Don’t Be a Poser, Boost Your Testosterone Levels?

“Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it” – Madonna…  Turns out Madonna may not have been right, after all…    Though Madonna is widely known to have a high intelligence quotient (IQ), even she didn’t appreciate the effects of striking a pose.

A widely publicized study published in the journal, Psychological Sciences, explored the impact of what they deemed, ‘power poses‘ or ‘low power poses‘ on salivary testosterone and cortisol levels.  The study researchers included Amy J. C. Cuddy, an assistant professor of Harvard Business school as well as Dana Carney and Andy Yap–both from Columbia University.

These poses actually make you more powerful,” says study coauthor Amy J.C. Cuddy, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School.

From the study itself, the researchers found that holding a power pose for a little as 2 minutes resulted in increases in both salivary testosterone levels and a decrease in cortisol (stress hormone) levels.  Specifically, they found salivary testosterone levels increased by 25 percent while cortisol decreased by 19 percent.  Most notably, these results were demonstrated not only in men, but women as well.

Conversely, those in the study who were randomized to the low power pose, had salivary testosterone levels decrease by 10 percent and an increase in cortisol of 17 percent.

In addition to the laboratory changes in hormone levels, psychological changes were also reported.  Power-posers experienced feelings of dominance, being in charge, and more likely to take risks than those in the low power-poser group.

“It’s a small intervention that has a huge impact — especially for people who chronically feel powerless,” says Cuddy, a social psychologist.

Is Saliva an accurate Measure of Testosterone Levels?

Previous research has validated the use of this test as a proxy for serum testosterone levels.  From a study published in the journal, Clinical Endocrinology (Arregger et al, 2007):

Conclusions: Our data showed that Sal-T is a reliable marker of testosterone bioavailability. The results support the inclusion of this biomarker as a noninvasive approach in the diagnosis of male androgen deficiency.

High Power vs. Low Power Poses?

The high power-pose involved sitting on a chair, feet up on a desk, and hands behind their head or alternately, standing in front of the desk with their arms wide-apart leaning on the desk.  For the low power-pose, they included two different variations.  The first variation involved sitting with their arms folded while the second included standing with their legs and arms close together in a restrictive manner.

[box type=”note”]Bottom line: Strike a pose..Apparently, there’s SOMETHING to it. Just don’t fall back in your chair and hurt yourself while you’re at it.[/box]


  • Carney DR, Cuddy AJ, Yap AJ. Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance. Psychol Sci. 2010 Sep 21.
  • Salivary Testosterone – reliable marker of testosterone bioavailability
  • ‘Dominance hormone’ all in the look – Edmonton Journal

8 thoughts on “Don’t Be a Poser, Boost Your Testosterone Levels?

  • August 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Yeah, i may get a wireless keyboard too. Hahaha! Striking a pose may be a little funny but looking at it in a positive way makes us guys looks more, *eherm* handsome and macho. :) This is a good testosterone article. Thank you Dr. Jarret, i will take a look at your other writings too. :)

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  • October 5, 2010 at 1:46 am

    This is really interesting. Now I will have the tools to dominate all my friends subconsciously by striking a “power pose” at the proper times.

    For example, with my hands wide apart, leaning on the bar, I will tell my high-powered-lawyer friend to “Buy me a shot of that Macallan 1947!”

    Being a slave to my power-pose-enhanced salivary testosterone serum levels, he will capitulate and purchase the whole bottle.

    Cool post and blog. Nice clip art!


  • September 28, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I didn’t even know saliva could meaure testosterone. Interesting post about testosterone. I know a few people who could really use this post… hahaha

    • September 28, 2010 at 1:42 pm

      Lol, Doug. Somehow I thought you would get a kick out of this news… ;)

  • September 28, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Ok, now I need to buy a wireless keyboard to strike a pose :) Great read!

    • September 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm

      Slava, a wireless keyboard might make it easier for sure.


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