EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
Maximal strength training as an intervention to improve the mental health and wellbeing of survivors of intimate partner violence
This project aims to examine the use of maximal strength training (MST) as a therapeutic approach to rebuild feelings of power and control for survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). Physical activity is an empowering experience for women and has been positively correlated with self-efficacy, self-esteem and confidence. Higher levels of self-efficacy have been linked to increased resilience to adversity and decreased vulnerability to stress and depression, all of which are essential factors for recovering from IPV. For women, physical activities focused on increasing female physical strength, such as MST, are believed to be particularly beneficial as they challenge the traditional stereotype of female physical weakness and promote a sense of competence, confidence, independence and control over their bodies.
This project aims to assess the viability of an MST program to empower and improve the mental health of survivors of IPV.
The program is being run in two 10-week blocks. During the 10-week training block, women attend two one-hour training sessions per week. Each training session accommodates 10 women and is facilitated by two qualified strength and conditioning coaches. The training sessions are centred around maximal strength training, a training style focused on increasing physical strength.
This is a mixed methods study. Participants complete pre- and post-intervention measures. These include questionnaires relating to their mental health and wellbeing, an isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP), a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan and an interview on completion of the program.