How Bodybuilding Benefits People With Autism and Other Special Needs

Woman with down syndrome and autism doing rope exercise with trainer


Have you ever thought about how many benefits bodybuilding has brought you? I’m sure it is… You’ve probably never realized how much strength training, especially with the help of PEDs like the ones from Syn Pharma Canada, can bring benefits to groups of people who are often not seen in gyms.

In recent years, much has been said and continues to be said about “social inclusion”, including groups of people who were forgotten and excluded, bringing them into contemporary society in the most natural way.

In other words, who hasn’t heard of creating easy access for people with physical disabilities or even learning centers for children with atypical intellectual developments? And who hasn’t heard of creating rights that guarantee that all people, whether normal or atypical, both physical and motor), have the same access and/or treatment conditions when stopping other people without such restrictions?

Well, these are just very superficial examples of what could be called inclusion and that in reality is far from existent. However, this is not our focus. The discussion about social inclusion itself would lead to a very critical and great prologue.

The intention is to comment on how strength training can help these groups of people and to show how this can be useful. This is because, during these years of “greater attention” to these groups, the practice of bodybuilding has also undergone numerous evolutions and among them one can see exactly the development that happened in such areas (which, although small, existed and still exists) and breaking plateaus, making this another of the advantages obtained with such practices.

But have you ever thought about who exactly could help with strength training? Have you ever thought about the mechanisms by which this could happen?

I have brought some of these perspectives into this article so that you can also help and motivate people with disabilities to follow such practices. And if you have physical limitations, you may be able to get the same benefits.

Bodybuilding and atypical motor development

For those who have developments without limitations, exercise is certainly something so natural that the individual does not even realize how important it is in his life. And this is only noticed if you feel some kind of movement restriction, for example, when you break a limb and have to put it in plaster or even, during a game, they tie up part of your body, thereby excluding the movement.

Many people are born with limitations in their movements or in the first months of their lives they begin to show these limitations or unusual developments, and many reasons lead to this, but normally, when a person is born with such a trait, it is due to character. genetic.

The further one is from the physical practice, the further one is from the possibility of becoming involved in the world, after all, it depends on movement and depends on physical function for one’s fundamental survival.

It is known that strength training can increase nerve stimuli, just as, promotes not only motor adaptations but, neuromotor, thereby promoting movement as a whole.

This means that it can be used directly to help the individual control his movements that have an unusual development and to ensure that these movements are not foreign and that they can be used for the individual’s favor and goals.

In addition, motor coordination, the relationship with the external environment, and other factors are generally better. The effort required for weight-bearing physical activities can be seen as something beneficial to sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass and strength), which is very common in individuals with atypical motor developments, as they are typically less physically active, which contributes to muscle loss.

Without a doubt, people born with motor problems may benefit from strength training. But let’s also talk about people who get a physical or motor disability in the course of their lives, such as amputations, loss of movement due to a degenerative disease, etc.

These individuals not only have the same benefits like those mentioned in the first case but they can still be considered physical exercises are essential in this case. This is because relearning how to use the body and how to “act” in the face of new physical loads will be fundamental.

It is common for people who have an amputated limb, for example, to stop practicing physical activities, while the opposite would be correct.

As physical activities will allow the individual to reintegrate with himself and help not only in physical aspects but also in psychological aspects, giving confidence and a greater sense of self-worth, as well as motivation to overcome their difficulties.

Bodybuilding includes not only people with physical motor problems but also other problems, such as problems with vision, hearing, or even speech. All these factors, also bring with them various improvements, such as balance and proprioception in individuals with hearing and/or visual impairments, integration with people with speech impairments, etc.

In general, atypical motor developments or even pre-existing or post-existing physical disabilities at birth can be alleviated with strength training which, by the way, is a safe exercise, without impact, and with very high efficiency at all these points and others that we would like to call hours.


ALSO READ: The Effect of Social Scents on People With Autism


Bodybuilding in the face of atypical intellectual development

Atypical intellectual developments can also occur throughout life, but for the most part, they are inserted from birth. For example, one of the most common conditions is Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, etc.

First of all, the main way strength training can help is through integration with other people. Usually, these people close or exclude themselves from society and socialization.

Undoubtedly, one of the aspects that these individuals should see the most when practicing physical activities is how physical activity can bring them to relatively normal socialization, which is already very difficult due to social aspects.

Second, the restoration of motor views is fundamental for these groups. This is because, in addition to the natural tendency to exercise less physical activities, they usually have hormonal changes that lead to consequences such as muscle loss and sarcopenia.

This indirectly causes blood lipid levels and insulin sensitivity to change, among other harmful metabolic changes. Therefore, practicing physical activities gets these people moving again and directly also has stimuli under the hormonal parts, which are essential for the body.

Finally, it’s important to emphasize both self-esteem and the ability to do things on your own (self-reliance).

Is bodybuilding suitable for these groups of people? Are the chances of good development the same as for a person without disabilities?

If we put all the beneficial possibilities of strength training on the table, we do not doubt that it is an excellent option for the groups mentioned. In the same way, however, we must put on the table the real possibilities that exist in our society or even in societies with greater social development.

It would be hypocritical to say that it is not utopian to think that there is easy access to these people, or that there is insufficient preparation to work with these people. Apart from the fact that there are very few sources of specific studies of these cases today regarding the practice of bodybuilding, the social barriers themselves still exist and it is often up to the professional to adapt the environment as much as possible to accommodate these people.

Somehow I mean that In general, society still does not adequately deal with people with some kind of disability.

Have you ever thought about how hard it is to go out on a cold or rainy day, without the desire to train, just to train? Now imagine the same situation for a person who, in addition to these same problems, still has limitations on his locomotion.

Everything becomes even more difficult. When you arrive at the gym, you have all the machine support and can adjust everything needed with little effort. But what about these people? Are the chances of them having the same? Can they use all types of machines or does it depend on your disability? Would it be possible to have professionals who are properly qualified to deal with them or who could have them enter a medium, without any exclusion?

The inclusion paradigms are real and they exist. However, society does NOT treat these people equally, on the contrary: The more equal this treatment tries to be, the more unequal it becomes.

So, in an even sadder way, it is necessary to remember all kinds of existing prejudices. This prejudice lasts for generations and will hardly cease to exist.

Anything that deviates from ‘normal’ is not commonly seen by society, and that is the truth. Although incorrect, the conception of what is different is often distorted.

Before we only think about the proper benefits and methods of bodybuilding for limited groups, we need to think about how these methods and capabilities can achieve them efficiently, otherwise, they will be no more than theories on paper.

The reflections we could make about this could form a book, it is essential that you can think about it and especially change your attitude, especially if you are a professional who is directly involved in these changes, such as a physical education teacher.


In general, we can define the various limitations (mistakenly called disabilities), physical or intellectual, that may be of genetic origin (which are born with the individuals in question) or acquired by some event in the course of life.

These restrictions are undoubtedly harmful to health and the social environment. However, strength training can be an important tool in the lives of these individuals, involving them more in society and also making a positive contribution to their health.

However, for these theories to move from paper to practice, it is necessary to adapt items that are already consolidated in society and that ultimately result in the difficulty of these processes or even result in the enormous inequality we see today.

Therefore, we need to think not only about the improvements in bodybuilding but also about how they will be applied. Only in this way will we have better and better developments and we can transform bodybuilding into something universal.