Exercise has been repeatedly proven as an effective treatment for depression, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and many more illnesses. The list of diseases that can be treated and controlled with exercise is often approached with tablets and pills, promoted by the medical industry to be a quick-fix to your problems. Increasingly, people are looking to exercise, proper diet and sleep to naturally enhance their body’s production of antibodies, reduce inflammation and even balance out hormonal irregularities. Some specific exercises have even been proven to dramatically increase testosterone levels in men. Increasing testosterone levels helps muscle development, recovery and maintenance, and is as easy as making a few minor adjustments to your workout regime.
Sprinting and similar High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises are one some of the few proven methods of increasing testosterone levels in men. In 2011, a study was performed on 15 wrestlers over 4 weeks testing the effects of Sprint Interval Training (SIT) on their testosterone levels. Along with their regular wrestling training, the group included SIT exercises into their competition prep. One session consisted of six 35m sprints followed by 10 seconds rest, with each session being completed by each wrestler two times per week over the four weeks. On conclusion of the study, the group showed a “significant increase” in testosterone levels compared to previous testings. Introducing sprinting exercises into your weekly regime is a perfect way to increase your overall testosterone levels.
In addition, HIIT workouts are one of the most efficient and effective ways to reduce overall fat content. What does this mean? A lower body fat percentage directly correlates with higher levels of testosterone.
2. Kettlebell swinging
This extremely useful and effective movement has scientific data to back up its effect on testosterone levels. In a study conducted in 2014, researchers measured the hormonal responses to the kettlebell swing exercise in 10 resistance trained men. Participants swung the 16kg kettlebell for 30 seconds on/30 seconds off for 12 rounds, with blood samples taken before, immediately after and 30 minutes following.
The results showed that “testosterone was significantly higher” with growth hormone and cortisol also reading higher levels.
3. Longer rest periods
The number of minutes you take between sets or exercises was previously thought to only have the greatest effect on metabolic conditioning and muscle development. In 2010 a study showed that longer rest periods could affect a lot more than ‘the pump’. The study looked at the different effects of 3 common rest periods – 60, 90 and 120 seconds – on a number of participants. Again, 10 resistance-trained men were examined while they performed numerous sets of compound movements including squats and bench press. The result? Patients taking 60 and 90 second rest periods showed an increase in growth hormones, but only in patients who took the full 120 seconds rest period showed “[testosterone] concentrations were significantly higher”.
Next time you want to smash out your next set ASAP, think back to the effect a few more seconds could have on your body.
4. Full-body workouts
Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you leg day or chest day shouldn’t be a part of your regime anymore; they’re safe where they are. But for days when you want to change up your schedule and potentially increase your testosterone levels at the same time, a full-body workout is a perfect option. Studies have shown that when people completed a workout involving “all the major muscle groups”, the session can “induce growth hormone and testosterone release, regardless of age” faster than most muscle specific exercises.
Test out some of these methods in your next workout!