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Discover Links Between Testosterone and Heavy Lifting
How Testosterone Affects Strength – Fact vs. Fiction
If you’re into fitness and training, you’ll already know that testosterone can boost results.
It supports muscle development and can multiply the gains you see from lifting heavy weights.
But there’s also a lot of dodgy information online that can be misleading if you don’t know the facts.
A quick Google of ‘testosterone’ will bring up endless supplement adverts and fitness blogger reviews.
So, it’s important to know your facts in order to maximize your heavy lifting gains and avoid wasting time or money on ineffective tips.
In this article, we look at the scientific links between testosterone and strength training.
How Testosterone Influences Strength
Testosterone can have a significant influence on strength and muscle development.
Although it’s the dominant sex hormone in men, it’s actually produced in small amounts by women too.
It can improve brain function, increase bone growth, and boost production of collagen, sperm, and body hair.
But for fitness fanatics, it’s the hypertrophy, strength, and fat loss benefits that we’re really interested in.
Testosterone influences muscle development in a number of ways.
When you train, the number of satellite cells in the muscle increases.
Hypertrophy induced by testosterone results from the fibers that these cells create and enlarge.
The hormone can also help your body to utilize protein more efficiently so that cell consumption of amino acids is increased.
This means that you’re absorbing more of the building blocks that are used to create muscle.
As a result, your body can develop a larger volume of muscle mass than it would do otherwise.
Plus, testosterone decreases catabolism (muscle breakdown) which aids recovery and enhances long-term gains.
Boosting the Effects of Testosterone Through Exercise
If you’re wondering how to increase testosterone, then your approach to exercise is vital.
Lifting weights that are heavier than you’re used to is the most effective approach.
Pushing your muscles beyond their comfort zone puts positive stress on the body.
Its natural response is to adapt so that it can deal with this type of force more easily next time.
So, it boosts testosterone levels so that more muscle fibers can be developed which make you bigger and stronger.
A nice bonus side-effect is that you get a boost in human growth hormone too, which further multiplies the hypertrophy results.
This is why lifting heavy weights is an essential component of any training program.
Which Exercises are Most Effective?
While lifting heavy weights will boost testosterone, there are certain types of exercise that are more effective than others.
Compound movements work multiple muscle groups at the same time so that more fibers are recruited.
This can increase muscular stress and workout intensity so that even more testosterone is released.
Because more muscles are involved, you can usually lift heavier weights using compound exercises.
They’re also less likely to overstress a muscle or be performed using bad technique caused by weakness.
If one muscle isn’t quite up to the task, the others will compensate so that your risk of injury is reduced.
Here are six compound movements that’ll increase testosterone release, along with variations to make them even more taxing on the body…
- Bench presses – involve the pectoral muscles, biceps, and triceps. Using a decline bench or switching up your grip can make these movements even more challenging.
- Military presses – activate the deltoids, traps, biceps, and triceps. Using dumbbells or kettlebells instead of a single barbell can increase the difficulty.
- Clean and press – combines a deadlift and overhead press to work your entire body.
- Rows – this pulling motion targets the traps and lats, along with other arm and back muscles depending on the form and angle used.
- Squats – the standard movement recruits the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Sumo and pistol variations put extra stress on one leg at a time and are ideal progressions.
- Lunges – target the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core muscles. Adding movement to the side or back can further test balance and proprioception.
How Workout Timing Can Maximize Results
One thing you shouldn’t ignore is the timing of your workouts.
Research shows that exercising in a fasted state can lead to higher volumes of testosterone release.
This is why training early in the morning is beneficial for most people.
Working out before breakfast means you get an even greater boost to your t-levels since you likely won’t have eaten for 8+ hours.
If you’re someone who tends to train in the afternoon or evening, then avoid eating in the 3-4 hours beforehand.
This will produce a semi-fasted state and result in a greater testosterone release than eating a banana just before you go in.
You may feel hungry to start with but you’ll soon get into your workout and notice that your energy increases.
Avoiding the Trap of Overtraining
One trap that some people fall into is training too much.
Surely there’s no such thing as working out too often, right?
Well, in reality, you can put too much stress on your body and this can wreak havoc with your hormone production.
It’ll mess up adrenal gland function and affect the manufacturing of testosterone.
It can also lead to increases in cortisol which can cause unwanted weight gains.
If you don’t allow your body to rest, then you run the risk of over-stressing it and sabotaging your workout efforts.
The best way to avoid overtraining is to have a minimum of one day’s break between sessions.
It takes 24-48 hours for muscles to fully recover and rebuild after training, so working out again too soon will reduce your gains.
If you have a daily gym routine, then switch up the muscle groups that you target so that you never train the same ones two days in a row.
It’s fine to use your rest days for other activities like cardio, just don’t go crazy and wear yourself down.
Testosterone & Heavy Lifting – Final Thoughts
It increases hypertrophy and strength gains, as well as reducing fat storage so that you can get a lean, muscular physique.
Using compound movements will get you the best bang for your buck and working out in a fasted state will increase t-levels even more.
It’s clear to see that it’s essential to have high levels of testosterone in your body if you want extreme muscle growth.
No matter what your training plan, take our word for it – don’t ever let this be the missing part of your muscle-building puzzle.
For those of you looking to take your fitness routine, testosterone building, and strength to the next level, consider investing in high-quality weightlifting accessories.
Here at Dark Iron Fitness, we have you covered with useful gear like our genuine leather weightlifting belt.
Now, go out there, keep building your testosterone levels with squats, deadlifts, bench, overhead press, and all of the other compound movements there are.