Lifting Free Weights To Boost Testosterone

Chances are you’ve read a gazillion ways to boost testosterone naturally. And there’s so much information out there, some of which is conflicting!

So I want you to forget everything you’ve read and heard for second. Because I’m about to tell you just one simple way to naturally boost your testosterone levels

Lifting free weights.

Notice I said lifting free weights, and we’re going to talk more about that.

In this post, you’re going to learn:

  • How building muscle can increase your testosterone
  • Free weights vs machines
  • Exercises that increase testosterone the most
  • Full workout plan you can start now

Does Building Muscle Increase Testosterone?

lifting free weights to boost testosterone

You already know that increasing testosterone will help you build muscle. In fact, it’s necessary for muscle growth. But did you know that it also works the other way around?

Yes, building muscle can indeed give your testosterone a boost! I’ll explain how this works…

Richard Jadick, D.O. points out that research has shown that gaining muscle mass triggers your body to produce more testosterone (in the article ‘The Best Exercises to Increase Testosterone on

Building muscle also helps speed up your metabolism so that you can burn more fat. And we know that there’s a direct link between belly fat and low testosterone.

All of these elements work together in a cycle of building muscle, supporting one another.

cycle of building muscle graph

As you can see, it’s clear that building muscle is an important part of maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Likewise, boosting your metabolism by lifting weights and having more muscle plays a role.

And while this circles back around, we see that boosting testosterone helps you build more muscle. They all work together.

So, where do you start the cycle? It makes sense to start building muscle. And now I’m going to share with you the best way to build more muscle…

Free Weights VS Machines

Now let’s get specific. I’ve said this in other posts, and I’ll say it again…

Just showing up at the gym isn’t enough. You have to make it count if you want to really build muscle and boost your testosterone levels through exercise.

There’s much debate over free weights vs machines. But I’m going to explain why free weights are better for building muscle.

Here are the benefits of lifting free weights that you don’t get with machines:

  • Recruits more muscles and more muscle fibers
  • Takes more effort (which in essence burns more calories)
  • Requires more balance and coordination
  • Builds major muscles as well as supporting and stabilizing muscles
  • Natural range of motion
  • Builds more strength with greater resistance
  • Leads to greater hormone response and increase in testosterone

Machines have their place, but they simply do not compare to free weights. You’re also not going to get the natural test boost with machines.

*A misconception many have is that machines are safer than free weights. This is complete BS. Machines do not strengthen your stabilizing muscles like free weights do. There’s a helpful article on that talks more about the injury prevention of lifting free weights. 

5 Free Weight Exercises Increase Testosterone the Most

free weight exercises that increase testosterone the most

Now that you know that lifting free weights are best for building muscle to boost testosterone, we need to dig deeper into which exercises you should do.

There are 5 main compound exercises that boost testosterone while helping you build both muscle size and strength. In fact, if you just did these free weight exercises and nothing else, you’ll get some pretty awesome results.

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench Press
  • Overhead Barbell Press
  • Barbell Rows (sometimes called bent-over rows)

How do these free weight exercises raise testosterone? Because they require multiple muscles and take the most amount of force to perform. This helps boost your hormone levels.

You’ll see these exercises in powerlifting routines because they’re the greatest feat of strength. But you’ll also see these in bodybuilding workouts too, usually accompanied by other exercises for hypertrophy.

**You can learn about more testosterone boosting exercises using only free weights in this post: 10 Exercises That You Need To Increase Testosterone

Lifting With Proper Form

I mentioned earlier that free weights are much safer (although some so-called ‘experts’ will disagree…don’t listen to them). But there’s a caveat to that…

You must lift with proper form.

Especially using the 5 exercises I just gave you. The bottom line is you want to make sure you’re using your actual muscles to lift the weight. You don’t want to use your joints or lower back or put stress in the wrong places.

Here are some tips:

  • Never round your back on anything (especially squats, deadlifts, and rows)
  • Have a slight arch in your back when you’re bench pressing
  • Do not lift your butt off the bench when bench pressing
  • Don’t jerk the weight; use controlled movements
  • Focus on the negative part of the reps for more muscle gains (take about 3 seconds on the descent)
  • When squatting and deadlifting, push your legs outward on the way up
  • For overhead press make sure you press the weight over your head (don’t make it into a modified incline bench press)

What’s the best way to ensure you lift with good form? Know what bad form looks like.

Here’s an educational video from Buff Dudes showing you some common mistakes people make in the gym, using bad form:

Muscle Building Workout Plan to Boost Testosterone

I’d like to also give you a simple workout plan using the exercises we just talked about. This is a basic 5 x 5 workout (a strength training method that’s been proven over many decades).

Here are the details of the workout:

  • You’ll do 3 exercises per workout, 5 sets of 5 reps for each exercise
  • There are 2 workouts (A and B), which you’ll alternate each time
  • You typically want at least 1 day of rest between workouts
  • Many will train Monday – Wednesday – Friday (so you would do workout A on Monday, workout B on Wednesday, and workout A again on Friday; the following week you’d start with workout B on Monday, and so forth)
  • Give yourself about an hour or so for each workout
  • Rest 1-2 minutes between sets

**You can also check out my full test boosting workout plan on this post 12 Week Testosterone Boosting Workout Plan

Here are the 5×5 workouts (using only free weights):

Workout A

ExerciseSets x Reps
Squats5 x 5
Barbell Rows5 x 5
Bench Press5 x 5

Workout B

ExerciseSets x Reps
Squats5 x 5
Overhead Press5 x 5
Deadlifts5 x 5

**If you want to read more about 5×5 workouts, and get an advanced 5×5 workout program, then go to

Do You Prefer Free Weights or Machines?

Now I want you to think about your current workouts. Do you mostly use free weights or machines?

As I said earlier, machines have their place in the gym. They’re not bad and I’m not saying you should never use them.

But I do believe your #1 focus should be on free weights. Especially if you’re new to weight training. Those compound exercises will build a solid foundation of muscle mass.

If you’re a seasoned weightlifter or bodybuilder, then you probably start your workouts with free weights. Then you merge into machines and some isolation exercises.

An intermediate to advanced muscle building chest workout would look something like this…

  • Bench Press: 4 x 6
  • Incline Bench Press: 4 x 8
  • Dumbbell Flyes: 4 x 10
  • Machine or Hammer Strength Chest Press: 4 x 12
  • Pec Dec Flyes: 4 x 12

As you can see those last 2 exercises are done on machines, and with higher reps. This when you’re going for that pump and want to exhaust the muscle at the end of your workout.

Of course, that’s after you do the heavy work using free weights and compound exercises. Apply this same concept to your other muscle groups.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and learned something new. If you have comments, please leave those below!


Jason has been consistently weight training since his mid-teens (started back in the early 90's) and has helped countless others reach their fitness goals. At Top Testosterone Booster, his desire is to help you educate yourself with tips and the right supplements that can boost your performance.

Recent Content