Does Exercise Increase Testosterone?

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    Question Does Exercise Increase Testosterone?

    Does Exercise Increase Testosterone?

    Exercise is a physical activity that strengthens muscles and improves overall health. Exercise varies greatly in intensity and duration from one person to the next.

    There are three kinds of exercise: Aerobic, Resistance, and Flexibility.

    Aerobic Exercise
    Aerobic exercise is a form of physical exercise that increases the heart rate and breathing rate.

    Different from anaerobic exercise, aerobic exercises can be sustained for a longer period of time with lower effort.

    Aerobic exercises strengthen the heart and lungs and increase oxygen intake to the brain. Aerobic exercise is an activity that you can do continuously for at least 10 minutes without stopping.

    Aerobic exercises are done for a longer duration with lower intensity or in shorter bursts of higher intensity before needing to take a break. A good example is jogging or HIIT training.

    Aerobic exercises tend to burn more calories per minute than anaerobic exercises and are therefore a good way to manage weight.

    Resistance Training
    Resistance exercises often use weights or other forms of resistance in order to build muscle mass, increase bone density, increase metabolism, and improve coordination.

    A resistance exercise is a repetition of a given movement with a weight or other form of resistance that causes your muscles to contract against gravity or an external force which typically lasts from 30 seconds up to around three minutes when done correctly.

    There are different kinds of resistance training methods, some programs are designed to stimulate the most muscle growth (hypertrophy), whereas some may help the body increase their muscular endurance which may be helpful for CrossFit style competitions and other programs may look to improve power or strength.

    The differences in programs tend to be the amount of weight lifted and the number of repetitions and sets involved.

    A very basic view is that low weights and a high number of reps stimulate muscle endurance, moderate weight and a rep range from 8-12 stimulates the most growth (muscular size) whereas heavier weight and lower reps improve strength.

    Resistance training can be performed using weights, elastic bands, or even the body’s own weight to build muscle and stimulate the body’s natural ability to repair and grow.

    Flexibility
    Flexibility training helps us to improve our range of motion and potential for injury prevention.

    Stretching or flexibility exercises are commonly associated with physical fitness, but they also have mental benefits.

    It is an effective stress reliever, lowering blood pressure and heart rate, as well as sending fresh oxygenated blood to the brain. The more flexible we are the better skilled we are at using our muscles efficiently and can more easily balance on different materials like rope or beam. This will be important in athletics where the ability to balance is key to success.

    Warm-up and Cool Down
    Before you do any exercise, it is important to warm up the muscles, increase the blood flow and joints to prevent injury.

    We can use the mnemonic R.A.M.P

    This stands for:
    • R – Raise the body temperature
    • A – Activate the muscle
    • M – Mobilize the joints and tissues
    • P – Potentiate the body for the exercise we are about to perform

    A warm-up session should last 8 – 12 minutes.

    When you have finished exercising it is a good idea to ‘cool’ down, this can help reduce the blood pressure, and relax the muscle. Do some stretching, light limb movements, and replenish lost fluids.

    Also, remember that to stimulate the greatest recovery you need to consume protein and carbohydrates. Think approximately 20g of protein and maybe around 60-70g of carbohydrates.

    Hormonal Response to Exercise
    You may wonder whether the exercise stimulates testosterone production. Or if one type of exercise does and the other doesn’t.

    After all, you see many bodybuilders with huge muscles, yet professional cyclists with next to no body mass at all.

    So, does it matter what type of exercise you do?

    Aerobic Exercise and Testosterone
    It is true that many studies have shown that aerobic exercise might stimulate testosterone secretion. One study found that the testosterone level of sedentary men increased by up to 25% after 12 weeks of aerobic exercise.

    However, it must be noted that the men involved in the study were considered obese and there is a connection between obesity and low testosterone.

    However, it is not clear whether this increase was caused by the improved blood flow or other physiological changes induced by exercise.

    A meta-analysis of research papers found that testosterone production from aerobic exercise was determined by the intensity of the exercise. It was suggested that high levels of intensity coupled with good hydration was the best formula to increase testosterone.

    However, on the flip side of the coin, some research also suggests that men who participate in excessive endurance exercise are also linked to low levels of testosterone suggesting that the stresses involved can affect hormonal response.

    It seems that maybe moderate bouts of high-intensity aerobic exercise are key here rather than extreme levels of long-duration endurance exercise.

    Resistance Training and Testosterone
    Resistance training involves the contraction of muscles against a resistive force for the purpose of improving strength, endurance, and overall physical fitness.

    However, not all studies have found this to be true. One study showed that resistance training does not significantly alter testosterone levels.

    Research found that strength training did alter and improve testosterone levels in both young and elderly males, however, the young benefited more.

    A study by Moradi, F., published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, investigated whether resistance training had any effect on testosterone secretion among sedentary, obese men and if it would have an effect on cardiovascular disease risk.

    It concluded that 12 weeks of resistance training did increase testosterone and was recommended to reduce the risk of CVD and type 2 diabetes.

    There are further studies that demonstrate resistance training can increase testosterone levels in males.

    However, not all studies have found this to be true. One study showed that resistance training does not significantly alter testosterone levels.

    So, just like aerobic training, there’s not an entirely clear-cut picture being formed. Once again, we turned to the meta-analysis of studies which (just like aerobic exercise) increasing testosterone levels is dependant on different factors.

    These being:
    • Shorter resting periods
    • Sufficient loads and intensity
    • Involving large muscle volume (i.e compound lifts rather than isolation exercises)

    The Take-Away
    Exercise can increase testosterone levels, however, there’s not just a free pass.

    While all exercise can be beneficial if you want to stimulate the most amount of testosterone the consensus from the studies is that high levels of intensity, heavier weight, and exercises involving multiple muscles at once is key.

    So, which is more beneficial, resistance training or aerobic training?

    Well, both are beneficial, but resistance training has shown to be more beneficial than aerobic training to produce more testosterone.

    To boost your T-levels even more, remember to eat right by consuming nutritious foods, maintain hydration, and get 8 hours of sleep per night.

    Athletes should also consume around 1.2-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and 5-10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight daily dependant on the level of intensity.
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    Not enough to provide any actual benefit. Layne Norton made a really good post about this with studies linked.

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