Weight Training Exercises to Combat Depression

Exercise is known to be therapeutic when it comes to reducing stress and improving one’s mood. While cardio boasts the ‘runner’s high,’ some research has shown that strength training is an effective form of exercise that can help to fight depression and leave you with uplifted spirits.

According to studies published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, researchers have proven that it’s not just aerobic exercise that can help to reduce and prevent depression but lifting weights can also have an equally positive effect on our mental health.

Whether you call it resistance training, strength training, or weight training, all these forms of exercises help to build muscle, enhance endurance, and work to strengthen the entire body.

Weight Training Exercises

Strength training involves weight lifting and exercises using your body weight such as push-ups.

1. Squats

Squats are an excellent exercise that doesn’t just work out your glutes but engages all the major muscles in the body.


  • Stand with your feet about 6 inches apart and place your arms in front of your chest, bringing palms to touch.
  • Keep your core tight and engaged.
  • Now as you bend your knees, lower down as if you are going to sit on a chair.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you come back up.
  • Repeat this exercise for at least 30 seconds.

2. Bicep Curls

Bicep curls leave you with sculpted arms and engage the core muscles to keep them strong and tight.


  • Using a heavy or light dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet hip-width distance apart and your hands placed by your sides.
  • Your elbows should be close to your body and, only moving the forearms, squeeze your biceps and lift the dumbbells upwards and bring them back down.
  • You have the option to perform this exercise on your knees and hinge backward to keep the core engaged.
  • Repeat bicep curls for about 30 seconds.

3. Triceps Extensions

When you work on biceps, it’s important to work on the triceps as well. Triceps extensions will improve arm strength and tone the upper body.


  • Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart and hold a heavy or light dumbbell in between your hands. Your arms should be placed forward.
  • Gently raise your arms over your head and using your forearms, lower the dumbbell behind your head, until you reach the nape of your neck.
  • Raise your arms overhead again and lower them back down.
  • Repeat this exercise for about 30 seconds. You have the option to perform this exercise on your knees

4. Push-Ups

Push-ups are not meant to be easy. A great exercise that works out your entire body, push-ups boost cardiovascular function and improve your posture.


  • Get onto your hands and knees and position yourself into a high plank. Your legs should be hip-width distance apart and your shoulders should be stacked above your wrists.
  • Start to lower your body towards the ground until your elbows are bent about 90 degrees.
  • Immediately push back up to a high plank and repeat.
  • Perform push-ups for about 30 seconds.
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Reynolds, G. (2018, June 06). Weight Training May Help to Ease or Prevent Depression. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/06/well/weight-training-may-help-to-ease-or-prevent-depression.html

Loria, K. (2018, May 11). Strength training doesnt just build muscle – it also helps fight depression, a new study found. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/depression-symptoms-reduced-by-strength-training-exercise-2018-5

Bicep Curls | Illustrated Exercise Guide. (2017, October 23). Retrieved from https://www.spotebi.com/exercise-guide/biceps-curl/