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Can you really increase Testosterone by exercising in certain ways?

What kind of exercise routines support higher testosterone levels?

How aligned with boosting Testosterone is increasing mass? How does a program focusing on Testosterone differ?

Some Youtube videos claim compound movements and changing program often is good for boosting testosterone. Any reason to think it is particularly good for Testosterone?

Assume men in their 4Oties with slightly low levels and normal physical shape.

  • Can you define what a "slightly low" level of T is? – JohnP Mar 22 '16 at 22:02
  • On the low side when its relevant for the answer, but not extremely low for somebody below 55. – Olav Mar 23 '16 at 8:50
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After a strength training workout there is a short-term increase in testosterone (t). However after only 30 minutes t levels return to baseline. Vingren et al found that long-term strength training does not appear to change resting t levels.

De Souza et al showed that high mileage runners (ca. 110 km/week), had significantly lower levels of t compared to moderate-mileage runners (approximately 54 km/week) and sedentary control groups of a similar age.

Lee et al explains how body fat (adipose tissue) contains the enzym aromatase that converts testosterone to estrogen. The main mechanism by which exercise increases t seem to be indirectly by lowering bodyfat.

However a study performed in Finland showed that lowering the daily fat intake for non obese men reduced t levels. Foster & Samman found that without careful nutritional planning, vegetarians may present low zinc status which has been shown to have a negative impact on t.

My conclusion is to avoid extreme endurance training. Other forms of training such as strength training or moderate aerobic training will increase t levels indirectly by lowering bodyfat percentage. A good diet also helps with this, however make sure to take in some fat.

Most of this is answer is ripped from this article, which also contains further references and details.

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There is a myth that exercise increases the secretion of testosterone. In fact, short duration intense exercise increase testosterone level in the blood while long duration endurance type of exercises decrease. Yet, there is no extra testicular secretion of testosterone. What happens is that the rate of clearance of this hormone from the plasma decrease. Because the liver is a major site for the clearance of testosterone and liver blood flow decreases during exercise. The other reason of increased testosterone could be accounted for by haemo-concentration. That is, during short duration intense exercise you have increased level of testosterone in your blood but it is not due to the testicular secretion of it.

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    But isn't it so that "free testosterone" is important? And that it doesn't directly relate to "total testosterone"? – Olav Mar 23 '16 at 15:06
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    Hemo-concentration would not explain the fact since classical weight lifting (which increases testosterone (T)) causes less sweating than distance running (decreases T). Also, if anything, the acutely low levels of testosterone after distance running would chronically increase T more than weight lifting due to a lack of negative inhibition on the hypothalamus-hypophysis; the opposite actually occurs. However, as you say, not necessarily due to increased secretion of testosterone, but maybe due to altered levels of SHBG, or a combination of the two. – Darko Sarovic Mar 30 '16 at 21:34
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There are multiple studies supporting both sides of the argument. Based on my personal experience,I do believe that exercise (and proper diet) improves testosterone levels. However, as you may already be aware, not all exercises are equal. I noticed that a combination of both strength training and HIIT workouts worked the best. I did strength training (3 days a week) and HIIT for 2 days a week. Keep in mind that your exercise session should not exceed more than 45 mins (ideally 30 mins).

Compound exercise are more relevant because they involve larger muscle groups and our body reacts to them to increase hormonal responses for stability and muscle recovery.

I personally noted that as my testosterone level grew (from 355 to 768 in 3 months), I lost body fat and my body tuned up but there was no significant increase in my muscle mass.

I would like to stress that exercise is just one aspect of increasing the Testosterone levels but in reality you have to make many lifestyle changes (Nutritions, exercise, sleep etc) to naturally boost your testosterone levels.

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