Low testosterone can result in fatigue, low libido, chronic disease, a lack of energy, and possibly cause you to lose muscle mass. Thankfully there are many ways to restore healthy testosterone levels, including exercise, dietary changes, and natural supplements.
However, not all exercises were created equal in their effect on testosterone production, as some workouts may cause your T levels to drop even further.
This article looks at the main types of exercise and how they affect your body’s T production.
- Low testosterone plays a negative role in libido, muscle mass, and muscle strength.
- Healthy levels of testosterone can be maintained through exercise, following a nutritious diet, and getting enough sleep.
- T boosters are dietary supplements that contain natural ingredients and may help boost your body’s testosterone or male sex hormone production.
- Not all exercises work to boost T levels, and they may affect men and women differently.
- The best exercise for boosting your testosterone is weightlifting, closely followed by HIIT programs.
Related: Best testosterone boosters
Does Working Out Increase Testosterone?
Yes, exercise can not only help boost T levels and production but could result in lean muscle mass gain, losing weight, and in the case of physically active men and women, help them not gain weight [1, 2].
Exercise may also stimulate the release of growth hormone, which could promote weight loss and muscle growth .
Some forms of exercise can improve overall T levels, while others are better at enhancing your serum testosterone hormone values .
Below is an overview of some of the most popular forms of exercise chosen to boost T levels.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT training is an excellent option for increasing testosterone in men. It is a full-body workout plan that focuses on alternating between short bursts of high-intensity exercise and even shorter rest periods.
A study comparing intensive-interval boost training and steady-state endurance exercise in men found the former elevated free testosterone more than the latter .
HIIT has been shown to increase free testosterone in athletes
HIIT could also help boost total testosterone and SHBG concentrations in aging men .
Other benefits of HIIT include:
- Building muscle mass
- Losing body fat
- Improving oxygen consumption
- Improves your overall fitness
- Eliminates the need to spend hours at the gym.
Unfortunately, HIIT for women does not boost T levels, with one study finding that the workout reduced T levels in women .
Both men and women can use resistance training to increase their levels of testosterone. Resistance exercise primarily consists of weightlifting, which is one of the best ways for men to boost their T levels.
Although women also respond well to resistance training to boost testosterone, the effect may not be as pronounced or long-lasting as males .
Does Lifting Weights Increase Testosterone?
Yes, weight lifting and weight training can help elevate testosterone in men and women, although the increase may be more significant in males .
Strength training may also offer the following benefits :
- A change in body composition as muscle mass increases
- Building muscle strength
- Maintaining bone density
- Improving vitality in the elderly
Below are some of the best workout routines you can follow to boost your T levels.
HIIT involves alternating between periods of intense exercise and rest. An example of a HIIT session is as follows:
- Five-minute warmup involving walking on the treadmill and a quick stretch
- Run for one minute at 7mph, then walk for one minute at 4mph. Repeat five times.
- Run for half a minute at 10mph, then walk for one minute at 3mph. Repeat ten times.
- Follow this with a repeat of the one-minute – one-minute routine at a level five incline.
HIIT training gets your heart pumping and can be cardio or weight-based. These timing and intensity intervals can be used for weights, squats, burpees, or even pull-ups.
Weightlifting requires targeting all your major muscle groups with various strength training exercises, including:
- Arms: Push-ups, pull-ups, curls, and dips to activate your biceps and triceps
- Legs: Squats and leg press to focus on working all of the muscles in your legs
- Back: Deadlifts to activate your lower back, and overhead pulls for your shoulders and upper back
- Chest: Chest press and bench press are the best exercises to focus on your pectoral muscles
- Abs: Sit-ups, pull-ups, and planks to work your abdominal muscles and core
Lifting heavy weights is a great way to build muscle and burn fat, both of which could benefit your body’s long-term T production.
3. Resistance Training
Resistance training is similar to weightlifting, although it may include a wider variety of exercises such as:
- Kettlebell raises
- Medicine ball sit-ups
- Dumbbell push-ups
- Free weight training like the exercises used for weightlifting
- Weight machine training including leg lifts, leg press machines, and flyes
This training is an effective workout to boost testosterone in men and women while providing additional health benefits.
Crossfit is a hybrid of resistance training, HIIT, and cardio. It involves a full-body workout that activates all muscle groups and focuses on functional exercises like:
- Jumping squats
- Rope training
- Dumbbell push-ups
Striking sports like karate, boxing, taekwondo, and martial arts have also shown promise as forms of exercise that could boost T levels .
Some exercises that could simulate these effects include:
- Using punching bags
- Attending MMA classes
By How Much Can Exercise Raise Testosterone?
Some forms of exercise, like weightlifting, can raise testosterone by up to 21.6% in males and 16.7% in females . However, these effects are typically acute, and resting testosterone levels are restored after around 30 minutes.
How Long Does It Take for Exercise To Raise Testosterone Levels?
Exercise typically begins to raise testosterone as soon as it is started. Most T level increases are acute, and normal T levels will be restored soon after exercise stops.
Common Exercises and Testosterone: What Works?
Not all exercises work to boost T levels. Weight training and HIIT improve both T levels and muscle mass. Still, exercises that trigger the release of the stress hormone cortisol could effectively lower testosterone levels in men and women .
