Most of the time when people think of testosterone in relation to working out, they think of how this hormone helps men build muscles.
There are many benefits to building muscles. So it seems logical that boosting testosterone is something we’d want to do to make it easier to build bigger muscles.
However, the relationship between testosterone and muscle building is more complicated than many people realize. For example, taking a testosterone-boosting supplement doesn’t automatically lead to bigger muscles (or more aggression, for that matter). There’s a lot more going on.
Role of Testosterone
Testosterone is a sex hormone produced by both men and women, though at far higher levels in men. This hormone plays several important roles in the body, particularly for men, but one of its key roles is to help the body build muscles and increase bone density.
Medical studies show that testosterone boosts muscle mass by increasing protein synthesis (Accetta, 2023; Griggs et al., 1989). Recent studies, however, also show that increasing testosterone doesn’t automatically increase muscle mass (as cited by Finn, 2018). There’s also a difference in how individual bodies respond to testosterone.
In short, you need testosterone if you want to build muscles, but there’s a pretty wide range of “normal” testosterone levels. Unless it’s super low you’ll be able to build muscles. And unless you’re increasing it by an insane amount and keeping the levels up through steroids, your testosterone level isn’t necessarily going to make an enormous difference in muscle building.
The Good News
Testosterone is what’s called a “permissive” hormone. If you have it, it gives your body “permission” to make muscles. Naturally boosting testosterone isn’t going to have a dramatic body-builder-magazine-cover effect, but it can help with muscle building, bone density, and mood.
This is good news for those hitting the gym. You don’t need to sink tons of money into testosterone supplements or go to crazy lengths to build muscles. Unless your testosterone levels are well below the normal range (and if you suspect that’s the case, you can speak to your doctor about testosterone replacement therapies), you’ll be able to build muscle.
Strength training, resistance training, and multi-joint exercises can help build and maintain muscle mass. They can also help keep testosterone levels up. Lifting weights and exercising regularly can increase testosterone for men. Resistance and endurance training can boost testosterone levels for women (Copeland et al., 2002).
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for fitness. While it’s good for everyone to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and exercise, exactly what that should look like will vary depending on your age, sex, genetics, and a host of other factors. Everyone with a body can improve, and Extreme Studio Performance can help you find the right fitness routine for you. Whether you work with a personal trainer, join a training group, or want a supportive environment where you can work out on your own, you can find a fitness home here. Contact us today to schedule a free tour and fitness evaluation.