Learn How Squatting Can Increase Your Testosterone Levels

how squatting increases testosterone featured image

Looking for motivation to train legs?

We’ve all been there… get under the squat rack, do your reps, and get out as fast as possible.

Well, not that fast actually – if you’ve trained your legs well, you’ll be hobbling out of the gym with a pained grimace.

But is this a good enough reason to skip leg days?…

Definitely not!

You see, doing squats every week will significantly boost up your male hormone.

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Doing squats is shown to ramp up the human growth hormone by 1700%. Other benefits of leg workouts include enhanced libido, metabolism, and fat loss. [1, 3, 4]

Studies show that intense leg training yields a massive anabolic response from the body. Resulting in raised testosterone levels. [2]

With elevated T and HGH levels, you’ll also experience improved protein synthesis after workouts. Leading to vascular and strong muscles.

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In this article, I’ll explain how squats affect your T and HGH. Along with showing you the optimal way of training legs for maximum anabolic response.

Does Training Legs Increase Testosterone

As I mentioned above, yes, training legs does increase your testosterone.

And it’s not just leg training. Any type of workout that’s intense enough will produce a hormonal and metabolic response by the body. Resulting in improved T, metabolism, and muscle protein synthesis. [2, 4, 7]

However, since legs (and glutes) are the biggest muscle group in the body, they produce the biggest response from the body when trained. [5, 6]

That’s why leg workouts are among the most effective ways of naturally raising testosterone. And that’s why squats day and testosterone is no myth.

Related: Testosterone Guide | Learn How The Male Hormone Works

Leg Workouts Boost Growth Hormone Release, Too

As I briefly mentioned at the beginning of this article, leg workouts don’t just boost your testosterone. They cause your human growth hormone levels to rise, too.

And while testosterone gains from training your legs are nothing to sneeze at, the HGH gains you get from doing squats blow everything else out of the water.

Studies have shown that intense exercise, such as squats, ramp up human growth hormone levels by up to 1700%. The best thing of all, this increase in growth hormone can last for hours. Long after you leave the gym. [1]

However, it’s important to know that getting your HGH levels boosted by 1700% takes a correct approach to training. This includes choosing the right exercise, reps, sets, and rest periods. All of which I’ll cover below in detail.

a big and swole man doing heavy squats

Other Benefits of Leg Workouts

A boost in anabolic hormones is just one part of the picture when it comes to leg training.

There are other, just as impressive benefits of doing your squats. These include:

Increased Muscle Mass

Yes, training legs will increase your overall muscle mass. And I’m not talking just about the leg muscle mass. I’m talking everything from chest to arms. [8]

See, when you’re working out really hard, let’s say squats. You’ll be causing an anabolic response from your body, where it starts producing extra testosterone and growth hormone.

This leads to improved muscle protein synthesis, and ultimately – bigger and stronger muscles. A direct result of raised anabolic hormone levels. [7]

A study published by the European Journal of Applied Physiology proved this. They tested the hormonal response in men after an intense resistance exercise.

The study found that men who lifted the heaviest, and most intensely, produced the biggest response in testosterone. 

So again, since T plays a key role in men’s health, elevated levels of the male hormone will allow you to build fuller slabs of muscle.

You’ll Burn More Calories (And Fat)

Your glutes and legs are the largest muscles in your body. As such, they burn a heck of a lot of calories. More than any other body part. [9]

There was an interesting study done by the Journal of Applied Physiology. They tested athlete’s calorie expense after a heavy and intense workout.

The results of the study showed that 90 minutes of doing squats and deadlifts skyrocketed athlete’s metabolic speed – increasing their caloric expenditure.

Interestingly, athlete’s metabolic rates stayed high for several hours post workout.

In other words, intense exercise will not only help you burn more calories on the spot. It will keep your metabolism firing long after you’ve finished your workout. [10, 11]

You’ll Stay Injury-Free

It’s true: working out your legs will reduce your chance of an injury.

See, muscle imbalances can cause many problems. Not only will you lack mobility, but you’ll also have problems with back pain and injuries – the most common one being an ACL injury.

