chapter  5
17 Pages

Resistance training and mental health: Shawn M. Arent and Devon L. Golem

When applied appropriately, resistance training (RT) can produce significant increases

in muscular strength, hypertrophy, and endurance (Feigenbaum, 2001; Kraemer &

Ratamess, 2004). From a clinical standpoint, it also has the ability to positively impact

numerous health conditions such as arthritis, Type II diabetes, and musculoskeletal

dysfunction and injury (Graves & Franklin, 2001). In recent years, it has become

increasingly apparent that RT can impact psychological outcomes as well as the phy-

siological outcomes. While this effect has received considerably more support for

aerobic exercise, the findings for RT have been encouraging (see Landers & Arent,

2007). For example, RT has been linked with improvements in depressive symptoms

(e.g. North, McCullagh, & Tran, 1990), positive and negative affect (Arent, Landers,

& Etnier, 2000), self-efficacy (Ewart, 1989), and quality of life (e.g. Ettinger et al.,

1997). The purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief overview of the research

addressing the psychological responses to acute RT. In addition to summarizing the

extant literature, contemporary considerations in the RT-mental health relationship

such as the conceptualization of intensity, dose-response issues, and potential mech-

anisms underlying the psychological benefits of RTwill be addressed where sufficient

evidence is available. Directions for future research will also be identified.