Lifting weights can feel like a superpower. Deadlifts, in particular, make you feel like you can conquer the world, or at least lift it. But can this intense exercise also boost your testosterone levels; the hormone responsible for building muscle and enhancing physical performance?
It's a question that has been debated among fitness enthusiasts and researchers alike. In this article, we'll dive into the science behind this debate and separate fact from fiction. Let’s get started.
What are deadlifts?
Doing deadlifts is a form of resistance/weight training. It involves grabbing a weighted barbell while you’re in the squatting position. The next step is to stand up while lifting the barbell with straight arms. Once your back is straight and the barbell is around your mid-thigh level, pause for a second and put it back down.
It is a compound exercise that engages muscles in your legs, hips, arms, shoulders and lower back. That’s why doing deadlifts is a great way to build muscle and also test your strength with the number of pounds you can lift.
Do deadlifts increase testosterone levels?
In short, yes doing deadlifts regularly can boost testosterone production in your system.
A comprehensive proof of this is from a 1989 study by W Craig et al. This study tested the impact of daily resistance training on participants between the ages of 23 and 63. During the 12-week test period, most participants showed raised testosterone levels after their training sessions.
Similar results were also observed in an earlier 1983 study by W. Weiss et al. It reported a noticeable increase in testosterone levels after intense weight training for its 20 male participants.
Though it is important to note here that doing deadlifts is not a practical way of overcoming hypogonadism (testosterone deficiency). While deadlifts do raise your T levels, this increase isn’t significant enough to counteract the symptoms of low T.
Continue reading to discover our recommendations on how to escape the clutches of declining testosterone levels.
Factors to boost the results
You can get a slightly higher boost in your testosterone levels with deadlifting by considering the following factors in your routine:
Being overweight is a common cause of low testosterone levels in men. Partaking in intense training routines — like deadlifts — burns the excess fat and reduces your weight. This eliminates the testosterone deficiency caused by obesity, which — in turn — provides a more substantial increase in your overall T levels due.
Time of training
Studies show that resistance training in the evening offers a larger testosterone boost than doing the same training in the morning. This is because your average testosterone levels are lower in the evening than they are in the morning — giving your body more room for improvement.
Other exercises that boost testosterone
If you’re looking to boost your T levels by working out, deadlifts are far from your only option. In fact, exercise as a whole is a good way of keeping your T levels in check.
From our experience, these are the best exercises to improve testosterone production while also getting in a better shape:
Squats are a basic form of resistance training that can be done without the need for any equipment. The exercise involves repeatedly lowering your body into a squatting position and then standing back up. You can also amplify their effects with a weighted barbell over your shoulders.
Regularly incorporating squats into your exercise routine can help strengthen your leg muscles, including the quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings.
Rows imitate the motion of rowing a boat, but with gym equipment or dumbbells. It engages your lower back and the muscle groups responsible for pulling the lower arms toward the body. You can also try several position variations — like sitting, standing, or leaning on the bench — to target different muscles.
Pull-ups are a great option for folks who want to develop upper body and arm muscles without the help of weight. They involve hanging from a bar with both hands and lifting yourself up until your chin is above the bar. If your own body weight isn’t enough, you can also add extra weights with a chain belt.
Ways of increasing testosterone levels naturally
As we mentioned earlier, doing deadlifts can increase your testosterone levels, but this training routine isn’t enough to counteract hypogonadism.
Instead, here are a few of the most effective ways of naturally boosting T levels that we recommend:
Getting enough sleep
Studies show that not getting enough sleep for just one week can reduce your testosterone production by as much as 15%. So, make sure to get plenty of sleep daily to keep your T levels in check.
To summarize, doing deadlifts can and will increase your testosterone levels. This makes it a worthy option for men who already have normal T levels and want to keep them within the acceptable range of 400-1000 ng/dL.
But, deadlifts — or most other resistance/weight training exercises — won’t improve the situation by much if you already have testosterone deficiency.
Doing deadlifts is just as safe as most other weight-related exercises as long as you use the correct form. You should also avoid common mistakes like locking your knees, not warming up beforehand, or trying to lift more than you can.
If you’re interested in building your muscles, we recommend 6-12 reps over 3-6 sets with a rest period of about one minute.
No, there is no evidence to suggest that doing bench presses will increase your T levels higher than doing deadlifts. Same is true for most other resistance training exercises.