Focus on Resistance: the Psychology of Strength Exercises in Overweight People

  • G.A. ten Hoor
  • G. Kok
  • T.J. Frissen
  • G. Plasqui


Background| Obesity has become a growing problem, where not only metabolic health, but also psychological wellbeing is decreased. A long-term effective program should focus on both one’s biological and psychological strengths. For overweight people, strength exercises might be the answer. From a biological perspective, there is a consensus that strength training results in long term positive effects on metabolic and cardiovascular health. What are the psychological consequences of these biological insights? Methods| A systematic review using Pubmed and Psychinfo. Findings and discussion| Resistance exercises might trigger the intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy that is lacking in aerobic exercise programs. Overweight people notice that 1) resistance exercises are relatively easier than aerobic exercises; 2) their performance will be better than the performance of their normal weight counterparts, and 3) their performance will improve more compared to both aerobic exercises and compared to the normal weight. We assume that to make overweight and obese people healthier, stronger, more confident (and feeling better in general), this is the answer.
Oral presentations