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Fitness & Health

09th Jul 2018

Weightlifting reduces how stressed you get, research shows

People who regularly resistance train cope better in stressful situations

Alex Roberts

It has long been assumed that a session at the gym helps to fight stress – and now that link looks to have been proven

There is a reason why doctors prescribe exercise with as much frequency as they do a balanced diet. That feel good factor you experience after hitting the gym is a proven stress buster, according to new research.

Scientists from Austria and Germany took a group of men and tested the effects of stressful situations upon them.

Where the men differed is that one group trained with endurance exercise (cycling, jogging etc.), the second group performed resistance training and the third group did no training at all.

The researchers placed all of the men under a series of stress tests which elevated their heart rate, blood pressure and levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.

The highest levels of social and cardiovascular stress were found in the men who did no training. Those who lifted weights or got stuck into some endurance training showed a far better capability to deal with stressful predicaments.

Roid rage may be a real thing, but strength training itself is hugely protective of the heart and your body’s ability to cope with increasingly stressful demands – be it mentally, or physically – with heavier weights.

If you’re encouraged by this news but stuck in a rut with your routine, try this full-body barbell blast.

To add up to 10kg to your bench press, you could also give this 50-rep routine a go.

The University of Sydney put this plan into practice for six weeks, and compared five sets of 10 against 10 sets of 10. The group following five sets added half a kilogram of muscle mass more than those on 10.

Strength on the bench press and lat pulldown was even increased more with the 5 sets of 10 method.

Less could well be more, in this instance.