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Can Music Boost Testosterone?

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When you’re planning on boosting your testosterone levels you’ll need to use every trick in the book. That means training hard in the gym, eating the right foods and taking a nutrient-filled T booster that supports your goals.

We all know that music can affect how we think and feel, how motivated we are and what kind of mood we are in. But did you know it can also affect your hormone levels too?

In this article we’ll take a look at whether harnessing the power of the aux help you get the best from your workouts, or whether you’re much better off training in silence.


We are exposed to music in pretty much all aspects of our lives. It has the amazing ability to lift our mood, influence our emotions, bring back memories or boost our productivity. It makes us relax, smile, dance and sing. It can also make us sad or angry too.

Many gym goers like to train with music on. It can be either motivational or relaxing depending on the style, and many people have specific playlists that differ based on the type of session they are participating in.

Come to think of it, when was the last time you went to a gym that didn’t have a steady beat on in the background? It is a big part of the training culture nowadays, with über cool gyms playing only the trendiest beats for you to train to.

But what is it about music and exercise that links the two so closely?

Well, it’s all to do with how your physiology reacts to beat, rhythm and tempo. Get it right and you’ll really boost your performance. Get it wrong and it could ruin your workout.

Music and Performance

A number of studies show that music can boost productivity, both physically and mentally, with faster and louder rhythms helping athletes perform more effectively.

Music is now commonplace in many team changing rooms prior to a game as a way of boosting camaraderie, arousal and acting as a stimulant, similar to that of your favorite pre-workout [1]. Different styles, speeds and volumes have all been researched to find the best performance-enhancing stimulus.

In fact, music is thought to be of so important for physical performance that BASES – the British Association of Sport and Exercise Science – have released a position statement discussing its positive effects for both regular exercisers and athletes [2].

Within the last few years, musical choice has been used as an intervention to boost sports performance in a number of clinical studies. For example, Lee et al [3] found that fast tempo beats improved self-paced running speed and peak heart rate, without increases in perceived effort. Additionally, listening to slower music after the run helped to improve heart rate recovery and lower blood lactate levels much quicker too.

Likewise, a study published in Ergonomics [4] found that when a group of volunteers were presented with a range of different tempos and volumes, the faster and louder the beat was, the faster the volunteers ran on a treadmill. Much more so than slower, quieter music or none at all.

Not only does music improve endurance, it can also improve strength too. Biagini et al [5] found that when a group of trained collegiate athletes were asked to perform a bench press and squat jump with either self-selected or predetermined music, explosive performance improved. On top of that, the athletes also reported feeling higher levels of vigor and tension too – hallmark traits of elevated testosterone.

Whilst there are a number of external factors that affect how you might react to different styles of music, one thing is for sure – getting the right rhythm for can really boost your performance.


Music and Testosterone-Levels

Key Point: Music has been found to boost both physical and mental performance as well as endurance and stamina.


How Does Music Affect Testosterone Levels?

According to leading researcher Hajime Fukui from the Nara University of Education in Japan, there is a close relationship between spatial ability and testosterone, spatial ability and musical ability, and testosterone and music [6].

Although studies to back this up are limited, there are a number of anecdotes and stories from bodybuilders and athletes suggesting that your hormones and endocrine system can be greatly affected by your choice of rhythm.

Most bodybuilders swear by heavy metal, with music like Black Sabbath, Metallica and Led Zeppelin being the staple musical diet for the T-boosting gym lifter. They claim that the fast-paced, angry tone not only helps to boost heart rate and endurance, but strength, aggression and vigor too – all characteristics of high T levels.

But be careful though, as the research doesn’t really agree. 

One study, published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science [6] found that when a group of male and female students were given a range of different musical styles to listen to for a 30 minute period, they all decreased testosterone in male subjects but not in females.

Granted, the styles of music chosen included Mozart, Gregorian monk music and jazz, but did also involve pop and volunteer favorites. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any heavy metal in sight. Bizarrely, it was the stylings of Gregorian monks that had the least damaging effect on T levels so this might be your best option when you can’t get hold of the heavier stuff.

