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Does Lifting Weights Increase Testosterone Levels: Comparing Gym Machines vs. Free Weights.

Discover effective exercises to increase testosterone, featuring HIIT, strength training, and more. We will help you answer the following questions:

  • What is the best gym exercise to boost testosterone?

  • Does working out raise testosterone?

  • Which is better for raising testosterone levels: free weights or gym machines?

  • Does CrossFit and HIIT exercise raise testosterone levels in men?

Dose lifting weight raise testosterone levels. The best gym exercises to raise testosterone

Knowing how testosterone functions in your body and your workout program is essential as you start your fitness journey. Testosterone, which is essential for fat reduction, muscle building, and overall health, is highly impacted by the type of exercise you do. There is a long-standing controversy in the world of gym workouts: is it better to use free weights or gym equipment to increase testosterone levels? This article explores this subject in detail.

Does lifting weights increase testosterone?

The answer to this question isn't a simple yes or no. The type of exercise you choose plays a significant role, as does the intensity of your workout. Demographic variations (age, body composition, and fitness levels) also influence how your body responds to exercise in terms of testosterone production, as younger individuals may experience more substantial hormonal changes compared to older adults. Additionally, the timing of when you measure testosterone levels can yield different results, as levels typically peak immediately after exercise and can vary throughout the day. [1]

Does Running or lifting heavy weights raise testosterone—which is better?

Resistance exercises involve the voluntary contraction of muscles against external resistance, which can come from lifting weights, resistance bands, or even your body weight; these include activities like weight lifting, push-ups, and particularly squats. Endurance or aerobic activities, on the other hand, often referred to as aerobic exercises, include exercises like running and cycling that increase your heart and breathing rates. [1]

This leads to the question: Do squats increase testosterone? Does running boost testosterone? A study has found that men who regularly engage in resistance training experience significantly higher increases in testosterone levels. This effect is partly because resistance exercises, especially those involving large muscle groups (like the legs and back), stimulate a greater hormonal response. This means that exercises such as squats and deadlifts, which engage multiple large muscle groups, can lead to a more substantial increase in testosterone compared to exercises that target smaller muscle groups.

Moreover, the order in which you perform these exercises matters. Normal-weight individuals exhibited a more pronounced increase in testosterone when following a workout routine that began with large muscle group exercises and ended with exercises targeting smaller muscle groups (like bicep curls or calf raises). [2]

Free weight or machines to raise testosterone, what is better?

If you aim to raise testosterone in the gym, the decision between using free weights or machines becomes crucial. Free weights include equipment like dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and weight plates, all of which are not attached to any apparatus or machine. This means that you have a wide range of motion and can move them in any direction. Machines, on the other hand, include various types of equipment like leg press machines, chest press machines, or cable machines that are designed to target specific muscle groups with controlled, guided movements.

A pivotal study by Schwanbeck and colleagues provides valuable insights, especially if you're focused on lifting weights to increase testosterone. This research compared the effects of training with free weights versus machines over an 8-week period on a group of 46 participants, split between men and women. These individuals either trained with free weights or machines, targeting various muscle groups 2–3 times per week and performing 3–4 sets of 4–10 repetitions in each session.

While both free weights and machines effectively increased muscle thickness and strength, men in the free-weight group experienced a more significant post-exercise increase in free testosterone levels, as much as 25% higher than those training with machines. However, this enhanced testosterone response was not observed in women, indicating gender-specific reactions to different training methods. [3]

HIIT and testosterone response. The best testosterone-boosting workout.

If you're a middle-aged man, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be a key factor in boosting your testosterone levels. HIIT, with its bursts of intense activity followed by rest, has been proven effective in elevating testosterone, as demonstrated by the EPIC study, which showed that men engaging in over three hours of physical activity per week had significantly higher testosterone levels compared to less active individuals.

As we know, the hormonal response to exercise is also influenced by the intensity and type of training. Variable-intensity training sessions were found to increase the testosterone to cortisol (T/C) ratio by more than 33% in older men, suggesting that a varied workout intensity, typical in HIIT, is beneficial for hormonal balance. Furthermore, HIIT's mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercises contributes to this effect, with intermittent exercise sessions showing higher T/C ratios compared to continuous aerobic exercises. This balanced approach offered by HIIT not only enhances testosterone levels but also contributes to overall improved physical health and capacity, making it the best kind of

exercise to increase testosterone levels. [4]

The perfect testosterone-boosting gym routine

For men aged 35–40 pondering what is the best routine in the gym to raise testosterone, an 8-week HIIT program, as highlighted in a recent study by Ambroży and colleagues, offers a compelling answer. This program requires a commitment to three one-hour sessions per week, focusing on HIIT followed by strength circuits. [5]

Warm-up (10–15 minutes):

  • Focus on light exercises with minimal resistance.

  • Include dynamic stretches to prepare the body for intense activity.

HIIT session (2:1 work-to-rest ratio):

  • Perform each exercise for 60 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.

  • Circuit exercises:

    • Dumbbell push-ups with alternating pulls

    • Squats holding a dumbbell at chest height

    • Standing kettlebell side bends

    • Leg-switch jumps from a forward lunge position

    • Standing dumbbell presses

    • Half-squats with a dumbbell between your legs

    • Weighted sit-ups with a dumbbell

    • Dumbbell rows

    • Standard push-ups

    • Reverse lunges with dumbbells

Kettlebell strength circuit:

  • Perform 3 to 5 circuits per session.

  • Rest for 1 to 2 minutes between circuits.

  • Each exercise has 25 repetitions.

  • Circuit exercises:

    • Kettlebell swings

    • Standing one-handed kettlebell presses

    • Squats with a kettlebell in front

    • Kettlebell cleans

    • Kettlebell snatches

Cool-down (6 minutes):

  • End each session with stretching exercises to enhance flexibility and aid recovery.

This approach can serve as either an alternative or adjunct to medications for increasing testosterone levels in adult men. Not only that, it also improves muscle strength and the anabolic-catabolic balance, thereby enhancing overall health and quality of life.

Visit REGENX Health today to learn more about boosting your testosterone and personalizing your fitness journey.


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