Like every other human on the planet, my buddy Callum and I decided we wanted to get in shape this...
Beyond Bigger Biceps: Weightlifting Benefits that Have Nothing to do With Physique
Weightlifting is fast becoming an integral part of every man’s gym routine - and there’s a good reason for this.
The benefits of pumping iron are plenty; more and more studies are proving that weightlifting can significantly improve health and wellbeing, as well as promote self-confidence and sexual performance.
All men can benefit from incorporating weightlifting into their weekly routines.
Enhanced Brain Power
Weightlifting has been shown to stimulate cells in the brain to grow and divide, increasing its overall size and improving cognitive function.
The Georgia Institute of Technology reported that just twenty minutes of intense exercise enhanced long-term memory by 20% in adults.
Regular weightlifting was found to encourage the growth of the brain’s most important memory center - the hippocampus - significantly improving participants’ performance on memory-based exercises.
Improved Mental Health
The benefits of exercise on physical health are widely accepted. What’s lesser-known, however, is the profound impact that regular exercise, particularly weightlifting, can have on our mental health.
And it isn’t just a quick, fleeting mood boost that weightlifting can grant us.
The University of Vermont actually found that just twenty minutes of exercise stimulated feelings of happiness that lasted up to 12 hours.
The molecules responsible for this boost are called endorphins - tiny neurotransmitters released into the brain that work to inhibit pain signals and promote feelings of euphoria.
The result? Reduced feelings of anxiety and increased happiness - and that’s not forgetting the chiseled biceps you’ll have after hitting the dumbbells. Not bad.
Many turn to the squat rack in the hopes of quashing their insecurities and boosting self-confidence. And they’re doing the right thing.
Taking into account that many physical insecurities stem from poor body image, simply hitting the gym regularly and working to improve physical appearance can work wonders on your self-esteem.
Shedding body fat and putting on lean muscle mass will make you feel much better about the way you look, giving you the confidence to approach people and be yourself.
Improved posture is one of the biggest aesthetic benefits that can be achieved by lifting weights.
Strengthening your upper back and shoulder muscles with exercises like lat pulldowns and dumbbell flys will help you stand taller, maintaining a posture that’s far healthier for your spine.
Not only that, but a healthy, tall posture will also help you to feel more relaxed and confident.
As Amy Cuddy explains in her TED Talk, a study conducted showed that those who adopted ‘power poses’ - strong, open stances that convey self-assurance - for just a few minutes, felt far more confident during interviews than those that adopted a closed, less-dominant posture.
Simply by looking confident, after some time, you’ll actually start to feel more confident too.
Develop Discipline and Mental Strength
Lifting heavy weights is tough. It takes a lot of discipline to drag yourself to the gym, pushing yourself to new limits each time you lift weights.
Thus, weightlifting not only serves as excellent physical exercise, but it’s also a great way to improve mental strength.
During an intense workout, you’re forced to push past any self-limiting thoughts, completing each set regardless of whether or not feel like carrying on.
You learn that, even when your mind has given up, telling you that you’re too tired to continue, you still have it in you to pump out a couple more reps.
This is a crucial lesson that can be taken with you anywhere. (Not just the squat rack.)
Whether working on an arduous project at work, grinding late at night to meet deadlines, or running a marathon, you learn through lifting weights that you always have it in you to keep moving forward, even if your thoughts are telling you otherwise.
Discipline and mental strength are invaluable benefits of exercise that can improve our successes in all areas of life.