Okay we have all heard it before

“Make sure you do squats, they help boost testosterone levels”.

But You’ll never hear someone say “make sure you do bench press it helps boost testosterone production”.

Squats are the only exercise that seems to be brought up as a testosterone booster exercise.

But is there any truth to this?

Yes, squats do help increase testosterone levels but to a certain extent.

So if you don’t squat don’t worry too much you are not missing out on some secret to increasing testosterone levels in the gym.

This is because

Squats and all types of strenuous resistance training (not just squats) cause a temporary increase in testosterone and growth hormone – a few hours to a day.

Any simple increase will eventually be corrected and your net concentration of test will resettle to its natural set point.

Again the testosterone released is proportional to the weight moved times the distance it moves. Its not really the type of exercise that is important but how much you are putting muscles under tension.  You need to go hard out, maximum effort to achieve a testosterone boosting workout.

Most people don’t train this hard!

There is no reason that you cant get a strenuous workout from machines and release the same amount of testosterone.

My belief is squats are the chosen exercise to tagline as a testosterone booster exercise because you naturally are required to use more effort, there is no quitting a rep while squatting, once you go down you have to come back up.

 To trigger a higher testosterone and hormonal response focus on

  1. More Weight – Also known as a higher intensity (percentage of one-rep max)
  2. More Volume – Volume is the amount of work you’re doing and classically defined as weight x sets x reps
  3. Better Density – Density is simply volume over time.

Following these 3 points makes short 20 to 30-minute high-intensity workouts the ideal option for triggering a higher testosterone and hormonal response from the body. Make sure you do at least one high-intensity workout a week.

squat increase testosterone


Look at athletes that apply these 3 principles and their results speak for themselves. Here are some studies I have found for you just so you know I am not spitting out some bro science.

Study 1 link – Acute testosterone and cortisol responses to high power resistance exercise.

Study 2 link – The acute hormonal response to free weight and machine weight resistance exercise.

Increase androgen receptor density by focusing more  on upper body compound movements

Androgen receptors are what your androgens such as testosterone and DHT bind to. Androgen receptors are more common in muscles located in the upper body such as your shoulders and traps. By activating these receptors with training you will increase the utilization of free testosterone resulting in greater muscles development. The density of these receptors can actually be increased (3 easiest ways to increase androgen receptors fast).

In summary

Yes squats will cause a spike in T production but T levels will return to their natural resting level shortly after. Due to squats being such a stressor on the nervous system, squats may actually cause a rise in cortisol levels which could lead to a short decline in T production. So yes squats are a great exercise but if you are looking to optimize your testosterone utilization you should focus more on upper body compound movements. For more information check out this post (Testosterone and androgen receptor training tips – Which muscles have the most androgen receptors?)