Anger, Arousal, Testosterone & Weightlifting

Wow, I just read a great article on this topic, but it was so NSFW that I may not reshare it. The basic premise is sound and I’ve read other supporting research on the topic. Basically, there are a number of things that elevate testosterone production, help you lift heavier, feel less pain, and grow more muscle (for both men AND women). The simple act of squeezing the barbell really, really hard; angry music; cursing; sexual imagery; violent imagery; etc. all seem to have an effect.

While all of these may not appeal to you (surprise, surprise), I have been practicing two of these and it does work. I’ve always listened to “angry” pump-you-up music on the way to the gym. It gets me in the right mood to lift heavy. For the last 2 weeks I have also started squeezing the bar really hard as I prepare to lift (e.g., for Deadlift and Squats). Much to my surprise the weight immediately felt lighter! Pretty cool.

So, at the very least, try squeezing the bar REALLY hard the next time you lift. And it may not kill you to put a few Death Metal songs on your iPod. Hey, I’m not asking you to love it. Just try it and see if you hit some new PRs the next time you’re in the gym.


  1. NK on December 19, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Hi, I stumbled across your blog because of your FANTASTIC Tough Mudder review post. I plan on participating in the Michigan/Ohio TM in April which has many of the same obstacles you posted about, and I really appreciate the time you took to write advice for preparing!

    I am wondering if you’d be willing to post/email me the article referenced in this post–I have had what I see as negative hormonal effects since beginning weight training (and changing my diet) in October, and I have been trying to find more information about it but there’s not a lot out there, so every little bit helps! 

  2. Anonymous on December 19, 2011 at 11:33 am

    No problem, let me email it to you

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