You can do everything right to increase your strength, but if you miss this one thing, you can forget making gains. Testosterone.
Simply put, if you don’t optimize your testosterone levels, you won’t get strong. Why? Because testosterone is the core male hormone responsible for building muscle and strength.
In this post, I’m going to show you 10 ways to increase strength and testosterone, naturally.
Are you ready?
Why Increasing Strength is Important
First, let’s address why increasing your strength is important. Many people, even gym-goers, shy away from getting strong.
Let’s be honest…strength training takes far more effort than any other type of workout. It’s brute force and requires 100% effort on your part. You can’t just go through the motions and expect results.
To answer the question, here are the top reasons why increasing your strength is so important:
- Stronger muscles lead to bone density (this can reduce your risk of osteoporosis, per nationalmssociety.org)
- Enhances your ability to do everyday tasks
- Strength training boosts metabolism, giving you more energy and help your body burn fat quicker
- More muscle protects your joints from injury, per betterhealth.vic.gov.au
- Helps boost your confidence and self-esteem
- Can help with balance and increase mobility
- Lifting heavy weights helps your body produce more testosterone naturally
That’s just a few benefits of strength training. Now let’s dig into the 10 ways you can start now to increase both your strength and testosterone.
10 Ways to Increase Strength and Testosterone
Alright, it’s time to dig into 10 ways to help you build strength and boost testosterone levels. Note that each of these tips work together to do both!
I encourage you to read all of them carefully. You will actually find that putting them all together and making this a lifestyle is easier than you think. Not to mention, you’ll reach your overall goal faster, and that is to get stronger!
1 – Do Free Weight Squats
Squats are the single best exercise you can do to increase your strength and temporarily boosting testosterone. I’ll explain that last part in more detail.
The reason squats are so effective at increasing strength is because it’s a compound movement that uses multiple muscles. Many think of squats as just a leg exercise. And they do build your legs, for sure. But you can also gain overall muscle mass and strength with squats.
Now, do squats really boost your testosterone? Yes and no.
Yes in the fact that doing compound exercises such as squats will trigger a temporary spike in testosterone. But is it long-term? Not necessarily (and that’s why there are 10 tips here, not just 1).
Thomas DeLauer gives us an in-depth overview of how squats really impact testosterone.
Free weight squats trigger a greater anabolic response overall. Why? Because more force is exerted and you’re using multiple muscles when you squat.
Again, this response is temporary, but there are other things that work in conjunction. Remember, this is ONLY THE FIRST TIP…we have 9 more go to!
2 – Do Deadlifts
Like squats, deadlifts are another exercise that will give you massive returns in strength gains. It’s another compound exercise that uses multiple muscles.
As I pointed out with squats, deadlifts also trigger an anabolic response and will give you a temporary boost in testosterone. In fact, you can do squats and deadlifts on the same day as some programs suggest, or you can split them up and do them on different days.
Here are some examples…
Workout with Squats and Deadlifts:
- Squats: 5 x 5
- Deadlifts: 5 x 5
- Followed by bench press or barbell rows 5 x 5
Two Workouts Splitting up Squats and Deadlifts:
Workout 1: Squats
- Squats: 4 x 6-8
- Followed by 3-5 more exercises for legs
Workout 2: Deadlifts
- Deadlifts: 4 x 3-6
- Followed by 3-5 more exercises for legs or back
3 – Mix Up Heavy Weight Training with Moderate Weights and More Reps
After reading the above it may sound like I’m suggesting a powerlifting routine. That’s not a bad plan at all, but I want to point out another gym tactic for getting the greatest anabolic response and strength-building benefits.
Yes, doing heavy weights with compound movements will indeed build muscle mass and strength. But our goal is to also boost testosterone, in this case, through exercise.
One of the best ways to do that is by mixing up heavyweights with lifting moderate weights doing more reps.
The reason for this is, continuing your workout lifting moderate weights for more reps, and doing a variety of other exercises will help you build lean muscle and burn more fat.
