High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Positively Affects Testosterone

Cardio is a vital part of conditioning and achieving optimal well being; some people cannot lose weight without incorporating cardio into their regimen. In one of our most popular posts we have discussed the importance of doing high intensity interval training for cardio versus doing long, low intensity endurance sessions (which is the only way most of us know how to do cardio). Now we have a new research that indicates that HIIT (high intensity training) has positive effects on testosterone levels specifically on your free testosterone turnover rate.

Basically this new study lead by Anthony Hackney from the University of North Carolina & colleagues found that high intensity interval training resulted in a greater turnover rate of free testosterone. Read this page on Wikipedia for a more elaborate definition of what protein turnover means. Basically more protein turnover indicates that a certain protein’s synthesis is greater than its degradation.

Therefore if HIIT leads to greater testosterone turnover AND if greater turnover means its synthesis is greater than its degradation – then HIIT can lead to increased overall testosterone levels. Which means you can stop worrying about losing muscle because of cardio since it appears that as long as you do HIIT as your cardio; you will even end up helping your testosterone putting you in a generally more anabolic state.

Below is the abstract of the study:

Free testosterone (FT) hormonal responses were compared between high-intensity interval exercise (IE) and steadystate endurance exercise (SSE) in endurance trained males (no.=15). IE session was repeated periods of 90-sec treadmill running at 100-110% maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and 90-sec active recovery at 40% VO2max for 42-47 min. The SSE session consisted of a continuous 45-min run at 60-65% VO2max. Total work output was equal for each exercise session. A 45-min supine rest control session (CON) was also performed. All three sessions were on separate days. Pre-session (PRE), immediate post-session (POST), and 12-h post-session (12POST) blood samples were collected and used to determine FT, SHBG, LH, 3- α-androstanediol glucuronide (3-α Diol G) and cortisol. Analysis of variance compared IE and SSE biomarker responses to the reference CON session. IE and SSE each caused an increase (p<0.01) in FT, but IE more so than SSE (p<0.05). The 5α-reductase marker 3-α Diol G response at 12POST IE was elevated while FT was reduced (p<0.05); no such change occurred following SSE. These findings suggest IE might produce a more pronounced turnover of FT by androgen sensitive tissue than the SSE form of exercise.

(Journal Endocrinology Investigation 35:947-950, 2012)

So the moral of the story: If you’re a weight lifter, your goal must be to increase your testosterone levels – since you want to build strength not endurance. Therefore if you are going to do any type of cardio, therefore high intensity interval training is the way to go.

HIIT for testosterone levels


For better results, do your cardiovascular exercise on a different day. You can also just utilize the sprint day of our vertical jump training program for your cardio. Visit this post for the whole discussion about how to do HIIT properly. HIIT basically takes less than 30 minutes of sprinting, walking, then sprinting again then after 20 or 30 minutes if that – your done, end of cardio session – that simple.

Share your thoughts: Have you ever tried doing HIIT before? What are your experiences regarding high intensity interval training? What type of cardio do you do? For those who don’t do cardio please share your opinion of why you don’t do cardio? Please place your answers below in the comments section. Thanks eat your eggs, people!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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8 thoughts on “High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Positively Affects Testosterone

    1. Indeed my friend. Even Arnold reccommended sprint days. At that time there wasn’t a scientific proof yet that sprints do good for tests

  1. When someone writes an article he/she keeps the image of
    a user in his/her mind that how a user can know it. Thus that’s why this paragraph is perfect.


  2. Great article, I’m glad you included that study! My old workout routine consisted of three lifting days and two days of typical endurance cardio (jogging on the treadmill or pedaling the bike). I noticed that on weeks that I left a cardio day out, I would have more energy to lift. So I swore off cardio for the most part. Two years later, I’m switching up routines and doing microcycles, because I’m starting to plateau. I was looking for ways to make my body more anabolic, naturally, and I came upon HIIT. After doing two or three weeks of it, I was gaining strength as fast as I was only a year into lifting. It’s not like those fresh noobie gains, but it’s something.

    Some recommendations for people trying it. First, make sure you have the ability to perform at high intensity. Work your way up slowly, because the work HIGH INTENSITY is accurate. In addition, once you are getting used to the intensity, try not to do more than 4 or 5 rest intervals. At some point, I think it starts becoming more catabolic than anabolic.

    Your mileage may vary though. Cool ideas.

    1. Thanks for the comment, dude

      Continue doing what you are doing and keep us posted on your progress!

      We’ll wait for your next comment

  3. Hi there everything is going sound here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that’s really fine, keep up writing. thank u

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