Increasing testosterone level is one of the crucial elements for getting better results from lifting. High levels of testosterone mean higher amounts of muscle can be built and maintained. High testosterone is also correlated with overall wellbeing, success, happiness, and health.
For these reasons it is advantageous to maximize your natural testosterone. There are multiple ways to do this but an easy way when lifting is just to do these 5 exercises. Testosterone levels increase in response to resistance training. Heavier weights being lifted have been shown to cause higher amounts of testosterone to be released in response.
The best way to increase testosterone by lifting weights is through progressive overload and movements that activate large muscle groups. By activating the large muscle groups such as back and legs, more muscle fibers are recruited leading to a larger hormonal response.
Also, higher amounts of muscle mass cause testosterone to be higher. Building muscle and decreasing fat has been shown to raise testosterone levels so all these compound lifts with have a twofold postive impact on hormones.
The 5 best compound movements for high testosterone are squats, deadlifts, incline bench press, bent over rows, and dumbbell shoulder presses.
The squat is the best compound movement for high testosterone due to the large amount of muscle that needs to be activated to complete the movement. To perform squats, you need to use your quads, glutes, hamstrings, back, and core in unison for a controlled lift of the weight.
Also, squats require you to support heavy weights on your back, which has been shown to increase testosterone.
The key to doing a squat effectively is to keep you chin up, chest out, and eyes forward slightly raised so that injury is avoided and all the muscles are stimulated optimally. Check out this video for a visual walkthrough on the right form.
This study found that doing squats increased testosterone levels more than simply machine leg presses proving that higher amounts of muscle are activated during squats. This study showed that squats also increased levels of HGH (human growth hormone) after being done.
The second compound movement for high testosterone following squats is the deadlift. Like squats, the deadlift activates large amounts of muscle fibers simultaneously.
The muscles worked in the deadlift are the back, traps, biceps, forearms, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. All of these muscle groups are needed to perform a deadlift with good form and control.
It is key to do deadlifts with good form so you don’t injure your back and over stress your joints. To do deadlifts, lift the barbell with your chest up, eyes raised, and back straight. Make sure your back doesn’t curve when lifting the weight as that can result in pulling a ligament or damaging your spine. For a visual of deadlifting form, this video provides a demonstration.
Deadlifts are great for building up the forearms and also recruit a large amount of muscle fibers in the back, resulting in an increase in testosterone following the movement. If you don’t have a barbell, deadlifts can be done with resistance bands as well as long you focus on control and both the concentric and eccentric portions of the movement.
3. Incline Bench Press
The next compound movement on the list is the incline bench press. The incline bench press has a few advantages over the flat bench. One of these is that it’s easier on the rotator cuff over time, making it less likely to result in injury and more sustainable to continue bench pressing in the long term. Another advantage is that while incline bench hits both upper and middle chest, flat bench mainly only hit middle chest and does not activate the upper chest at all.
Also, incline bench press recruits shoulders more, meaning more overall muscle fibers are being recruited and the hormonal response will be higher.
Incline bench press works the chest, shoulders, and triceps. For incline bench press, keep your elbows flared and your grip wide to achieve optimal activation of the muscles used without affecting the tendons of the shoulder negatively. This video shows in depth how to perform the exercise.
4. Bent Over Row
Next after incline bench press is the bent over row. The bent over row is great for high testosterone because it recruits the rear delts, traps, forearms, biceps, back, and core.
Bent over rows are one of the best compound movements for building back overall and a make a great staple in the pull routine of any weightlifter.
For bent over rows, do the movement by using a barbell and keeping your back straight. Make sure you contract your upper back fully at the top of the movement and that the weight isn’t too heavy for you to be able to control it. This video gives a visual on the form as well.
5. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Finally, the dumbbell shoulder press is another very effective way to increase testosterone by activating large amounts of muscle.
The dumbbell shoulder press works the shoulder, core, triceps, and a little of the upper chest. The main benefit to doing shoulder presses is that it works the entire deltoid which is a very dense muscle and will elicit a substantial hormonal response.
To do shoulder presses, use a pair of dumbbells and brace your back by using an incline bench. Keeping your back straight, lift the dumbbells above your head and control it back down. For a visual on this movement check out this video.
All these movements will increase testosterone and build muscle. Compound movements are able to hit multiple muscles at once, boost testosterone, boost growth hormone, and build muscle effectively. This makes them very efficient at achieving your fitness goals and is why they are the foundation of many strength programs and weightlifting routines.
Other good compound movements for high testosterone are flat bench press, overhead press, lunges, lat pull-downs, front squats, and pull-ups.