Having more lean muscle, burning fat and boosting testosterone have a very close relationship, as suggested by dailyburn.com. And I’ll talk more about that later. But first, let me give you an example of the type of workout I’m talking about:
Back Workout Using A Mix of Heavy and Moderate Weight
|Exercise||Sets x Reps||Weight|
|Deadlifts||4 x 3-6||Heavy|
|Barbell Rows||4 x 6||Heavy|
|Dumbbell Rows||4 x 8-10||Moderate|
|Lat Pulldowns||4 x 10-12||Moderate|
The first 3 tips revolve around weight training, which is obviously the best way to get stronger (chances are you already do squats and deadlifts if you’re reading this). Now I’m going to move on to some other tips outside of the gym! If you want a full workout plan, check out my post 12 Week Testosterone Boosting Workout Plan
4 – Eat Lots of Whole Eggs
I’ve said this in other posts, but I’ll never understand why people eat just the egg whites and throw away the best part!
Egg yolks are loaded with vitamins, nutrients, amino acids, and healthy fats. The egg whites contain the protein you need. All of these will help you get strong!
But how do eggs boost testosterone?
Testosterone is actually increased by eating fat, because it’s produced from the cholesterol in fats, per an article on menshealth.com. And the egg yolks are high in fat, making it one of the perfect foods for boosting testosterone.
Here’s a sample strength building-testosterone boosting meal with eggs (we’ll call this a power breakfast!):
- 3-4 whole eggs (cage-free, organic)
- 1 serving of organic oatmeal
- 1/3 cup of blueberries (you can put these in your oatmeal)
- 1 piece of toast or Ezekiel bread
If you’d like a full meal plan for increasing strength, muscle, and energy, then read my post: 3 Day Testosterone Boosting Meal Plan
5 – Eat Beef 3-4x A Week
Steak is loaded with what’s called both saturated fat and EFAs (essential fatty acids). As discussed earlier, we know that fats are required for boosting testosterone.
Does steak also increase your strength? Absolutely! Steak and beef, in general, is a high-quality source of protein. Your muscles need the protein to recover and grow, thus allowing you to get stronger.
How many times a week should you eat red meat?
This can actually vary from person to person, and there are many factors to consider. Some strength trainers and bodybuilders are known to eat red meat 3-4 times a week.
Per muscleandfitness.com, beef is an excellent source of:
It’s important to note that weightlifters have higher nutritional demands than the average person. And of course that may not be healthy for everyone, especially for someone who doesn’t lift (aka: consult with your doc or nutrition specialist for your specific needs).
6 – Supplement with Zinc
If you could only take one supplement in the world, and your goal is to increase your strength and boost testosterone, I would recommend zinc.
Why is zinc important for increasing testosterone?
Double blind studies have shown that supplemental zinc can increase blood levels of testosterone and the follicle-stimulating hormone in men with just very mildly deficient zinc levels — and most people, when tested, are shown to be deficient. Trainers, let me repeat, males, with just mild zinc deficiency, will increase their plasma levels of testosterone with supplementation! This is a clearly proven medical fact!Walter Eddy, Weightlifting for Football, www.2.gvsu.edu
What about zinc for strength training?
The main role of zinc is supporting your immune system. In short, zinc protects your good cells from the bad ones (free radicals).
Having a healthy immune system is essential for your workouts so that you can build strength. It all works together in full circle, with the inclusion of boosting testosterone.
The reason you should supplement with zinc is because there’s a good chance you do not get adequate amounts in your everyday diet. Even foods that naturally contain zinc may only contain a low level of it.
7 – Gradually Increase the Weight
Now let’s revisit the gym! Another way to get stronger is to increase the weight by small increments every workout (or every week).
As personal trainer and strength coach Matt Biss points out on bodybuilding.com, your muscles will quickly adapt to the same weight. Once your muscles adapt, they stop growing and you halt the strength gaining process.
If you want to get stronger, you have to push yourself in the gym. This doesn’t mean going up 50 lbs every time you lift. Rather, use small increments such as going up 5 lbs each week.
Here’s an example of a bench press strength training routine. Let’s assume you’re doing this workout each week, 3 sets of 6 reps…
- Week 1: 185 lbs
- Week 2: 190 lbs
- Week 3: 195 lbs
- Week 4: 200 lbs
- Week 5: 205 lbs
- Week 6: 210 lbs
- Week 7: 215 lbs
- Week 8: 220 lbs
As you can see, it’s possible to increase your bench press (or any lift) by 35 lbs or more in 8 weeks. That’s pretty good progress.
