Resistance Training key to Improving Testosterone Levels

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Many patients, both men and women, have asked me over the years what can they do to boost their natural production of Androgens (Testosterone and DHEA). These levels begin to fall in American society at around year 30 in both sexes if not often times sooner. Studies have indicated that our androgen levels are much lower than that our ancestor to begin with due to a variety of environmental factors such as our diet composition, our stress levels, and exposure to harmful radiation. Very few natural solutions have shown to have significant impacts in improving Testosterone levels but one method in particular appears very promising Resistance!

In 2006, Andrada et al. from the University of Extremadura, had 20 male volunteers (average age 22) with no prior experience with strength training. All of the subjects were tested and medically examined, so that there was no possibility of performance enhancing drug use to screw up the results.

After the medical examination, each of the volunteers were given a 4-week sub maximal strength training routine, which was to be conducted on three days of the week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). All the sessions were to be conducted at 12pm, and the use of any nutritional supplement during the 4-week period was forbidden.

**The resistance training routine itself consisted of 7 basic exercises in the following order:

  •  10-15 minute warm-up
  •  bench press
  •  seated-pulley
  •  knee extension
  •  behind-neck press
  •  leg press
  •  bicep curls
  •  tricep pull-downs

** NOTE

  • All of the exercises were done in 3 sets of 10 reps, with 3 min recovery in-between the sets, and with a weight that was 70-75% of the trainees one-rep max (1-RM).
  • While free weights are used primarily in this experiment, it is logical that using resistance bands would yield significantly better results given superior resistance overall.

After a month with the program above, the results were very impressive: even though right after the exercise there was acute reductions in T (likely because resistance training makes muscle cells absorb more androgens from the blood, and as a result the testosterone level goes down for a while), there was a statistically significant 40% increase in resting testosterone, and a -24% decrease in resting cortisol (the catabolic hormone that works to COUNTERACT testosterone in skeletal muscle). It is quite clear that resistance sports increases testosterone.