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3 Methods and Complete Workout Routine to Boost Testosterone

March 31, 2020

One of the fastest ways you can naturally boost your testosterone starts in the gym. And the fact that the gym is your 2nd home gives you a ‘huge’ advantage. 

The problem is that many don’t follow the best training methods that trigger the increase of this hormone.

In this post, you’re going to learn the 3 specific methods to build more muscle and increase your testosterone levels during your workouts. And I’ll give you the details of how these will make your workouts more effective.

You’re also going to get a full workout routine to boost your levels and pack on more quality size. This is something you can start today.

So go make your pre-workout drink because you’re going to want to hit the gym after reading this. I’ll go take you through each method first followed by your new routine at the bottom.

1 – Force Your Muscles to Work Harder 

Cable flyes crossovers for ripped chest

One sure way to force your muscles to work harder and ignite your body’s ability to release more of it’s own testosterone is by lifting heavy. But most people misunderstand what this really means when it comes to building quality muscle.

Training heavy isn’t just pounding out low reps with a weight you can barely lift while having your spotter do most of the work. And we’re not talking about powerlifting either.

Lifting heavy in this case is better defined by forcing your muscles work harder by making the weight you’re lifting feel heavier. And concentrating more on the muscle working will increase your workout intensity.

You will actually make lighter weight feel heavier by focusing on those muscles you’re working. And your other goal is to exhaust your muscles during your workouts.

In fact, look what Eric Metcalf, MPH has to say on WebMD about how lifting weights, in genera, impacts testosterone levels:

Lifting weights or doing other strength-training workouts has a bigger effect on your testosterone.

Does Working Out Affect Testosterone Levels?‘ WebMD.com, by Eric Metcalf, MPH

Below, I’m going to share the best ways to ramp up your intensity and force your muscles to do more work by making the weights feel heavier so that you have boost your hormone levels.

Do Focused Reps

Focused reps are brutal. You’re essentially going to take a lighter weight and make it feel much heaver by the way you perform each rep: focused!

  • Start with a weight that you can do for about 10 reps
  • Take more time on the negative part of each rep; this makes your muscles work harder
  • Focus on contracting those muscles throughout each rep
  • Get that squeeze at the peak of each rep

You’ll end up doing about 6-8 reps using this method. But your muscles won’t know the difference in weight. They will just know you made them work harder. And they will respond by growing, assuming you’ve got recovery down.

You see, if your reps are too low, it may not enough to trigger that hormonal response. But if your reps are too high, you didn’t push your muscles hard enough to release testosterone. 

This is something we’ll focus more on for compound exercises, which will be explained in depth below.

Do Rest-Pause Sets

This next technique is something you’ll want to save for your final set or towards the end of your workout. Rest-pause sets will completely exhaust your muscles.

  • Perform a set (use the instructions above for doing focused reps)
  • Rest about 10-15 seconds
  • Pump out another set with the same weight (these reps do not have to be concentrated; just crank them out)

This is an awesome method to increase your workout intensity and make your muscles work harder. Rest-pause sets are typically saved for the end of your workouts and for isolation exercises. If you’re doing these with free weights, make sure you have a good and trusted spotter.

There are also other weight training techniques to increase intensity like drop sets, supersets, and giant sets. You can read more about all of these methods in my post: 7 Ways to Increase Workout Intensity.

2 – Exercise Order to Trigger Hormone Release

deadlifts low reps

Did you know that there’s a specific order for the types of exercises that will give you the best hormone response? It’s actually a simple concept and this also maximizes your ability to pack on more muscle.

Chances are, you’re probably using this workout method already as it’s somewhat typical to bodybuilding workouts. But I want us to dive deeper into why this order of exercises is so important, and give you some new ways you can use this to your benefit.

Do Compound Exercises First

First, you’ll start your workouts with a compound exercise. Compound exercises will trigger a greater hormone response simply because they recruit more muscles and take more effort.

Piedmont urologist Richard Jadick, D.O. goes on to explain…

Exercise will boost testosterone, though certain types of exercise increase testosterone more than others.

The Best Exercises to Increase Testosterone‘ on the Piedmont Healthcare website by Piedmont urologist Richard Jadick, D.O.

