We know that exercise prompts a short-term increase in T-levels, so regular exercise is going to play a part in increasing your hormone levels. Here we look at the health benefits of deadlifts and other related exercise techniques to see how much they impact T-levels in our bodies.
What are deadlifts?
A deadlift is a specific resistance training exercise and it includes much more than just simply lifting a weight off the ground, although that is essentially what a deadlift is. You lift the barbell as high as your torso, to the level of your hips, and no more than that.
Your torso, throughout this movement, is perpendicular to the floor until you raise the weight to your hips, at which point you are in the upright position. You place the weight back on the ground. It is a workout for your hips, butt, lower back, legs, arms, shoulders - pretty much your whole body!
How do deadlifts impact testosterone levels?
The multi-jointed deadlift is useful in building muscle, core strength, and stability. This technique works on many of the largest muscle groups in the body, so deadlifts can build lean muscle mass and speed up metabolism. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. Overweight people’s fat cells convert testosterone to estrogen, so by exercising, losing weight, and building muscle, you are burning calories and raising male hormone levels.
Studies on the impact of testosterone in men who perform deadlifts conclude that this exercise is indeed a testosterone booster. Heavy sessions of deadlifting will increase your T-levels, which means lifting about 75% of the limit you can lift in a single repetition.
By doing 8-10 repetitions while deadlifting a significant weight, you can raise testosterone and growth hormone levels. If you prefer higher repetition rates with lighter weights, you will not see so much of a difference in your hormone levels.
Balance your lifting with rest and recovery, of course.
What other benefits does doing deadlifts offer?
There are many benefits to this exercise, such as increased fat burning; one study showed that lifting weights and resistance training results in more fat burning than just diet or diet and aerobic exercise.
Doing deadlifts encourages better posture as you keep your back straighter generally as a result of the deadlift position. The deadlift apparently eclipses the squat as the exercise that works out the most muscles in one repetition—both lower and upper body. The deadlift is known as a ‘real-life lift’ as this exercise uses muscles you are called upon to use—grocery bags, buckets, furniture etc. It is also a safe exercise and improves grip strength.
How to do deadlifts correctly
Keeping your back straight and standing in front of the barbell, use your knees to flex down and grip the barbell in a shoulder-width position. Then with your back perpendicular to the floor, use your legs and back to draw the barbell up to the top of your thighs, aiming for your hips. Ease down and release the weight.
You can see the video below of the right and wrong ways to deadlift.
Other types of deadlifts
Snatch grip Olympic deadlift:
This is a variation that uses a much wider grip position on the barbell, so it strengthens more of the upper back. If you have issues with your lower back, the snatch grip is a safer option. In addition, this exercise strengthens the hamstring, glutes, back, and calves.
This variation starts with you holding the barbell at hip height and stretching the weight down to your feet and back up again. You press your hips forward and back as you do the reps, and this exercise is good for your joints, hamstrings, and glutes as well as forearms.
If you have a strained back, the Romanian deadlift is a good choice for your workout.
So named as the leg and hip position is similar to the stance used by sumo wrestlers, the sumo deadlift is performed with the legs much wider apart than the shoulders, toes forward in line with knees, and the arms closer together than the shoulders. This lift relies on your legs more and so you can lift more without straining your back.
This resistance training lift uses a prop other than the barbell or weight—you stand on a raised surface to give you that little bit more effort to deadlift from the floor. Some lifters use a large weight plate that lifts you 1 to 4 inches off the ground. This exercise is good for people whose lower back needs extra attention.
Other exercises that improve testosterone?
Several sources have shown that two kinds of exercise groups can raise testosterone levels: weightlifting and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). The squat and the bench press are the two powerlifting exercises, along with the deadlift, that have a significant effect on T-levels. We have covered a range of the main resistance training exercises, so let’s look at HIIT.
Studies suggest that sprinting and resting in 90-second intervals for 45 minutes gives more of a T-level boost than normal straight running for 45 minutes of cardio exercise. Choose exercises that use as much of your muscle mass as possible. Some of the HIIT activities that you could do that will raise your T-levels are:
If you do your HIIT in the morning and your resistance training in the afternoon, you will get the best T-level effect, (nobody has a scientific reason for this, it just seems to be the case). It also seems that endurance training (swimming, running, cycling for more than a couple of hours) actually decreases T-levels slightly.
So exercise on its own is not the complete solution for men with low testosterone but if your levels are borderline normal, then exercise such as we have described will significantly affect how you feel (and look). Many studies reveal that men who exercise regularly have higher testosterone levels than sedentary men. The benefits of deadlifts and these other exercises are manifold: shed weight, build muscle and encourage your T-levels.
You reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, and obesity if you maintain good T-levels, and exercise is key to this.
Abnormal hair growth, acne, and balding can occur in women whose T levels are raised above normal, and HIIT has been shown to reduce T-levels. Twenty minutes of eight-second cycling and resting intervals is one HIIT activity that decreases T-levels in women.
You might think focusing on the upper body and arms is the key to gaining and revealing good T-level muscle mass, but it has been found that men who concentrate on the lower body as well have higher T-levels. So, as they say, don’t just work your biceps, don’t miss leg day!
It has been found that resting for about 120 seconds in between repetitions allows the body to recover and then be able to lift more weights. Therefore, these longer rest periods are integral to getting the best exercise benefits and T-levels.