Yes, any physical activity is good for any body. And the best sport or physical activity for you is the one that you enjoy doing the most. But personally as an introvert who has tried out many, many different forms of exercise, I believe that the best sport for introverts is weight lifting.
While this post is mostly just lighthearted fun, I really do think weight training celebrates many of the great characteristics of introverts.
Introverts are people who get their energy (or recharge their batteries) by being alone, in contrast to extroverts who gain energy by being around other people. Introverts still enjoy and love spending time with people but it uses up energy instead of rebuilding energy. Similar to how exercise is enjoyable but it uses up energy – nothing wrong with that. It should also be noted that the introvert-extrovert personality is a spectrum, not individual categories.
Obviously weight lifting allows one to put on headphones and not talk to or interact with anyone in the gym the entire workout. Sometimes this helps us recharge and sometimes it is nice to get to know a few of your fellow regular gym-goers. But what this post is about is that strength training actually offers introverts so much more. Weight lifting encourages and celebrates many of the beneficial qualities of introvert personalities that are often overlooked.
Introverts are not dependent people and we relish our ability to handle whatever life throws at us. We love that freedom.
Weight lifting honors this introvert tendency to be self sufficient. Building strength simply makes you more capable of easily doing any remotely physical life task such as lifting heavy things off of shelves in the grocery store or washing heavy pots. Mentally, the process of formulating a lifting plan, sticking to it, and watching your strength grow over time further builds confidence and pride in self-sufficiency.
Introverts know how to concentrate and pay attention to subtle clues.
Lifting weights requires dedicated attention during the full range of movement to the particular target muscle groups. Mind-muscle connection is a serious issue in strength training and introverts have a step up here by having longterm practice fixing the mind on a particular focus.
Introverts tend to be driven and disciplined. With less concern for seeking approval from external sources, introverts direct their energy to the pursuit of ambitious goals instead. This ambition often turns introverts into highly successful people.
While you CAN just walk up to some dumbbells and start lifting them haphazardly, this isn’t going to lead to meaningful strength or progress. Having a direction and strength training plan in mind will get you where you want to go (and keep you safe along the way). Quality strength training requires long term focus and discipline.
Good Listeners and Observant
Introverts listen, absorb and process information, and observe minute details well.
While I would encourage working with a trainer at least a few times for an external view of your movement pattern and correction if needed, introverts can learn the vast majority of what they need to know on their own.
There is so much you can learn doing your own research online. When reading articles or watching instructional videos (or being taught by a trainer), introverts are exceptionally good at listening effectively, observing closely, and absorbing details; we learn well this way.
Thoughtful Decision Makers
Introverts like to take their time to process information fully before making a decision or moving on to a new topic. This leads to very insightful and impactful ideas. But many aspects of life can make introverts feel pressured to make decisions faster than they feel comfortable doing. Not in weight lifting!
In weight lifting, you aren’t required to make decisions at the last split second. You have time to sit and think. Time to plan your routines each day. Time to read, learn, and change plans. Time to evaluate between sets (and even reps) what went well and what can be changed on the next one.
Thinking Outside the Box
Introverts tend to have little desire to conform to society’s rules which makes us exceptionally creative but also pushes us to think for ourselves and to not automatically believe everything we hear.
There is a vast expanse of information that is circulated about weight lifting and a lot of bad information (AKA “Bro Science”). Introverts enjoy reading and hearing many different sides/arguments/aspects and evaluating the evidence supporting some or refuting others.
Introverts are happy to absorb it all and decide which ideas are trustworthy and which ones should be avoided.
There can be a lot of showing off that happens in weight lifting sections of gyms. If you let it, it can become a very competitive environment. And if you start pushing yourself past what you can safely lift, you risk hurting yourself in the process.
But introverts avoid this behavior easily. Again, introverts have little interest in seeking approval from those they don’t respect. For this reason, we can enjoy doing our own thing no matter what anyone around us is doing or thinking and therefore we can lift weights much more enjoyably and more safely.
Being an introvert has so many advantages. While introverts can excel at any activity they set their mind to, I’ve found that weight lifting uniquely celebrates so many of these advantages.