Resistance Training and Testosterone: 40% Higher Testosterone and -24% Lower Cortisol
As a frequent AM reader you are more than likely already aware that resistance training is a great tool in increasing testosterone levels.
However, there’s always a group of people who claim that weight lifting and testosterone levels are minimally associated. They think that any increase in testosterone and/or reductions in the stress hormone cortisol, would be short-lived, and that exercise wouldn’t change your resting levels of the hormones by any significance.
It’s normal to assume that, since in many weight lifting testosterone studies, the effects are usually monitored for a day or two, and in these kinds of studies there’s usually an increase or decrease in testosterone (depending bit on the type of exercise and subjects), and then after sometime the levels fall back close to the baseline…
…So no matter how much you train, your hormonal baseline stays put, and the exercise induced hormonal changes are just acute, right?
Well, that’s a big no – at least if you ask the Spanish researchers, who found out that in newbie trainees, 4 weeks of strength training results in a significant 40% boost in RESTING testosterone, and -24% drop in RESTING cortisol.
Weight Lifting Testosterone Benefits: 40% More T in 4 Weeks
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
- 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).
After a month with the program above, the results speak for themselves: 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 primary stress hormone). It is quite clear that weight lifting increases testosterone.
If you want a full weight lifting testosterone book about specific training info on how to maximize the exercise induced testosterone response and long-term hormonal adaptations, check out the THOR Testosterone Training Program by Chris Walker.