the next time you do your 60-minute, boring and not-so-effective cardio sessions while watching the TV screen like a zombie!

HIIT could be utilized in every possible way, whether it’s running, swimming, biking etc. As long as you keep alternating between strenuous intervals and less intense ones. Got it? Alright.

Conclusion – Go and hit the weights!

Does working out increase testosterone, dumbbells and kettlebells
These awesome testosterone-boosting tools i.e. dumbbells and kettlebells will become your next best friends!

Was that not convincing enough for you to take action? Come on; this is exactly the right time for you to get motivated and annihilate the weights at your local gym! Trust me, and your testosterone will thank you for that.

Don’t have a gym or you are for some unknown reason reluctant to visit one? You can do the poor man’s option which is to train at home. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I prefer hitting the training room there’s more equipment and everything’s made to sustain heavy objects falling on the ground!

Oh, sorry – if you’re Bill Gate’s son (or daughter – share this info with your brothers and father please!) then I guess you won’t be needing a gym membership. You’re perfectly healthy, optimizing your testosterone by working out in your three-story training complex.

For all, you regular folks out there – stop slacking! Start busting your rear end in the training room as soon as possible. You’re already familiar with the fact that it can help you with your testosterone-optimization goals, so… go ahead and lift them weights up!

Btw, are you hitting the gym on a regular basis? Or are you working out occasionally, even now and then? Drop down a comment below!

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Founder and author of Testosterone Nerd. A man with addiction, testosterone addiction. From captivating metaphors, humoristic approaches and scientifically-backed research, there's something for every man seeking optimal male hormone levels. Now give me five and rev up that T of yours!


  1. Simon,

    This is a fantastic site and article indeed.

    I happen to do all of the compound exercises you mentioned and the heavier I go, the better I feel overall within hours. Also, the more…let’s just say – more inclined to women I feel afterwards lol 🙂

    I actually did think you were going to forget HIIT! This also has been one of the very best elements I have incorporated into my training regiment.

    Not only does it release HGH and increase overall male hormones in a shorter period of time but you actually feel cleansed inside afterwards because you sweat profusely and really feel you have truly WORKED OUT.

    I usually do 30 seconds of max speed on a bike then rest for 90 seconds x 8 sets.

    If I’m not close to feeling queasy or not my best by the 8th set then I haven’t worked hard enough. Not sick but uncomfortable and exhausted should be the goal.

    Also – one last thing; it is absolutely critically important as you mentioned not to just go heavy without knowing one’s capabilities.

    I just focused on proper form and technique when starting out and gradually increased the weight until I “got it”.

    Anyway, fantastic blog and great, informative article!

    • Hello and welcome aboard!

      First off, I appreciate your kind words.

      And yeah, HIIT is the thing when it comes to feeling more energized during the rest of the day and getting rid of some unwanted lard as well. I’ve been trying to decrease rest intervals as of lately and my workouts have morphed into a something like semi-HIIT themselves lol.

      You’ve got my respect for training smart. Indeed, many folks go beyond what they can lift in order to look tough, only to end up with a strain or God forbid something even worse.

      Cheers and God bless,
      Simon | Author of Testosterone Nerd

  2. Hey, I run a site dedicated to high performance athletes. I am wondering, does working out also increase testosterone in women? If so, what are the benefits to athletic performance for men and women?

    Obviously, there would be some gains to strength, and it would increase the overall ability to do strength training. But I’m wondering more about the specific increases to athletic performance during the sport (such as aerobic capacity, aggressiveness, etc.). Would love to see a future post on that.

    Cheers. Thanks for the post

    • Hey and welcome aboard!

      You’re bringing an interesting subject. You know what – I definitely SHOULD write more about how testosterone impacts you, ladies.

      Obviously, working out will elicit a hormonal response in women too. Your androgens will receive a boost (including testosterone). Now, don’t think you’ll turn into a man or anything – that’s only achievable if you resort to banned stuff, you know the kind.

      To put it simply, you can expect a positive increase in athletic performance, including aggression which is a part of more T flowing through your veins.

      Cheers and God bless,
      Simon | Author of Testosterone Nerd

  3. Sadly I am reaching the age where low T is something I need to start thinking about. Maintaining muscle mass and bone health is something that I have heard is related to the amount of HGH hormone in your body. Do you know if that has anything to do with testosterone? I know anabolic steroids have an effect but boosting testosterone seems like a much healthier way to attack the issue.

    • Hello there, Thomas!

      Androgens can have an impact on bone health. In essence, as testosterone decreases with age, so does bone density. Keeping your bones strong and healthy when you’re young is vital and working out actually helps with that.

      Cheers and God bless,
      Simon | Author of Testosterone Nerd


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