Raising T levels With Lower Body Workouts
To Squat Or To Leg Press?
It’s no secret that when you head down to the gym, at any given time the weights section will be dominated by men bulking up their upper body. But no matter how much you’re packing up top, if what you’ve got going on down below is a bit scrawny, your efforts are frankly going to waste.
However big the temptation to focus on the arms and chest is, there’s no excuse for neglecting your legs. Leg day is important, and not only for the reasons you might think – lower body training can have a big impact on your testosterone levels as well as your physique.
But it can be difficult to know which leg exercises will really do the trick, and which only see minimal return for stacks of effort. And then there’s the eternal question: squats or leg presses?
Let’s take a look to see how both of these exercises affect T levels.
The lowdown on testosterone
Let’s start with the basics: the importance of testosterone.
T is a natural steroid and a fundamental building block of all kinds of masculine traits. T is produced in the testes and controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain – this senses when testosterone is low and directs the testes to produce more, and vice versa when it’s high.
Testosterone boasts two separate courses of action, androgenic and anabolic, and these allow it to support the various aspects of masculinity.
- Anabolic – testosterone helps to regulate protein synthesis, which is super important when it comes to building muscle and strength.
- Androgenic – this helps regulate T levels, with impacts on amount of body hair, tone of your voice and other masculine characteristics.
The Link Between Testosterone And Leg Day
Leg training is often overlooked, but is a major component of rocking an enviable physique. After all, it’s not all about the chest and shoulders!
As well as leaving your thighs and calves looking great and leaving you feeling strong and capable of pounding through intense cardio workouts, putting your legs to work can see lots of wider effects on health and sporting performance. These include:
- Improved balance, symmetry and body proportion
- Better sporting performance
- Lower body fat
- Greater power, strength and speed
- Less vulnerability to back pain and sporting injuries
Which Exercises Are Right For Me?
Machine vs. free weights has been a point of contention for years between fitness professionals when it comes to deciding what works best for legs.
The short answer is… well, there is none really.
When it comes to leg workouts to boost T levels specifically, however, there is one University of North Texas study we can look to.
The study saw researchers split 10 active male participants into two groups to see how squats and leg presses impacted testosterone levels. Each group completed six to 10 reps of each exercise at 80% of their maximum weight, and had their blood taken straight afterwards, 15 minutes after and 30 minutes after.
The results saw raised T as a result of both exercises immediately after training. But after 15 minutes those that had completed squats had readings that were 16.7% higher than leg presses. Growth hormone, meanwhile, experienced an incredible 240% increase for the squatters. Similar results were recorded after 30 minutes, too.
What’s more, the men used higher weights on the leg press on average.
Testosterone And Muscle Growth
But why all the fuss around leg workouts and testosterone? Well, as well as leaving us looking and feeling great, short-term rises in both T and growth hormone play a crucial role in muscle growth. It’s all about tissue remodelling,
When levels of these are elevated, the genes that manage protein synthesis become receptive, stimulating muscle growth.
And it looks like if you really want to achieve this, squats are your best – although leg presses certainly have their merits, too. What’s more, squats work more muscles and muscle tissue –
Just make sure you go heavy!!!!