Can Running Boost Testosterone?
Endurance training like running long distances could result in long-term lowered T hormone levels in men and women . Maximal aerobic exercise or cardio training can increase the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which could cause your T hormone levels to drop.
Therefore, running and other endurance exercise forms are not recommended for trying to boost T levels.
Does Cardio Increase Testosterone?
Although cardio may help individuals of any gender lose weight and thereby increase their body’s T production, the exercise itself may reduce your overall T hormone levels due to excess cortisol production.
Do Squats Boost Testosterone?
Yes, barbell squats can promote a significant short-term increase in the levels of testosterone in your body. These lower body exercises are also great for building muscle.
Can Walking Increase Testosterone?
Low-intensity aerobic exercise like walking can boost your T levels, although this may be attributed more to overall weight loss than the exercise itself .
Does Jogging Raise Testosterone Levels?
Like walking, jogging is a form of aerobic exercise that may prompt the increase in T levels due to the exercise itself and associated weight loss.
Do Pull-Ups Raise Testosterone Levels?
Pull-ups are part of strength training and therefore help raise T levels while also building muscle mass.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about exercise and testosterone.
Does Working Out Raise Testosterone in Women?
Working out can help women naturally boost their T, although not to the same extent as men. Fortunately, women are far less likely to experience symptoms of low testosterone compared to men.
How Can I Raise My Testosterone Fast?
Other than exercising, choosing a healthy diet, and getting quality sleep, you can naturally raise testosterone levels through dietary supplements.
Testogen, Test RX, and Testo Prime are three brands of T boosters that can help trigger T production in your body and combat effects like low libido.
A treatment with a T-booster supplement showed to increase testosterone over three courses
Vitamin supplements, especially vitamin D, could also help improve your body’s T production, while vitamin D-rich foods and spending time in the sun could be equally effective.
Which Exercise Increases Testosterone the Most?
Weight training is the most effective exercise to naturally increase T levels in both men and women.
Does Masturbation Decrease Testosterone?
There is no evidence that masturbation causes low T hormone levels in men, although abstinence may elevate T levels slightly 
Exercise can be a very effective way of boosting T levels and combatting the effects of low T. However, other methods are also available, including dietary changes and using T boosters like Testogen, Test RX, and Testo Prime.
No matter the method you choose, raising your testosterone levels, especially if you are a male, could provide a range of long-lasting health benefits.
- Vingren JL;Kraemer WJ;Ratamess NA;Anderson JM;Volek JS;Maresh CM; “Testosterone Physiology in Resistance Exercise and Training: The up-Stream Regulatory Elements.” Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21058750/.
- DJ;, Mersy. “Health Benefits of Aerobic Exercise.” Postgraduate Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2062750/.
- AD;, Roemmich JN;Rogol. “Exercise and Growth Hormone: Does One Affect the Other?” The Journal of Pediatrics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9255234/.
- Yeo, Jeong Kyun, et al. “Which Exercise Is Better for Increasing Serum Testosterone Levels in Patients with Erectile Dysfunction?” The World Journal of Men’s Health, Korean Society for Sexual Medicine and Andrology, May 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5924956/.
- Hackney AC;Hosick KP;Myer A;Rubin DA;Battaglini CL; “Testosterone Responses to Intensive Interval versus Steady-State Endurance Exercise.” Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23310924/.
- Hayes, Lawrence D, et al. “Exercise Training Improves Free Testosterone in Lifelong Sedentary Aging Men.” Endocrine Connections, Bioscientifica Ltd, July 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5510446/.
- Kong, Zhaowei, et al. “Comparison of High-Intensity Interval Training and Moderate-to-Vigorous Continuous Training for Cardiometabolic Health and Exercise Enjoyment in Obese Young Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0158589.
- Weiss, Lawrence W., et al. “Comparison of Serum Testosterone and Androstenedione Responses to Weight Lifting in Men and Women.” European Journal of Applied Physiology, Springer-Verlag, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00423247.
- Schwab R;Johnson GO;Housh TJ;Kinder JE;Weir JP; “Acute Effects of Different Intensities of Weight Lifting on Serum Testosterone.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8107546/.
- ME;, Seguin R;Nelson. “The Benefits of Strength Training for Older Adults.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14552938/.
- Slimani, Maamer, et al. “Hormonal Responses to Striking Combat Sports Competition: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Biology of Sport, Institute of Sport in Warsaw, June 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6234310/.
- Daly W;Seegers CA;Rubin DA;Dobridge JD;Hackney AC; “Relationship between Stress Hormones and Testosterone with Prolonged Endurance Exercise.” European Journal of Applied Physiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15618989/.
- AC;, Hackney. “Endurance Training and Testosterone Levels.” Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2675257/.
- Kumagai, Hiroshi, et al. “Increased Physical Activity Has a Greater Effect than Reduced Energy Intake on Lifestyle Modification-Induced Increases in Testosterone.” Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, The Society for Free Radical Research Japan, Jan. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4706091/.
- E;, Purvis K;Landgren BM;Cekan Z;Diczfalusy. “Endocrine Effects of Masturbation in Men.” The Journal of Endocrinology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/135817/.