By doing deadlifts, lunges, squats, or leg press, you’re building muscles around your joints and core, increasing their stability and endurance to pressure. [12, 13]

Let’s get one thing clear here. If you’re serious about looking good and feeling good, then you should start working on your legs. Weekly.

If you’re training three times per week, at least one of those training sessions should be a leg day. This will not only ensure your anabolic hormones stay high. But will also keep you strong, lean, and flexible.

How Testosterone Is Created With Squats

Okay, onto the big question: how is testosterone actually created with squats?

Let’s answer it by breaking down some science for you…

In the study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, experts put two groups of men with similar training experience under a test.

The first group did 6 sets of 10 reps of squats. The second group did the same with the leg press.

Here’s what the study found;

“Blood samples were collected before (PRE), immediately after (IP), and 15 (P15) and 30 minutes (P30) after exercise, and analyzed for testosterone (T), growth hormone (GH), and cortisol (C) concentrations. Exercise increased (p ≤ 0.05) T and GH at IP, but the concentrations at IP were greater for the squat than for the leg press.” – journals.lww.com

In other words; both groups raised their T and HGH levels, with the squat group seeing the highest boost in anabolic hormones.

To be more precise,  the squat group raised their testosterone levels from 23.9 nmol/L to 31.4 nmol/L, while the leg press group saw an increase from 22.1 nmol/L to 26.9 nmol/l.

As for growth hormone, the squat group increased it from 0.2-9.5 μg/L. In contrast, the leg press group raised their HGH levels from 0.3 to 2.8μg/L.

Here are two graphs from the study, showing the T and HGH increases in more detail;

A chart showing an increase in testosterone levels after squats and leg press

A chart showing an increase in growth hormone levels after squats and leg press
Image courtesy of : journals.lww.com

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Key point: Studies show us that squats are the king of exercises when it comes to raising your testosterone and HGH levels.

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How Testosterone Is Produced During, and After Exercise

When you train hard, you activate your endocrine system.

The endocrine system is responsible for regulating hormone production. This includes testosterone and HGH. [14]

Here’s the thing… when you’re pumping out those reps, you’re inducing a hormonal response from your body.

Your testosterone levels get up, and so do cortisol and growth hormone. [15, 16]

You might be thinking; “isn’t cortisol bad for your muscles?” And that’s true, but only when it stays elevated for longer than it should. Which is the case when you’re overly stressed – resulting in muscle loss.

However, the elevation in cortisol during exercise itself is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, it helps you continue training hard so you can get the most out of your workout.

And here’s the beautiful thing – after you’re done with the workout, your cortisol levels drop down. Your testosterone and HGH, however, stay raised for up to several hours.

This is what helps you to grow new muscle fibers, resulting in a strength and lean mass increase.

You Might Like: Men’s Health Enhancers Guide

Okay, okay… I know this sounds interesting, but you’re probably wondering where’s the science behind this. Where are the actual facts?

Well my friend, here’s your answer;

The Science

Study 1 – Raised T Levels From Moderate Exercise on a Bike

This study tested the effects of 45 minutes of moderate cycling exercise on a group of untrained men. These men had their T levels measured at the 15-minute mark of exercising.

The study showed that after just 15 minutes of cycling, these men started producing anabolic responses in their bodies. Causing their testosterone levels to shoot up. [17]

Citing the study; “Mean serum testosterone levels increased significantly over resting values at 15 min of exercise. Mean peak serum testosterone and free testosterone were significantly increased during the exercise period as compared to resting values. It appeared that bicycle exercise of moderate intensity significantly increased both free and total testosterone in untrained males.” – NCBI

Studies 2 & 3 – Effects of HIIT Exercise on Testosterone

The study from the above showed us the effects of moderate exercise on testosterone levels. But what about more intense exercises, such as HIIT?

Well, here we have two studies that looked into this topic. They tested two groups of men – one group included young males. And the other group were gentlemen in their 60s.

The young male group were medical students and were mostly sedentary. The researchers tested these men by putting them under a heavy training program where they attained a heartbeat of 125-150/bmp. They kept up this rate for 15 minutes.