Here are the best compound exercises to boost testosterone:

  • Squats or deadlifts on leg day
  • Bench or incline press on chest day
  • Bent-over rows or deadlifts on back day
  • Seated or standing overhead barbell press on shoulder day

Use Isolation Exercises to Further Develop the Muscle

Remember, this isn’t just about boosting testosterone. You also want to build and develop your muscles. And by taking your workouts to this next level, you’ll decrease body fat which will help you naturally keep your hormone levels elevated (having too much body fat is a testosterone killer!).

So after your main compound lifts you’ll start performing exercises that target specific muscles. Again, this mimics the typical bodybuilding workout program. But I’m also going to show you some ways to make this even more effective throughout this post.

Below are some examples of isolation exercises. You’ll notice there are 2 categories:

  1. The variation of compound exercises are close to compound exercise but target that specific muscle more directly. An example is dumbbell rows, a variation of barbell rows, target your lats directly without recruiting other muscles (as much).
  2. Isolation exercises are exercises for arms and most machine and cable exercises that specifically target the intended muscle.
Variation of CompoundIsolation Exercises
Dumbbell rowsExercises for biceps and triceps
Leg pressLeg extensions/curls
Stiff-leg deadliftsLateral raises
Any type of dumbbell pressFlyes
Seated rows/lat pulldownsSingle-arm cable rows

*Some feel that isolation exercises aren’t necessary for increasing your hormone output. That may be true; however, adding these exercises will help you build more defined muscle.

Doing these will also increase overall training volume, which we’ll get to shortly.

**Also, some of the exercises listed above may cross-over (ex: you may consider lat pulldowns a pure isolation exercise). That’s okay, and don’t allow yourself to get lost in those details. When you get to the next section, this will make more sense.

Exercise Order for Muscle and Boosting Test

Here’s the best exercise order to get the most out of your workouts:

  • Exercise 1: Compound exercise
  • Exercise 2: Variation of a compound exercise
  • Exercises 3: Variation of compound or isolation exercise
  • Exercise 4: Isolation exercise

And here’s an example of applying this method to a back workout:

  • Exercise 1: Barbell rows
  • Exercise 2: Dumbbell rows
  • Exercise 3: Lat Pulldowns
  • Exercise 4: Single-arm Cable Rows

*You could also throw in some arm exercises at the end in addition (for exercises 5 and 6).

Do you see the pattern here? You’re starting with that heaviest compound exercises that recruits the most muscles. From there you begin to target the intended muscles a little more each exercise. At the end of your workout, you’re directly targeting specific muscles.

This does 2 things for you:

  1. Increases your hormone levels more effectively by applying the your max strength and energy towards that first compound exercises (as opposed to using up that energy on ‘smaller’ exercises).
  2. Builds defined muscle by exhausting your muscles directly as you move through the workout.

**You’re also going to use the methods to increase workout intensity with the exercise order we just went over. I’ll show you exactly how to do that when we get to your workout routine.

3 – Increase Your Volume

dumbbell rows back exercise

Lastly, let’s talk about how training volume impacts testosterone levels. This is where we talk about the appropriate number of sets and reps.

Of course, going back to intensity, the more intense your workouts are, the shorter they will be. However, you’re not going to be using those methods on every set. We’ll get to that when you go though the workout routine below.

You need multiple sets and reps to promote a hormone response (just a few sets aren’t going to cut it). And you also need that volume to pump more blood into the muscle to promote muscle gains.

The variables within the acute programme variable domains must be selected such that the resistance exercise session contains high volume and metabolic demand in order to induce an acute testosterone response.

Testosterone Physiology in Resistance Exercise and Training‘ Vingren, J.L., Kraemer, W.J., Ratamess, N.A. et al. Testosterone Physiology in Resistance Exercise and Training. Sports Med 40, 1037–1053 (2010)

In theory, you’re already doing that by adhering to the first 2 ways of increasing testosterone through training that we discussed. But we’re going to dig deeper into the number of sets and reps.

Here’s what works best:

Type of ExercisesSets x Reps
Heavy compound4-5 x 6-8
Variation of compound3-4 x 8-10
Isolation3-4 x 10-12

It’s a simple formula for naturally increasing both testosterone and your ability to pack on more quality muscle mass. You’ll also get stronger using this formula.

*You can read more about the types of bodybuilding routines that follow these guidelines in my post: 9 Bodybuilding Workouts for Mass Gains

Testosterone Boosting Workout Routine

Barbell Rows back exercises for bodybuilding mass

Alright, let’s get to the good stuff. This is going to be your workout routine for the next 6-8 weeks (or however long you chose to stay on it, but I recommend doing at least 6 weeks before making any changes).