The same research team also assessed the role of testosterone by recruiting 88 healthy college students and placing them in one of four conditions [7]:

  • Listening to music for 30 minutes
  • Listening to music for 30 minutes with visual stress
  • 30 minutes of visual stress with no music
  • 30 minutes of silence

After the intervention, each volunteer had their T levels assessed – and the results were pretty conclusive. Music reduced testosterone in men, but increased it in females. 

Furthermore, the group also had their stress levels measured. Interestingly, stress was lower in the music only group and higher in both the silence and visual stress groups. This shows that music has the ability to boost relaxation when used properly.


TestoFuel Boosts Testosterone-Levels

Key Point: Bodybuilders typically swear by heavy metal to get psyched up for a session and elevate testosterone, but research doesn’t agree.


Music Can Reduce Stress Hormones Though

There are two sides to the story when it comes to boosting male hormone levels. On one hand you’ll want to directly elevate testosterone at every given opportunity in order to give you an athletic physique, quality muscle and low body fat.

On the other hand you want to indirectly boost T levels by keeping your stress hormone levels as low as possible. Cortisol – the body’s main stress hormone – can increase belly fat and risk of long-term illness if levels chronically rise.

Released from the adrenal glands in times of physical and psychological stress, a long-term increase in cortisol is the enemy of anyone wanting to improve their physique. But studies show that choosing the right music can help to keep it at bay by stimulating relaxation and a part of the central nervous system that activities calm and stress busting.

For example, studies have found that listening to relaxing music helps to reduce salivary cortisol after 30 minutes during times of stress [8], pre-operative anxiety [9] and fear-related stress [10].

Whilst this won’t boost your T levels per se, it will help to reduce the amount of testosterone that is swallowed up by circulating stress hormones.


Summary – The Music and Testosterone Relationship

Music is an important part of everyday life. It is played at home, in restaurants, in shopping malls and in gyms. It has been shown to help with mood, emotions and productivity.

It can also boost physical performance by elevating heart rate and endurance but without the associated feelings of fatigue.

Faster, heavier music has always been a favourite of the bodybuilder – the fast-paced, angry and driving beat is used to psychologically prepare the lifter for big weights and at the same time boosting aggression and strength – and if you’re getting stronger and angrier it must be an increase in testosterone production. But studies don’t back this up – if anything they show the opposite.

Whilst research is limited, the studies that are available show music decreases testosterone temporarily. Whilst we don’t think this is anything to worry about we certainly wouldn’t recommend avoiding music in your workouts. However, it still makes for interesting reading and something different to consider.


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References

  1. Terry, PC et al. The new sport and exercise psychology companion (pp. 359-380). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology
  2. Karageorghis, CI et al. The BASES expert statement on use of music in exercise. J Sport Sci. 2012; 30(9): 953-956
  3. Lee, S et al. Influence of music on maximal self-paced running performance and passive post-exercise recovery rate. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2016; 56(1-2): 39-48
  4. Edworthy, J et al. The effects of music tempo and loudness level on treadmill exercise. Ergonomics. 2006. 15; 49(15): 1597-610
  5. Biagini, MS et al. Effects of self-selected music on strength, explosiveness, and mood. J Strength Cond Res. 2012; 26(7): 1934-8
  6. Fukui, H. Music and testosterone. A new hypothesis for the origin and function of music. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001; 930:448-51
  7. Khalfa, S et al. Effects of Relaxing Music on Salivary Cortisol Level after Psychological Stress. Annals NY Acad Sci. 2003; 999: 374-376
  8. Wang, SM et al. Music and Preoperative Anxiety: A Randomized, Controlled Study. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2002; 94(6): 1489-1494
  9. Uedo, N et al. Reduction in salivary cortisol level by music therapy during colonoscopic examination. Hepato-gastroenterology. 
  10. Fukui, H et al. The effects of music and visual stress on testosterone and cortisol in men and women. Neuro Endocrinology Letters. 


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