It turned out that the group of young men experienced significantly higher T levels during the exercise. What’s more, their T levels remained elevated after 12 weeks of following this training routine. [18]

The group with older men also saw similar benefits. Just like the group of young males, these older gentlemen had their testosterone elevated after a period of HIIT exercise. The study concluded [19];

“The present data indicate a combination of preconditioning, and HIIT increases TT and SHBG in sedentary older males, with the HIIT stimulus accounting for a small but statistically significant increase in free-T.”

athlete bodybuilder doing deadlifts

How to Train For Optimal T and HGH Release

After reading this, you might get hyped to work out and improve your testosterone and growth hormone. If that’s so, good on you!

But wait….

Before you go under that squat rack, there are a few things you’ll need to know to maximize your anabolic response from training.

You see, intense exercising in general will raise your HGH to a degree. But, lift weights in a specific way, and your growth hormone levels will spike up by 1700%.

Here’s how to do it.

Slow vs. Fast Reps – The Overview

Doing reps in a specific way plays a huge role in your anabolic hormone secretion, according to Brazilian scientists.

They tested the effects of the eccentric or negative portion of the exercise on human growth hormone levels.

Just to clarify: eccentric and concentric are two phases in a lift. The eccentric (or negative) phase is where you lower the weight down and your muscle lengthens. The concentric phase is where you lift the weight up and your muscle contracts.

Okay, so the eccentric part of the lift has always awoken curiosity among weightlifter fanatics. Some of them claimed that by doing a slow and controlled eccentric rep, you improve your testosterone and muscle growth.

Others claimed that it doesn’t matter; they instead just let the rep fall down like a rock off a cliff.

But what do the studies say? Well, apparently, controlled eccentric (negative) reps recruit more muscle fibers, causing a greater strain on the body.

This results in an elevated anabolic response, especially in Growth Hormone and IGF-1 levels. In other words, slower and more controlled reps bring about an increase in muscle mass.

Slow vs. Fast Reps – What Research Says

There was a study done by Brazilian scientists that I mentioned above. They gathered 16 men experienced in strength training and split them into two groups.

Both groups did bench press. They did 4 sets of 8 reps at 70% of their 1-rep maximum.

The first group did 8 reps in the ‘standard’ style where it took them around a second to lower the weight down.

The second group also did 8 reps, but it took them 3 seconds to lower the weight, instead of 1. They lowered the weight much more slowly and with more control.

The Brazilian scientists measured GH and lactic acid levels in both groups of men prior, during, and half an hour after the workout.

Here’s what they found;

Both human growth hormone and lactate levels were higher in men who did 3-second eccentric reps (slower). But, after 15 minutes, they tested their GH levels again, and found they were 17 times higher than in the first group of lifters who did fast reps. [20]

The study concluded [20];

Slow velocity eccentric muscle actions influence acute responses after bench press exercise performed by resistancetrained men, resulting in a greater metabolic stress and hormone response. These results suggest that slow eccentric bench press exercise prescribed by a specific muscular strength test (1RMecc) is an effective way to induce a significantly greater GH release.” NCBI

And here’s a chart from the study showing human growth hormone levels in both groups;

human growth hormone levels chart
SEV= Slow Eccentric Velocity Group | FEV= Fast Eccentric Velocity Group

What This Means For You

One thing to conclude for the study above, is that doing slow and controlled negative movements leads to a huge growth hormone response.

If you’re still skeptical about this, despite the evidence, here’s my suggestion for you…

Try doing 2-6 week workout phases where you train with 3-second eccentric (negative) movements. Or maybe even slower. Try it for yourself and see if it gives you any significant muscle gains.

The fun part is; you can choose to do this method for any body part. Legs, chest, back, arms, shoulders, whatever it is that you need to grow.

This is actually an effective way of bringing out your weaker body parts. If you have stubborn calves, why not try this method and see if it improves your muscle gains over the course of several weeks.

Also, try doing slow and controlled exercises (3 or more seconds) during your entire workout. And see if these hormone boosting effects can be stacked up.

Whatever you choose, it’s a method worth trying. That is, if you’re looking to boost your HGH and muscle gains.


