Strength gains after resistance training: the effect of stressful, negative life events

J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Jul;22(4):1215-21. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318173d0bf.


This study was designed to examine the effect of self-reported, stressful life events on strength gains after 12 weeks of resistance training. Participants were 135 undergraduates enrolled in weight training classes that met for 1.5 hours, two times per week. After a 2-week period to become familiar with weight training, participants completed the college version of the Adolescent Perceived Events Scale (APES), the Social Support Inventory, and one-repetition maximal lifts (1RM) for the bench press and squat. Maximal lifts were repeated after 12 weeks of training. Median splits for stress and social support were used to form groups. Results indicated that the low stress participants experienced a significantly greater increase in bench press and squat than their high stress counterparts. Strength gains were, however, unrelated to social support scores in either the low or high stress group. High life stress may lessen a person's ability to adapt to weight training. It may benefit coaches to monitor their athletes' stress both within and outside the training setting to maximize their recovery and adaptation.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*