Testosterone is king when it comes to being the best man you can be. It dictates everything from building muscle, to having a healthy sex drive and all the traits in between that make life truly enjoyable.
In addition to being the primary male androgen, however, testosterone is a very good indicator of your overall health, as low levels are typically associated with a myriad of adverse health effects, from depression to osteoporosis and more.
If you are a young man, your levels should be pretty good. But then again, owing to the amount of crap we put in our bodies daily, it’s not that far-fetched to think that our T-Levels could be better.
The best part? Increasing, or optimizing your testosterone levels is not that difficult. If you don’t have an underlying medical condition that affects testosterone production, anyone can do it. How? With good old weight training. But of course, it comes down to doing it right.
You won’t see much of an increase in T levels by going to the gym and doing intense cardiovascular exercise, or consistently using sub-par weights when your body really needs a good challenge.
Beyond everything going on outside of you, your body desperately seeks to maintain a state of homeostasis, or body balance.
This means that the body resists very drastic changes, which is why there is a standard “base” you are accustomed to.
For example, if you are a naturally slim person trying to bulk up, you may see temporary improvements, but unless you keep your feet on the pedal all the time, the body will quickly revert to more of the same.
The number one way to elicit improvements in testosterone levels? Take advantage of the natural peaks, forcing out as much of the hormone as possible.
While spikes are most noticeable in the morning upon waking (clearly visible by the good old morning erection wood), immediately following weight training is the pulse we will take advantage of.
Of course, as previously mentioned you must train sensibly and intensely. You need to ensure you employ a three-pronged approach to maximize any peaks of testosterone, which include:
Time and time again, certain exercises keep impressing when it comes to increasing testosterone production. When constructing your workout split, it’s important to include the following 5 best exercises in your plan:
If there was a magic pill that could be taken to ramp up testosterone production, without negative repercussions, it would have to be the squat. This exercise is actually a very primitive exercise, one embedded into our DNA because it comes naturally to us.
The squat is one of the best exercises to recruit large muscle groups, doing so much more than other exercises commonly used for lower body training (such as the leg press). Squats also lend itself to a lot of core muscle recruitment.
Ranking right up there next to the squat is the deadlift, an exercise of legendary difficulty that has sculpted many physiques etched into the annals of time. This exercise recruits the body as a whole, with legs, core, back, arms, traps and many smaller muscle groups necessary for successful execution.
The deadlift, like the squat, should be a low-rep exercise used to maintain intensity, reduce injury potential and elicit the greatest testosterone surge. Safely performing the deadlift strengthens the posterior chain muscles, and those of the extensors of the lower back, greatly reducing the likelihood of lower back problems later in life.
The military press is a regular fixture in deltoid training today, owing to its ability to hit all heads of the shoulder ensuring balanced growth (there are 3 “heads” or segments of the shoulder muscles). While the amount you can press overhead will vary greatly, it can be effectively overloaded and call into play all the muscles of the triceps, forearms, and also the core for stabilization.
The clean and press is a classic Olympic lift, being one of the earliest used compound exercises that require a high degree of coordination. The clean and press recruits the traps, legs, core, and arms into one smooth, explosive movement. This recruitment of many muscles groups leads to an increase in testosterone production.
Some people do pull-ups as easily as walking, while others struggle to do a single one. Even some of the most muscular guys struggle, begging the question, why?
The pull-up can be looked at as the pinnacle of functional upper body strength. It primarily involves the latissimus dorsi muscles of the back, along with the entire arm musculature and many other accessory muscles.
If you cannot perform a proper repetition, negative reps can help make you stronger. To do this, set yourself in the top part of the movement, and very slowly resist lowering yourself. The key here is to fight gravity and descent.
This portion referred to as the “negative” arguably leads to much greater muscle fiber trauma and a greater propensity for hormone release.
To take advantage of these testosterone boosting exercise you have make sure you don’t overdo it. While they are very effective, they must be used the way they were intended to be; brief and infrequent. This means ensuring that you take rest days between workouts, and also not doing all the movements in one sitting.
If you’ve been training for a while and notice that you suffer “burnouts”, it’s not actually due to muscles being unable to perform, but the fatigue of the central nervous system.For best results, you should weight lift 3 days per day (typically a Monday, Wednesday, Friday split), and NOT include both primary lifts (the deadlift and squat) in the same workout.
Doing so will fast-track you to a burnout and leave you unable to fully achieve your max in the second exercise performed.
A good split should look like this;
-Deadlift (alternated with squats), along with either military press/clean and press, and 1 accessory movement (typically a chest press of some sort). Pullups should be coupled with the squat days.
A good goal is to perform 3 working sets per exercise; a working set being 6-9 reps (warmups not included). You should select a weight/ resistance that allows you to get close to failure or the hormonal response diminishes significantly.
While these exercises are a solid bet for raising your testosterone levels, never forget that they will at best, be inefficient if your diet is subpar. You simply cannot out-train a bad diet. Ensure you are consuming enough fats that promote hormone synthesis, including lots of steak and omega-3 fats (though fish doesn’t directly influence testosterone synthesis). Protein will not positively impact testosterone production but is still important for muscle rebuilding.
Top that off with adequate sleep and experience what the essence of manliness is truly about!
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