Texas Powerlifter Jr Record Holder, Rachel D.

Powerlifting is a sport that tests one’s physical and mental strength. Training for a powerlifting competition involves intense exercise in the gym to build a strong body and mind. The goal is to push your body’s limits in the back squat, bench press, and deadlift with the most amount of weight on the barbell.

In the Back Squat, the barbell is placed across the upper back. From an upright standing position, the individual lowers into a squat position then returns to the starting position. See the slideshow below for a visual.

In the Bench Press, the individual is laying on their back on a bench. They grab the barbell off the rack and hover it over the chest. They lower the barbell onto the chest then press it back to the starting position. View the slideshow below for a visual.

In the Deadlift, the individual picks up the barbell off the ground then lowers it back down. Check out the slideshow below for a visual.

I have been coaching Rachel for about two years in powerlifting. She has competed in 4 competitions, has broken Texas State records in her division, and has won “Best Lifter” awards. In the video below, she discusses her perspective of the mental aspects of powerlifting.

Video of Rachel discussing the mental health benefits of powerlifting.
Video taken from Elda Negrete’s YouTube Channel.

For today’s research, I came across a great article on barbend.com titled “4 Research-Backed Ways Lifting Weights and Eating Right Improve Mental Health” written by Nick English and verified by MS & RDN Dina R. D’Alessandro. It compiles research data showing amazing mental health benefits of strength training.

One of the benefits outlined shows a decrease in the hormone cortisol, which is a stress hormone that you must manage. High levels of cortisol may increase DNA markers passing it along to offspring and overtime, chronically high stress is linked to high blood sugar, high blood pressure, anxiety, and more body fat. Studies show that lifting weights helps decrease cortisol.

Get better sleep with regular strength training because it really is a healthy way to reduce stress. When we sleep well, we are better able to handle stressful situations using better decision making skills.

Many studies are showing that strength training can lower symptoms of depression by boosting the amazing triad of hormones: dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. They’re responsible for motivation, drive, and mood stability, and they can be regulated by elevating your heart rate any which way, be it through strength training or cardio.

The article references a study that looked at neuroplasticity in those that did regular strength training. Amazingly, researchers noticed an increase of strength in muscles and new connections between neurons, muscles, bones, and awareness of the body. This new connections of neurons can be established with the learning of a new skill. Learning how to strength train is learning a new skill. If you establish that as a foundation of learning, it becomes easier to intuitively understand how strength training directly impacts the way we control our attention and the way we regulate our focus and emotions.

Have feedback, thoughts, or want to share how exercise affects your mental health, let me know in the comments below!

Per this blog’s disclaimer, statements made here are not for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All the information contained in this blog is for educational and informational use only.

Published by coachelda

Hi, I’m Elda! Personal Trainer, Powerlifting Coach, Full-Time Psychology Student...when my head is not in books, I will use this blog to share my love of exercise, exploring positive mental health practices, and other favorites with you.

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