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Key point: Slow eccentric (negative) reps cause a 7-times higher growth hormone spike than fast reps. Aim for your negative reps to last at least 3 seconds for maximum benefits on your GH levels.

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man on a bike during a sunset

Other Leg Exercises That Boost T and HGH

Okay, so far we know that squats are among the top exercises you could do for improving your male hormone.

But there are more exercises that are just as impressive at raising your anabolic hormones as squats. These include:

Sprints

Yes, running does increase testosterone. But not the type of running you’re thinking of.

You see, there are generally two most common types of running – marathons and sprinting. Only one of these will boost your T and HGH.

Can you guess which one it is?

Surprise, surprise… it’s sprinting!

That’s correct, short but intense bouts of running are much more effective at supercharging your anabolic hormones that long distance running. [30, 31, 32]

Long distance marathons will, in fact, rob you of your testosterone. That’s correct, these types of runs might be beneficial for your stamina, but they aren’t that friendly to your male hormone. [33]

This is because when you run for long distances, your body is in a prolonged state of stress. This screams cortisol and overtraining.

Again, cortisol is good for you in small amounts. But when it becomes chronic, that’s when it starts wasting your testosterone and muscle mass, since it’s a catabolic hormone. [33]

Sprints, on the other hand, actually raise your testosterone and HGH. We’re talking about an extremely intense type of running here.

With sprints, you’re putting your body under extreme pressure for a short period of time. Typically 20-30 seconds per sprint.

This produces a huge metabolic and hormonal response from your body. Meaning, it doesn’t only ramp up your testosterone and human growth hormone – but metabolism too. This, in turn, promotes faster weight loss. [34, 35, 36]

You could say you have ‘killed two birds with one stone’ here.


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Key point: Sprints are one of the most effective ways of boosting your testosterone and growth hormone. Long-distance running, on the other hand, lowers anabolic hormones and is muscle-wasting.

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Deadlifts

If there’s only one exercise I could do for the rest of my life, it would be the deadlift.

In terms of muscle building and raw intensity, deadlifts stand shoulder to shoulder with squats. And any other exercise for that matter.

This exercise has a tremendous impact on your musculoskeletal and hormonal system. If you perform it right, you can expect some massive testosterone and HGH gains.

That’s correct; heavy deadlifting is shown to increase anabolic hormones in men, resulting in an improved muscle protein synthesis. [37]

So if you’re looking to get jacked quickly, what better way to do it than incorporating some deadlifts into your routine.


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Key point: Deadlifts stand shoulder to shoulder with squats and sprints when it comes to boosting testosterone and human growth hormone.

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Bent Over Rows

It’s funny how the exercises we hate the most are usually the ones that bring us the greatest benefits.

Such is the case with bent over rows. To many, an exercise that they try to avoid.

Bent over rows work your whole body; from lats, legs, lower back, rhomboids, biceps, delts, to the core. You name it.

This puts a gigantic amount of pressure on your body. And as I’ve discussed, such high-intensity exercises yield a hormonal response from the body – increasing testosterone and HGH secretion. [38]


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Key point: Bent over rows work on almost every muscle in your body, and produce a massive anabolic response.

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Can You Train Too Much?

After reading all of this, you may get hyped to hit it hard in the gym.

And while intense workouts clearly have their benefits, constant hard training without proper rest leads to loss of testosterone and muscle mass.

Call it overtraining, or however else you want, but it’s no myth.

Studies show that too much exercise can backfire, especially when you don’t allow your body to rest and catch up with your demands.

Low testosterone levels, poor recovery, flat muscles, low sex drive, and weak erections are just some of the symptoms of overtraining. [21]

Let’s look more in-depth at why this happens, and the exact process behind overtraining.

Curious how testosterone works? See our Testosterone Guide Here.

Three Ways in Which Overtraining Affects Your Testosterone

#1 Cortisol Drains Your T Reserves

First and foremost, cortisol is a stress hormone. The body produces it when it’s under pressure. [22]

Many people paint cortisol as it’s some sort of devil. But the truth is, we need it in small amounts. Cortisol helps us wake up and get going.

