Effects of acute resistance training of different intensities and rest periods on anxiety and affect

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Aug;24(8):2184-91. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181ae794b.


The affective benefits associated with aerobic exercise are well documented. However, literature concerning resistance exercise has suggested a more variable response (i.e., a short duration increase in state anxiety, which eventually is reduced below baseline) and thus may play an important role in the adoption and maintenance of a resistance training program. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of different intensities and rest period during resistance exercise on anxiety, positive affect, and negative affect while holding volume constant and controlling for self-efficacy. Using an experimental design, individuals enrolled in a weight training class (n = 104) were randomly assigned 1 of 5 exercise conditions (control, low-long, low-short, high-long, and high-short), varying intensities, and rest time. Anxiety and positive and negative affect measurements were collected immediately following the exercise workouts. Data from separate analyses of covariance revealed a significant main effect for condition on positive affect (p = 0.026), in which the low-long group reported significantly higher positive affect than the control group, at 5-minute postexercise. Similar analysis indicated a significant main effect for time on anxiety (p = 0.003), with the highest anxiety detected at 5-minute postexercise, and significant reductions in anxiety at both 20-minute and 40-minute postexercise. In conclusion, these results suggest that the variation of intensity and rest time had a modest short-term effect on psychological states, following an acute bout of resistance exercise. Personal trainers and health professionals may want to emphasize light-intensity resistance programs for novice clients to maximize psychological benefits, which in turn, may positively affect compliance and adherence.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Affect / physiology*
  • Anxiety / physiopathology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychological Tests
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Young Adult