But if you stayed at 185 the entire time, you would never be able to bench press 220. Why? Because you didn’t give your muscles a chance to get stronger. You stayed at a comfortable weight they had adapted to.
Now you’re probably wondering how upping the weight each week impacts your testosterone. The same concept applies here as with the squats and deadlifts we discussed in the beginning.
You’re exerting more effort and energy when you’re pushing yourself to the limit. This triggers that anabolic response and can temporarily increase your testosterone levels.
8 – Don’t Use Machines for Strength Gains
Look, machines have their place in the gym. But that place certainly is not in the beginning of your workouts. And you should not be using machines for strength gains.
When you do an exercise using a machine, you’re not getting the aspect of balance or the natural movement you get with free weights.
You’re also not using any supporting muscles with machines. Instead, make sure you start your workouts with one of the below exercises:
- Bench Press
- Overhead Press
- Barbell Rows
You can read about these exercises in depth and more in my post: 10 Exercises You Need to Increase Testosterone
These are all compound exercises that use multiple muscles, balance, supporting muscles, and allow you to perform the exercise with the natural intended movement. You’re just not going to get that with machines.
However, remember earlier (tip #3) when we talked about mixing heavyweights with moderate weights? You can use machines towards the end of your workout to pump out more reps with.
I personally still prefer free weights as much as possible, but machines can be ok for exercises like seated rows, lat pulldowns, and most triceps exercises.
9 – Increase Flexibility
One of the most disregarded areas of strength training is flexibility. The bottom line is if you aren’t doing anything to improve flexibility, you’re cheating yourself out of some massive strength gains and going to the next level.
Why is flexibility important for strength training?
Balance and coordination are a huge part of performing compound exercises. In fact, it’s part of all free weight exercises.
Practicing flexibility exercises will not only help you will the balance and coordination you need, but it will also strengthen supporting muscles.
Another benefit of being flexible is stretching your muscles, especially your hamstrings and lower back. This will help you recover from your workouts faster, and can also prevent injury.
Here’s a quick recap of the benefits of flexibility for strength training:
- Helps with balance and coordination
- Strengthens supporting muscles
- Stretches the muscle to support faster recovery
- Can prevent injury
What about flexibility and testosterone?
Flexibility does not have a direct impact on testosterone. However, indirectly, it has a great impact.
Practices like yoga or Tai Chi that improve flexibility also reduce stress, per manflowyoga.com. We know that stress will literally kill your testosterone levels. So it makes sense to reduce it.
Also, I must mention the other benefits of flexibility we talked about help increase strength, especially on your core compound lifts. And we know that can lead to spikes in testosterone.
Once again, you can see how everything works together here for increasing strength and boosting testosterone.
10 – Get Quality, Deep, Restful Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of strength and testosterone. Without good sleep, you can kiss both good-bye.
This is mainly because your testosterone and growth hormone levels are released during deep sleep. And restful sleep is also when your body repairs muscle tissue.
Here are some tips for deep sleep:
- Drink a relaxing, calming night-time tea before bed (obviously decaffeinated…seriously, I’ve made this mistake before!)
- Read fiction or something ‘light’ before bed
- Take ZMA before bed (this is a specific blend of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6)
- Avoid alcohol before bed
- Supplement with melatonin
It also helps if you work out in the early mornings. Let’s say you wake up at 5 AM to go train. Around 9:30 PM, you’ll pretty much be ready to hit the sack, organically!
However, you decide to sleep better, make sure whatever you’re doing works and that you’re rested the next morning.
And one more thing…avoid unnatural sleep aids. These may have a short term effect, but you do not want your body to become dependant on them. Always choose the natural way!
You can also read more tips for deep sleep in my post: 9 Ways to Build Muscle in Your Sleep
Are You Ready to Get Stronger?
What’s next? Well, you now have 10 ways you can start implementing now to get stronger. And these methods will work in conjunction to help you boost your testosterone levels.
The best part is this is truly all-natural. So you don’t have to worry about taking any ‘shortcuts’ to strength gains if you know what I mean.
I hope you enjoyed this post and got something out of it. If you have any questions or methods you would like to share, please comment below.