The problem happens when you’re chronically stressed, and thus over-flown with cortisol. And this is a common sight in today’s hectic and fast-paced world. [23]

There are two types of stress – emotional and physical. If you’re under constant emotional stress, that causes your body to produce extra cortisol; resulting in hormone disbalance (weak testosterone and high estrogen). That’s why some men who are always stressed develop so-called man boobs. [24, 25]

Okay, so what does all of this have to do with overtraining?

Well, when you train too hard, you’re literally putting your body in a stressed state. And while that’s normally not an issue, constant hard training with little recovery leads to chronic stress.

Couple that with the everyday emotional stress, and all of your hard work in the gym actually backfires. Crashing your testosterone levels down, weakening your libido, and making you feel awful. [26, 27]

Cortisol literally eats away your muscle mass. And it drains your testosterone reserves. To avoid this, consider taking at least 2 rest days every week. This will help your body catch up with your hard workouts.

a man looking stressed

#2 Accumulation of Fat Around the Organs

As you’ve seen from the above, cortisol wreaks havoc on your testosterone. But there are even more problems linked to this stress hormone.

You see, cortisol is responsible for activating the hormone Adamts1. This hormone then creates fat beneath your skin and organs. [28]

This might have been useful for our ancestors, who needed to store extra energy during dangerous and stressful situations. But it’s not useful to a modern man who’s constantly bombarded with stress.

Read carefully; when you have too much cortisol, your body will start producing huge amounts of Adamts1 hormone. Leading to fat storage in your skin and organs.

Needless to say, this won’t just give you additional pounds but will also deteriorate your overall health. Fat around the heart and arteries can lead to a disaster.

#3 Muscle Wastage

When you’re doing those squats, you’re actually tearing your muscle fibers down.

It’s when you sleep that these fibers repair and grow stronger for the next squat session.

However, if you constantly train heavy, or don’t sleep enough, or both, you’re causing more damage than your body can repair.

That’s correct – by training too hard too often, you’re putting your body in a constant catabolic state, where it eats its own muscle tissue to keep up with your energy demands. [29]

This ironically leads to muscle loss, even though you were training hard hoping for the opposite!

Not only that, but since you’re in a constant catabolic state, your testosterone can’t survive as it’s an anabolic hormone.


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Key point: Your body produces cortisol (the stress hormone) during hard workouts. This isn’t an issue, unless you keep training hard without letting your body recover. In which case, excess cortisol floods your system, causing low T levels, fat gain, and muscle wastage.

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How Can You Further Improve Your Testosterone Levels

Sleep

There’s no denying the importance of sleep. When you hit the sack, your body starts producing growth hormone. In fact, the biggest growth hormone spurts happen while you sleep!

However, while sleep is important for your average Joe, it’s even more important for weightlifters. That’s because our muscles repair while we sleep.

If you train hard and don’t get enough sleep, your body won’t be able to repair your muscles and make them grow stronger for the next workout.

Without enough rest, you’ll enter into a catabolic state where you become lethargic and weak. A lack of sleep has even been linked with a decrease in testosterone and GH.

Studies have shown that just 1 week of insufficient sleep decreases T levels by 15%. And this number gets bigger the less you sleep. [39]

I’ll go as far as to say that sleep is more important than anything on this list. If you don’t have your sleep covered, you can squat as much as you want, but you won’t be seeing any testosterone gains.

So if there’s only one thing you get from this article, it should be that you need to sleep at least 8 hours every night. Preferably in a dark room with no noise.

Diet

“You are what you eat.” It’s a cliché saying, but couldn’t be more true.

The foods you put in your body don’t just govern how you’ll look and feel. They also impact your hormones big time.

Research has linked high-sugar diets with low testosterone levels. Not only that, but if you eat too many refined carbs, you could develop diabetes and heart disease. [40, 41]

And you know what else happens when you stuff yourself with sweets? You grow man boobs. [42]

This happens due to the fact that sugars cause a disbalance in hormones; promoting estrogen production while suppressing testosterone. [43, 44]

Sugar-rich diet basically turns a man into a woman.

