Do Pushups Increase Testosterone Levels?

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Many men are interested in natural ways to boost testosterone like diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. In particular, some claim that exercises like pushups can increase testosterone levels. 

But what does the research actually say? Let’s find out.

Do Pushups Boost Testosterone Levels?

There is limited evidence that doing pushups can boost testosterone levels. Research has not found that pushups lead to any significant long-term increase in baseline testosterone concentrations.

But here’s the thing…

A study published by the National Institutes of Health compared the acute effects of different pushup variations on testosterone levels. While other changes were observed, doing pushups did not lead to any noteworthy rise in testosterone over baseline levels.

Other studies have had similar findings, suggesting pushups do not directly influence long-term testosterone production. Any spike from pushups is likely short-lived, lasting 30-60 minutes at most. Such spikes do not boost baseline testosterone over time.

More vigorous, high-intensity pushups may lead to a slightly greater temporary increase according to research. But overall, pushups have a minimal effect on testosterone compared to exercise modalities like strength training.

How Can Pushups Temporarily Increase Testosterone?

Although pushups do not increase baseline testosterone, they can cause a temporary rise through:

  • Working Large Muscle Groups: Pushups engage multiple upper body muscle groups like the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. Working larger muscles releases more testosterone.
  • Compound Exercise: As a compound exercise, pushups stimulate more muscle fibers than isolation moves. This triggers a greater metabolic response and testosterone release.
  • Higher Intensity: The more vigorous the pushups, the bigger the testosterone boost. High resistance and muscle fatigue stimulate more testosterone.

However, these mechanisms only cause a fleeting spike in testosterone, not a long-term boost.

Other Benefits of Pushups for Men

While pushups may not substantially increase testosterone, they offer other valuable benefits:

  • Build Upper Body Strength: Pushups are an easy way to build functional strength through the chest, shoulders, arms, and core. Regular pushups can lead to noticeable muscle and strength gains.
  • Enhance Posture and Shoulder Health: Pushups strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder joints. This can improve posture and help prevent shoulder issues like impingement.
  • Boost Sports Performance: The strength, stability, and muscle endurance developed through pushup training can directly improve performance in sports like boxing, wrestling, football, basketball, and more.
  • Support Weight Loss Goals: When done regularly, pushups burn a significant number of calories and boost metabolism. This makes them an excellent exercise for losing weight and body fat.
  • Improve Heart Health: Pushups enhance cardiovascular endurance which reduces the risk of heart disease. The activity increases blood flow and improves the efficiency of heart contractions.

How Many Pushups Are Needed to See An Increase in Testosterone?

Research on exact pushup volume is limited. However, studies show multiple high-rep sets are best:

  • As per research, 5 sets of 15 reps at 55% intensity or 3 sets of 5 reps at 85% intensity, can affect testosterone levels in the body.
  • More intense programs like 20-30 reps per set, or pushups weighted with a vest may further raise testosterone.
  • Single sets or low rep ranges (under 8) are less effective for increasing testosterone or strength.

Of course, individual factors like fitness level determine pushup performance. But high volume, moderate-high intensity pushups appear most beneficial for any testosterone gains.

How Quickly Do Pushups Increase Testosterone Levels?

Once an intense pushup workout begins, testosterone may start increasing within:

  • 15-30 minutes as muscle fatigue and metabolic stress increase.
  • 30-60 minutes for peak testosterone response before dropping back to baseline within a few hours.

Remember – pushups alone won’t lead to any lasting testosterone changes. Any increase lasts for hours, not weeks or months.

Maximizing the Temporary Testosterone Boost from Pushups

If attempting to maximize the acute testosterone response from pushups, consider:

  • Higher total volume (reps) with shorter rest periods of 30-90 sec.
  • Varying hand placement during sets to work muscles from different angles.
  • Adding a weighted vest equal to 5-10% of body weight.
  • Limiting pushup speed – eccentrics of 3-4 sec, concentrics of 1-2 sec.
  • Pairing with lower body exercises like squats, and lunges to stimulate more muscle mass.

However, overly strenuous pushup routines risk overtraining, injury, and excessive muscle damage, ultimately lowering testosterone.

Other Resistance Exercises That Increase Testosterone

While pushups have limitations, these science-backed strength training exercises effectively raise baseline testosterone levels:

  • Squats & Deadlifts: Lifting heavy loads with these large compound exercises triggers a significant testosterone response.
  • Bench & Overhead Press: Pressing heavy weights overhead fully engages the upper body muscles and stimulates testosterone.
  • Pull-ups & Rows: Vertical and horizontal pulling motions strongly activate the back muscles.
  • Weightlifting: Explosive lifts like cleans and snatches acutely spike testosterone.
  • Sprints: All-out sprints lasting 10-30 seconds maximally stimulate the nervous system and testosterone release.

Incorporating 2-4 of these lifts into a structured strength program is ideal for boosting testosterone safely over time.

Its not just resistance exercises. Consider other forms of exercise like Yoga for improving testosterone

The Bottom Line

The verdict – pushups alone won’t correct clinically low testosterone in the long run. While they may temporally spike testosterone after intense sessions, the effect is fleeting.

Baseline testosterone levels remain unchanged unless combined with heavy, compound resistance training, HIIT, proper nutrition, and lifestyle optimization.

For low testosterone, pushups should only be one piece of a holistic regimen – not the sole solution. Consult a doctor to determine if pharmaceutical TRT or supplements are needed versus simply implementing a smarter exercise and diet program.

While limited for hormonal benefits, pushups remain an effective strength and muscle-building exercise when combined with squats, presses pulls, deadlifts, and other functional movements. Just don’t rely on pushups alone to correct low T issues.

Hopefully, this guide gave you a balanced perspective on the limitations of pushups for testosterone – despite many exaggerated claims online. Always dig deeper into the existing science.


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Author: Alx Zoo
Alex zoo is a holistic health educator specialising in modalities that support male performance. He's passionate decentralised health and esoteric health
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