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Does HIIT Training Increase Testosterone?

So many training methods to choose from. So little time.

You want to burn fat fast, but at the same time you don’t want to sacrifice muscle gains – if only there was a way to incorporate fat loss training into your programming but still manage to increase testosterone. Well maybe there is. 

Many fitness experts believe high intensity interval training could be the answer you’re looking for, we know it works for fat loss, but does HIIT Training Increase Testosterone?

In this article you’ll learn:

  • What is High Intensity Interval Training?
  • The science – does HIIT increase testosterone?
  • Are there any other benefits?
  • Example training program
  • Final word (Does HIIT Increase Testosterone?)

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT is a method of training that involves repeated bouts of high intensity work followed by periods of recovery. The timings range and vary but previous research has suggested work intervals of between 30 seconds to several minutes, separated by rest intervals of 1-5 minutes [1].

Regardless of timings and work:rest ratios, one thing remains the same- the work bouts are full on, all out high intensity and the rest intervals are either no or low intensity exercise.

It is versatile method of training in that it can be performed as a body weight circuit, involve cyclic CV protocols such as running or cycling, and can also involve weight training as well.

HIIT is considered to be a time efficient method of training and suitable for those with a good base foundation fitness. It is suggested that less demanding protocols be used for more sedentary individuals due to its demands and stress placed on the body [2].

HIIT differs from more traditional ‘steady state‘ or ‘low intensity, steady state‘ cardio which is typically performed at the same intensity for extended period of time lasting 20 or more minutes.


Does-HIIT-Increase-Testosterone

Key Points:

  • High intensity interval training  involves repeated bouts of high intensity work followed by periods of recovery.
  • HIIT can be performed using body weight, cardio machines or weight training 

The science: does it increase testosterone?

There’s certainly evidence to suggest it does-

#Study 1: Hackney et al. [3]

In this study 15 athletes were assigned to either a HIIT group or steady state exercise group.

The HIIT group completed repeated periods of 90-sec treadmill running at maximum intensity followed by 90-sec active recovery 42-47 min, and the steady state group completed a 45 minute run at a moderate intensity. 

Both groups were assessed for any changes in free T levels as well as other male hormone changes

So what happened?

Interestingly both groups increased their T levels but the HIIT group was much higher. This suggests that higher intensity training might produce a more pronounced turnover of testosterone. 


#Study 2: Paton et al. [4]

This study involved 18 road cyclists who were placed into one of two groups for 4 weeks of training-

Both groups conducted 8, 30 minute sessions of explosive, single-leg jumps alternating with varying cadences of high intensity cycling.

Anything to report?

Astonishingly the higher intensity group reported increased T levels of 97% as opposed to the steady state group who increased by only 62%.  

High-Intensity-Interval-Training-for-Muscle-Gain

Hot Point: There’s definitely some merit in supplementing your program with HIIT if you wish to increase your T-levels


Are there any other benefits?

So the evidence suggests that by performing near maximal intensity cardio you’ll see increases in testosterone- and this in turn means you’re more likely to preserve lean muscle levels, or maybe even increase them.

But are there any other benefits? 

In short, yes. lots. There have been a large number of benefits reported in athlete’s undergoing High Intensity training. These include:

  • Fat Loss

A lot of research has reported decreases in fat loss which match those seen through steady state training, but in a much shorter time frame. This makes it a very time efficient method of training. For example, one study [5] reported whole body increases in capacity for fatty acid oxidization in just 7 sessions over a 2 weeks period. 

Additionally, Trapp [6] found that a longer term, 15 week high intensity program of 20 minute sessions, 3 times per week, decreased body fat significantly in total body fat (including leg and trunk fat).

  • Improved cardiovascular fitness

You’ll see some great aerobic and anaerobic improvements in your fitness levels too [7] – your heart will become stronger and be able to pump more blood meaning you’ll be able to deliver more nutrients and oxygen to the working muscles. You’ll find a decrease in fasting insulin as well as insulin resistance. [6]

You’ll see an increase in mitochondria too- these are the cells that use oxygen to generate energy to you and me, as well as an improved lung capacity,  faster removal of waste products and increased aerobic enzymes.

  • Improved metabolic rate

Due to the high intensity of the program, you’ll find that by doing High Intensity Interval training you’re body will have to work hard to restore lost energy reserves meaning you’re metabolic ‘after burn‘ will be through the roof.

One study for example [8] reported increases in energy expenditure over a full 24 hour period when exercise involved working at 100% of maximal oxygen uptake for 2 minutes and recovering for 2 minutes for 60 minutes in total !

Steady state on the other hand just didn’t cut it in comparison- working at 50% of maximal oxygen uptake had far less positive effects on metabolism. 

There’s also a number of other benefits that HIIT will provide that include time management- its easier to fit in your day than some of the longer training systems, motivation, and overall health.


Example program – get ripped in no time

Here’s a program that we at TestoFuel have designed especially for you. Its brutal but if you can get through it you’ll soon see the rewards.

This one’s done on the rower so you know its a tough one. You’ll need access to the Watts measure on the console screen in order to assess you’re workload. You’ll be using a 1:2 ration

  1. Row as hard as you can for 30 seconds– make a note of the peak Watts that you achieve e.g. 350W
  2. Rest 60 seconds
  3. Row as hard as you can for 30 seconds- you must at least match the peak Watts from Rep 1
  4. Rest 60 seconds
  5. Repeat for 10 total reps or until you cant achieve the peak Watts from Rep 1

Disclaimer- please try this program at your own risk. If you are unsure please consult a physician

There’s also our home HIIT exercises that boost testosterone that you can check out to give you some quick, accessible ideas for when you can’t get to the gym.


Does HIIT Training Increase Testosterone?

There’s merit to putting High Intensity Interval Training in your program, especially if you want to maintain or possibly even increase your T levels. There are multiple studies that confirm the effectiveness of this style of training, along with numerous other benefits such as fat loss, improved fitness levels and an overall faster metabolism.

There’s also a number of other benefits that you can get that will help you achieve your performance and aesthetic goals.

There are lots of different ways that you can incorporate high intensity work into your program, including With an endless amount of

It is important however to ensure you still maintain  regular weight lifting.


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References

  1. Gibala MJ, McGee SL. Metabolic adaptations to short-term high-intensity interval training: a little pain for a lot of gain? Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2008; 36: 58–63
  2. Shiraev T, Barclay G. Evidence based exercise – clinical benefits of high intensity interval training. Aust Fam Physician 2012; 41: 960–962
  3. Hackney, AC et al. Testosterone responses to intensive interval versus steady-state endurance exercise. J Endocrin Invest. 2012; 35(11): 947-50
  4. Paton CD et al. Effects of low- vs. high-cadence interval training on cycling performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2009; 23(6): 1758-63
  5. Talanian, JL et al. Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic intervals training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women. J Appl Physiol. 2007; 102(4): 1439-47
  6. Trapp, EG et al. The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels on young women. Int J Obes. 2008; 32(4): 684-91
  7. Boucher, SH. High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. J Obesity. 2011

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