Instead, what you want to do is eat plenty of green vegetables, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Along with lean proteins (fish, grass-fed meat, pasture raised eggs) and complex carbs to keep your health and hormones in harmony.

You might also want to include some healthy fats in your diet. Such as avocados, olive oil, nuts & seeds. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, are a well-known aphrodisiac that improves man’s health.

Many of these foods are rich in magnesium and zinc. Maintaining optimal levels of these minerals is key for keeping your testosterone high. [45, 46]

Men’s health-boosting foods include [47]:

Oysters

Zinc is a mineral that regulates testosterone production. Since not many foods contain optimal amounts of zinc, and since we lose Zn through sweat, a deficiency in this mineral is fairly common.

Men who have low T can experience massive benefits from taking zinc.

Oysters are one of the richest sources of zinc; just one serving contains up to 1000% of your daily intake of Zn. If you don’t like eating oysters, try oyster extract. It’s an extracted and dried oyster meat preserved in a capsule.

Grass-Fed Beef

Beef that comes from grass-fed cows is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. It’s a natural B-complex and zinc source, nutrients which are building blocks for testosterone.

Beef liver is also an awesome food for raising your male hormone. It contains high amounts of vitamin D, one of the most potent testosterone regulators.

However, make sure not to over-do it with the red meat. Some studies show that it can cause cancer and other health problems, due to the high amounts of fat in it. Especially the kind of beef you find at a supermarket; avoid those at all costs and choose grass-fed, organic beef instead.

Pasture-Raised Eggs 

The myth that egg yolks are bad for you because they contain cholesterol is just that; a myth.

See, organic eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, if not THE most nutritious.

They contain a good kind of cholesterol which is essential for the production of testosterone.

Related: Most Effective Testosterone Enhancers Guide

boiled egg on an avocado toast

Supplements

Got your basis covered? Sleeping well, training hard, eating a clean diet?

If the answer is yes, you can further improve your testosterone with natural herbs and nutrients.

Some of these ingredients have been shown to reduce cortisol by up to 35%, along with improving anabolic hormone production.

Here are some of them;

Korean Red Ginseng (AKA Panax Ginseng)

Call it however you want; Korean Red Ginseng, Asian Ginseng, or Panax Ginseng. The fact is, this short plant offers a wide spectrum of benefits to men – from improved sex drive to healthy testosterone production. [48, 49]

Ginseng root is the most beneficial part of the plant. It contains several bioactive compounds which directly raise T levels in men.

Studies have shown that Ginseng’s main compounds increase testosterone and luteinizing hormone production.

Luteinizing hormone signals to your testes that it’s time to spurt out some extra testosterone. As a result, both your total and free T levels increase.

Not only that, but research shows that ginseng also boosts fertility in men; improving sperm quality.

When you consider that ginseng also boosts the immune system, helps you lose weight, offers protection against stress and anxiety, and is anti-cancer, there’s no wonder why it’s dubbed as “the king of all herbs.” [50, 51, 52, 53]


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Key point: Korean Red Ginseng increases the production of luteinizing hormone, which signals the testes to spurt out more T. Ginseng also reduces blood sugar levels, which indirectly enhances testosterone. That’s because high blood sugar is known to cause T levels to crash.

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Oyster Extract

Oysters are a well-known aphrodisiac and men’s libido booster. But what’s less known, is that oysters also improve testosterone production.

This is due to the fact that they contain a high dose of zinc and B vitamins, nutrients that are building blocks for your testosterone. [54]

Not only that, but zinc is essential for keeping a strong immune system; helping you fight off pathogens.

Benefits of oysters include [55, 56, 57]:

  • Stronger Libido
  • Higher Testosterone Levels
  • Enhanced Vitality
  • Improved immune system

However, not everyone likes to eat oysters. Even if you do, they aren’t something you’ll be gulping daily. They are also expensive.

Another way of reaping their benefits is to take an oyster extract. This is dried oyster meat with all of its nutrients preserved in a capsule.

Not only is this more cost effective but it also doesn’t require you to actually eat oysters. Which is great for people who don’t like their taste.