Let’s go over a few important notes about the routine before you get started:

  • For compound exercises (your first exercise), rest about 1 minute between sets
  • Rest 2-3 minutes between your last set of your first exercise before going to the next one
  • For all other exercises, rest 45 seconds between sets and 1 minute between exercises
  • There will be notes at the bottom of each workout; this is where you’ll see the methods to increase intensity that we talked about earlier

Training Split

This will be a 4-day training split and you can use the below schedule or make up your own. Try to have a rest day after every 2 workouts, and if possible, don’t have more than 2 rest days between workouts.

  • Monday: Back
  • Tuesday: Legs
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: Chest and Biceps
  • Friday: Shoulders and Triceps
  • Saturday: rest
  • Sunday: rest

*If you’re going to throw in an extra workout day I recommend doing a 2nd leg workout. Legs are often undertrained. You can get more ideas for your 2nd leg workout in my post: Training Legs Twice a Week: How to Build Bigger Legs

Back Workout

Your back is your largest upper body muscle so you’re going to do more volume for back than other upper body muscles.

ExercisesSets x Reps
Bent-over Rows4 x 6-8
Dumbbell Rows4 x 8-10
Seated Rows4 x 8-10*
Lat Pulldowns3 x 10-12**
Cable Pullovers3 x 10-12**

*do a rest-pause set on the final set
**do a drop set on the final set

Leg Workout

You’ll notice more overall sets and reps for legs below. Quads tend to respond better to higher reps, 12-15, and even higher. Hamstrings respond best to the typical 8-10 rep range. And you can crank out as many reps as possible for calves; that’s the only way to force them to grow.

ExercisesSets x Reps
Squats4 x 6-8
Leg Press4 x 12
Stiff-leg Deadlifts4 x 10
Leg Extensions4 x 15*
Leg Curls4 x 10*
Calve Raises5 x 15**

*do a rest-pause set on the final set
**do a triple-drop set on the final set

Chest and Biceps Workout

ExercisesSets x Reps
Chest Press4 x 6-8
Incline Dumbbell Press3 x 8-10
Dumbbell Flyes3 x 10-12*
Cable Flyes3 x 10-12**
Dumbbell Hammer Curls3 x 10-12
Preacher Curls3 x 10-12**

*do a rest-pause set on the final set
**do a drop set on the final set

Shoulders and Triceps Workout

ExercisesSets x Reps
Seated Overhead Press4 x 6-8
Seated Dumbbell Press3 x 8-10
Lateral Raises3 x 10-12*
Bent-over Raises3 x 10-12**
Seated Overhead Extensions3 x 10-12
Rope Pressdowns3 x 10-12**

*do a rest-pause set on the final set
**do a drop set on the final set

Naturally Boost Your Levels

To ensure your testosterone is at optimal levels, take a natural test booster like TestoFuel.

TestoFuel is the only test booster properly dosed with the most effective ingredients. That’s one of many reasons why it’s my recommended testosterone booster.

TestoFuel best natural test booster for muscle gains

Benefits of Training to Boost Testosterone and Build Muscle

Weight training is one of the best ways that you increase hormone output. And there are many benefits to having elevated testosterone levels, just as having low levels can be detrimental and cause health problems.

Low T levels in men may increase their risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD), metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Reduced T levels in men with congestive heart failure (CHF) portends a poor prognosis and is associated with increased mortality.

Testosterone and the Heart‘ on Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas, Travis Goodale, M.D.,US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website, Archana Sadhu, M.D., Steven Petak, M.D., J.D., and Richard Robbins, M.D.

But remember, your goal is to not only increase your testosterone but to build muscle as well. And everything in this guide will help you do both, naturally.

Here are the benefits of focusing on both goals:

  • Greater lean muscle mass
  • Stronger bones
  • More energy and drive
  • Stronger immunity
  • Lowers risk of certain diseases
  • Better overall sense of well-being
  • Less prone to illnesses such as depression
  • The obvious cosmetic benefits

As you can see, there’s an array of benefits to increasing testosterone and gaining muscle. And they both work in conjunction as doing one helps the other. So it’s a win-win.

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,


About the author

Jason Stallworth

Hi, I'm Jason Stallworth and I created The Muscle Program in 2010 for the purpose of helping you build muscle. I know first-hand how weight training and being in the gym has shaped my life in more way than one. And here is where I share that experience with you so that you can continue pushing yourself and becoming the best version of yourself each day!