Push-ups are a type of exercise that can potentially increase testosterone levels in the body. The number of push-ups you need to do to increase testosterone levels will depend on a number of factors such as your body composition and age.
Rather than being a short-term boost, you’ll most likely have to perform plenty of repetitions and continue exercising regularly to feel a change – as well as incorporate other exercises into your workouts too.
Whether you are new to exercise or want something different to add to your workout, this article will provide relevant information and cover the following points:
- How testosterone works in the body
- The effects of exercise on testosterone levels
- Whether push-ups have been shown to increase testosterone levels
- Other ways to increase testosterone in your body.
Let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
How Does Testosterone Work?
Testosterone is an anabolic hormone that sends chemical messages through the bloodstream in the body. Testosterone regulates libido, otherwise more commonly known as sex drive. It also assists in other areas such as:
- Bone mass
- Muscle mass
- Fat distribution
- Red blood cell production
- Sperm production
- Aerobic metabolism.
The creation of testosterone in the body starts with the pituitary gland at the base of the brain.
This gland basically has control over a number of bodily functions and tells other glands what to do. The pituitary gland sends a signal to the testes to produce testosterone.
The level of testosterone in the blood is closely monitored through a feedback loop where the hormone is regulated by the pituitary gland to maintain balance.
Testosterone is not just a sex hormone, but also a key to the development of young males in puberty.
Changes like the deepening of the voice, facial hair, and maturing of genitals are all linked to testosterone production within the body. Teenage boys with lower levels of testosterone may take longer to go through puberty, and vice versa.
There are many benefits of optimal testosterone levels. These include increased heart and blood health, less fat, increased muscle mass, stronger bones, improved and balanced libido, improved mood, and higher energy levels.
An interesting part of the testosterone cycle is its links to the hormone estradiol. Estradiol is a form of estrogen that occurs in males when a small part of testosterone is converted to estradiol.
This is a normal process that occurs when testosterone is broken down through an enzyme called aromatase. Estradiol is a byproduct of this reaction.
Unknown to most people, estradiol is important in males for a number of healthy bodily functions as it is the balancing hormone against testosterone.
Usually, low levels of testosterone also correlate to low levels of estradiol – both of which can have a negative impact on health and well-being.
Testosterone is not just reserved for men; females also produce this hormone! Testosterone in women is produced in the ovaries and adrenal gland of the body. It is important in females for bone strength, ovarian function, and balancing libido.
Does Exercise Affect Testosterone Levels?
The short answer is yes. Exercise such as push-ups can affect testosterone levels positively.
Studies suggest engaging in heavy-resistance exercises, like 20 sets of maximum effort, and following protocols such as 5 sets of 15 reps at 55% intensity or 3 sets of 5 reps at 85% intensity, can increase testosterone levels in the body. (Ref study 1, ref study 2)
Generally, the hormone spikes after exercise, but only for a short period of time – lasting 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the person.
Research suggests that someone who is on the borderline of normal and low testosterone is more likely to feel a change through exercise compared to someone who has low testosterone levels, so that is something to keep in mind.
The increase after exercise is affected by a range of factors which will be discussed below.
Fitness level will have an effect on testosterone increase post-exercise. People who are not very fit will have a bigger spike after exercise compared to someone who is quite active.
However, the fitter someone becomes, the more the body will get used to exercise and the less testosterone it will produce after exercise.
Testosterone peaks at certain times of the day. Levels are highest in the morning and lowest in the afternoon.
As such, exercise in the evening will produce a higher increase in testosterone post-workout as levels start lower.
The type of exercise an individual does also affects testosterone increase. With any type of exercise, you have to keep with it regularly to notice any differences. However, there are some styles that will produce a higher increase in testosterone.
The two main types of exercise that are best to affect testosterone levels are heavy strength training and endurance/cardio training. Cardio burns fat, while strength training boosts metabolism and develops lean muscle fat.
Out of the two, strength training will provide a bigger testosterone boost post-exercise.
Strength training includes compound movements such as push-ups and squats which target big muscle groups, where a lot of muscle mass is needed to complete the movement.
Doing repetitions of these compound movements is a great way to increase testosterone levels post-exercise, and push-ups can theoretically be considered compound movements as well.
This is because push-ups target multiple muscles such as the anterior deltoids, glutes, pectoralis major, triceps, lower back muscles, and core muscles.
Other Ways To Increase Testosterone Levels
While testosterone levels can be increased through types of exercise, it is important not to rely solely on this.
There are a lot of other ways to help with increasing testosterone levels that can be very beneficial when used together.
The following bullet points will discuss other options to increase testosterone levels in the body.
- Recovery is very important when exercising. Make sure not to go overboard when training as you will likely burn yourself out!
If your body does not recover, you may experience symptoms similar to those of low testosterone levels: fatigue, reduced erectile function, reduced libido, problems sleeping, and more.
- Sleep is another factor that affects testosterone. Less than 5 hours of sleep is linked to decreases in testosterone, so make sure to get 8 hours of solid sleep in order to help maintain optimal testosterone levels.
- Managing stress can have an impact on testosterone. The hormone cortisol increases when you are stressed, and as a result of the increased cortisol, testosterone decreases. The more stress you reduce, the lower your cortisol levels will be.
- Nutrition is important for testosterone levels. Eating lean protein like fish, healthy fats like avocado and nuts, fresh vegetables, and whole grains will boost not only how you feel but your testosterone levels.
Try to avoid processed foods, saturated fats, and refined sugars; these are not conducive to high testosterone levels. Some foods are specifically testosterone-boosting, such as ginger, pomegranate, egg yolks, and more.
- Taking supplements to add to your health is not a bad idea either if you cannot get certain vitamins from your diet! Magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K are beneficial supplements to add to your routine. Also research suggests that testosterone supplementation combined with resistance training can improve muscle strength and lean body mass in men with COPD and low testosterone levels.
Which exercise increases testosterone most?
Strength training is proven to increase testosterone the most compared to any other type of exercise.
Do 100 push-ups increase testosterone?
To get the most out of your push-ups, try to do set repetitions like 10 push-ups every minute for 10 minutes. You will gain a bigger increase in testosterone than just doing 100 push-ups in total.
Is high testosterone good for the gym?
Testosterone helps to build muscle, so having a higher testosterone can help to maximize the output of your time at the gym.
Testosterone increase is not something that will occur just by going out and doing 100 push-ups on a limb!
Regular strength and cardio workouts that target the major muscle groups and increased repetitions will have a bigger impact on your post-exercise testosterone levels.
Some other things to help increase testosterone levels are sleep, lowering stress, a healthy diet, certain vitamins and supplements, and a good recovery plan.