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Key point: Oysters are a nutrient powerhouse. They are packed full of zinc, iron, and B vitamins. These nutrients not only promote T production but also enhance the immune system and overall health. Oyster extract is dried oyster meat with all of its benefits preserved in a capsule.

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Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic herb.

It’s not only beneficial to your libido, testosterone, and muscle mass. It also improves your mood, lifespan, resilience against stress, fights off pathogens, and eliminates cancer cells from the body. [58, 59, 60, 61, 62]

It’s one of the most effective herbs when it comes to reducing cortisol. Some studies show that Ashwagandha has the power to significantly diminish the stress hormone – reducing it by up to 35%.

In an environment where cortisol levels are low, testosterone is able to thrive. Thanks to ashwagandha, this becomes a real scenario.

Ashwagandha also boosts your testosterone directly. It does this by stimulating your testes to produce higher levels of the male hormone, along with promoting pituitary gland activity. The pituitary gland plays a role in the secretion of testosterone and growth hormone.

The full list of benefits of ashwagandha is out of the scope of this article. If you want to know more about this ancient herb, check my in-depth article here; How Ashwagandha Benefits Men’s Health


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Key point: Studies have linked Ashwagandha with a myriad of benefits. From raising testosterone levels, improving the immune system, to reducing cortisol and anxiety by 35%.

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Vitamin D

Ah yes, the sunshine vitamin. Or should I say, a hormone…

You see, vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone. But for historical reasons, it’s called a vitamin.

This nutrient is found in almost every cell receptor in your body, and regulates countless functions. Including testosterone production. [63, 64]

Research shows that men who are deficient in vitamin D have low testosterone. Not only that, but their cognitive health suffers, their immune system is weak, and they might even lose interest in women due to a weak libido. [65, 66]

There are three main ways you can get vitamin D: from the sun, food, or supplements.

The sun is the best source of this steroid hormone. With the help of some cholesterol, our skin synthesizes it when under direct exposure to sunlight.

However, not a lot of people go out in the sun these days. As a result, vitamin D deficiency has become a global epidemic. [67]

Unfortunately, not many foods contain optimal quantities of this testosterone-boosting nutrient.

Fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified milk all contain vitamin D. But you’d have to consume large quantities of these foods every day to meet the vitamin D requirement.

If you can’t get 20 minutes of direct sun exposure every day, another option is to get a vitamin D supplement. It provides all of the benefits of this nutrient and is more convenient.


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Key point: Vitamin D plays a key role in countless enzymatic functions. You’ve guessed it, this includes testosterone production. A lack of this nutrient leads to crashing T levels, weak libido, and poor immune system.

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Other Natural Testosterone Enhancers:

Herbs with alternative medicine herbal supplements and pills

Stress Reduction

We all know stress isn’t good for us. The health implications of being stressed all the time are grave; leading to plummeting testosterone, weak immune system, poor overall health, and even premature death.

This happens mainly because of cortisol, the king of all stress hormones. While it’s beneficial to us in small amounts, a constant influx of cortisol leads to health wreckage on many levels.

With this in mind, here are the most effective ways of dealing with stress [68];

  • Take long walks – When you’re constantly stressed, your adrenals have to work overtime to produce more and more cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones. By taking long walks, not only do you reduce your stress levels but also nourish the adrenals.
  • Meditate – More and more people have integrated a meditation practice into their daily routine. The fact is, the benefits of sitting 10 minutes per day and doing nothing are huge. Lower cortisol levels, feelings of peace and calm, mental clarity, and mood boost are only some of them. By reducing cortisol, meditation can even raise your testosterone levels too!
  • Do Yoga – Doing just 10-20 minutes of yoga per day is shown to nourish both the mind, and the body.
  • Take Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is one of the most potent anti-stress herbs on the planet. Studies show it can reduce cortisol by up to 35%!
  • Cut Back on Caffeine – When caffeine enters your body, it starts to stimulate cortisol production. I’m sure you know by now what the health consequences of too much cortisol are.
  • Take a Few Deep Breaths – Just try it. Do this the next time you feel stressed. 3-5 seconds inhale, hold it for 1-2 seconds, and then exhale for 4-6 seconds (longer than the inhale). You’ll feel refreshed immediately afterwards.

man sitting on a cliff during a sunset

Sample Leg Day Workout

Not sure which leg workout plan is the most effective for raising your T levels?

