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For males and females.

For this example, I am male, so let's focus on males. First of all, assumptions:

Muscle size is not important to me. I don't feel as though I have to build muscle to be attractive, and I'm fine with my own size, so any benefits/assumptions aside, muscle mass means virtually nada to me. Including this in this mix, a certain figure of testosterone in any assumptions would not hinder goals since building size is not a priority to me, so all figures representing T-levels in this regard are not relevant.

It would be wise not to assume building X specific amount of muscle is a top-priority to me.

What is my priority, you ask? Strength. Studies correlate testosterone with muscle strength in regards to muscle size, yes, but there's no hard evidence that both must go perfectly hand-in-hand to improve one.

In other words, there's no 100% correlation from muscle strength potential to muscle size and mass. Pre-pubescent children have built phenomenal strength with low-testosterone. People who have undergone gonadectomies have not been doomed to succeed in building strength either, although can be very hard.

In short, assuming I have low-testosterone, how limited would I be in building purely strength?

Strength is not just muscle mass but potential: myofibril execution, nervous system, mind/body control, etc.

My current routines/maxes:

Squat: 1 time a week, 3 reps, 50-80 lbs., 100% deep.

Biceps curl: 50-80 lbs., 1-3 reps, 100% perfect form, once or twice a week.

Deadlift max: 280 lbs.

Squat max: 120 lbs.

My goal:

Deadlift max: 600 lbs.

Squat max: 300 lbs.

NOTE: I have absolutely no sexual dysfunction symptoms associated with low-T (but could still have it). Consider this question, to some degree, hypothetical, because I'm assuming I have low-T based on failure to improve much strength. I'm not seeing any physicians/doctors/etc., so don't bother telling me to.

  • Have you looked at other things that hamper progress, like nutrition and rest? If you're not eating enough of the right stuff or getting enough rest/sleep, it doesn't matter what your T-levels are. Also, your squat and deadlift goals should probably be closer to each other, unless you have a good reason for the discrepancy. – Tyler Oct 12 '14 at 4:42
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You don't want to hear it, but it's a reality that anyone who's messed around with steroids and hormones can attest to: the only way you verify test levels is medically. There are saliva testosterone tests you can buy online (amazon, etc) without a physician's reference but honestly you can't "eyeball" your testosterone levels: it needs to come from a test.

I'm not seeing any physicians/doctors/etc., so don't bother telling me to.

Specifically looking at research though, there is evidence that testosterone is directly linked with strength (amongst other composition changes). From a 2001 study in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism:

We conclude that changes in circulating testosterone concentrations, induced by GnRH agonist and testosterone administration, are associated with testosterone dose- and concentration-dependent changes in fat-free mass, muscle size, strength and power, fat mass, hemoglobin, HDL cholesterol, and IGF-I levels, in conformity with a single linear dose-response relationship.

Even in this 1996 study shows an increase of strength with an increase of testosterone, even with no exercise:

Among the men in the no-exercise groups, those given testosterone had greater increases than those given placebo in muscle size in their arms (mean [±SE] change in triceps area, 424±104 vs. -81±109 mm2; P<0.05) and legs (change in quadriceps area, 607±123 vs. -131±111 mm2; P<0.05) and greater increases in strength in the bench-press (9±4 vs. -1±1 kg, P<0.05) and squatting exercises (16±4 vs. 3±1 kg, P<0.05). The men assigned to testosterone and exercise had greater increases in fat-free mass (6.1±0.6 kg) and muscle size (triceps area, 501±104 mm2; quadriceps area, 1174±91 mm2) than those assigned to either no-exercise group, and greater increases in muscle strength (bench-press strength, 22±2 kg; squatting-exercise capacity, 38±4 kg) than either no-exercise group. Neither mood nor behavior was altered in any group.

Looking at this part of your question, I'm not sure what you mean:

Pre-pubescent children have built phenomenal strength with low-testosterone.

The youth squat records hang out in the ~300lb range (for ~220lb+ people), while certainly strong (and that's post puberty), the compounding effect of training and a healthy endocrine system over the years are what have people moving triple that around on their backs.

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