No worries – we’ve got you covered!

Here’s a basic leg workout routine you can do today to boost up your anabolic hormones;

  • Barbell Squats – 3 sets of warm up with light weights, followed by 4 working sets of 4-6 reps. Concentrate on slow eccentric (negative) movements for maximum T and HGH release.
  • Leg Press – 3 sets of 12-15 reps. Do the exercise in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Lunges – 4 sets of 10-12 reps with each leg.
  • Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 16-20 reps. Go down slowly (3 seconds+)!
  • Seated Calf Raises –  4 sets of 12 reps.

Alternatively, you can switch between squats and deadlifts every two weeks. This helps prevent your body from adapting to your workouts; ensuring continual results.

a man doing lunges

Sample Testosterone Meal Plan

Combine this meal plan with the leg routine from the above for a maximum impact on your testosterone and growth hormone;

Breakfast

  • 4 large, pasture-raised whole eggs
  • Avocado
  • Oatmeal

Morning Snack

  • 4-8 oz. container low-fat yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • A handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.)

Lunch

  • 4 oz. chicken breast
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1/2 avocado

Pre-workout Snack

  • 1 scoop protein powder in water (alternatively, drink some liquid egg whites)
  • 2 slices white bread (high glycemic index, ideal for raising energy levels before a workout)
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter (healthy fats for additional energy support)

Post-workout Snack

  • 1 scoop protein powder in water (alternatively, drink some liquid egg whites)
  • A piece of fruit (Bananas, Apples, Berries, etc.)

Dinner

  • 6 oz. beef steak
  • Sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup cooked cauliflower

Pre-Bed Snack

  • 4-8 oz. cottage cheese
  • Oatmeal
  • 1 oz. mixed nuts

Conclusion

There you have it guys, that’s my wrap-up of the article “Does working out legs build testosterone?”.

In case you missed anything, here’s a quick recap;

Yes, doing squats will increase your anabolic hormone levels. This includes testosterone and HGH (Human Growth Hormone).

Studies show that squats not only improve T secretion, they also ramp up growth hormone release by up to 1700%. With increased levels of these hormones, you’ll find it much easier to pack on muscle mass.

Since legs and glutes are our largest muscle groups, they also spend a lot of calories when you train them. This induces a metabolic response from the body, helping you burn fat faster.

Other forms of exercise that boost up testosterone include sprinting, deadlifts, and bent over rows.

No matter which exercise you do, training hard will improve your health as a man. Just make sure not to overdo it, because training constantly without rest can actually cause more harm than good. Research shows that constant hard training actually diminishes your testosterone and muscle mass.

When you train too hard, you’re putting your body in a chronically stressed state, where it’s flooded with cortisol. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone, and as such, it eats away your muscle mass and wrecks your testosterone. Also, when you’re stressed, your libido gets weak and you lose interest in women.

That’s why it’s important to take a break from training a couple of times per week to let your body recover. Remember that you can train hard as long as you take rest days and recovery protocols.

How you can further improve your testosterone and HGH levels;

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
  • Eat a diet that’s packed with lean proteins, good fats, and minerals such as magnesium and zinc which promote testosterone production. Best sources of zinc include oysters, beef liver, and pumpkin seeds. Also, avoid sugars; they wreck your testosterone and cause excess estrogen production.
  • Minimize stress through relaxation and breathing techniques. Such as meditation, yoga, long walks, taking deep breaths with a long exhale, etc.
  • Taking natural herbs and nutrients that elevate testosterone production. These include ashwagandha (lowers cortisol by 35%), vitamin D, fenugreek, Korean red ginseng, and oyster extract (rich in zinc).

And that would be our wrap-up. Any more questions, be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Next up: A Guide on Natural Testosterone Enhancers

References for the article: Does Working Out Legs Build Testosterone?

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