You’ve been working out hard—lifting weights, squatting, and doing push-ups—but you still don’t seem to break a good sweat to lose weight. You might ask, “Why dont I sweat when I lift weights?”
There might be a couple of reasons you don’t sweat enough when weightlifting. It might mean you are not exerting yourself enough. It could also mean that you have a severe medical condition.
This article will discuss the different reasons and help you better understand why you’re not sweating when you lift weights. If you’re interested to learn more, keep reading.
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So, Why Do You Not Sweat When Lifting Weights?
Many believe that sweating is a sign of a good workout. People sweat differently during weight training, and perspiration collects in different areas in different ways. Although little to no sweating may not indicate how well you worked out, it could be a sign of other health issues.
You might sweat as much as other people when lifting weights. Some reasons could be hereditary and environmental. In any case, weight lifting isn’t the most sweat-inducing workout because of the long rest periods.
In addition, most individuals shouldn’t worry too much about how much they sweat while lifting or exercising. Sweat isn’t an excellent indicator of a workout’s effectiveness and has no connection to losing weight.
What Is Sweat?
The glands in your skin create sweat, a transparent and salty liquid. The body begins to sweat as a mechanism to regulate its body temperature once it starts to feel overheated. Therefore, your body cools itself by sweating.
Most of your sweat is also concentrated on your feet, palms, and underarms. Sweat and bacteria on your skin might combine to produce an odor. However, regular bathing and using antiperspirants or deodorants can manage the smell.
It’s normal to sweat a lot in hot weather when you exercise or have a fever. Furthermore, it occurs with menopause.
According to Eric Ascher, DO, a family physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, the absence of sweating is referred to as anhidrosis or hypohidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is the term for excessive sweating regularly. Low blood sugar, neurological system abnormalities, thyroid issues, and other medical conditions are some of the causes.
Extreme cases can be fatal, but mild cases that affect only one area of your body may not even be noticeable.
Does Sweating Help You Burn More Calories?
It’s simple to presume that sweat and exercise are related since we frequently associate them. But sweating doesn’t always indicate how hard you work or how many calories you burn.
Consider taking a hot yoga session or running outside on a hot day. Doing yoga helps burn fat. If you walk on the scale afterward, you will likely see that you’ve lost a few pounds. But remember that weight loss is transient and consists of water weight rather than fat. You’ll rehydrate.
According to one study, men burned around 460 calories in a 90-minute Bikram class, while women burned around 330. Much less than you’d imagine, right? This test allows heated classes to develop muscular flexibility rather than calorie burn.
As a result, even though you might be sweating much more than you would in a typical power yoga class, you probably burn fewer calories because this type of yoga isn’t as demanding.
6 Reasons You Don’t Sweat When Lifting Weights
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than it absorbs. It can also impair cognitive function by as little as 1% and physical health performance by as much as 2%. Athletes don’t want to be in that situation.
Your body may be unable to sweat as much if you don’t drink enough water. Instead, it will attempt to retain what little water it does have. As a result, it increases the risk of overheating. And if you’ve ever tried to move something heavy while you’re hot, you know it’s not fun and can even be risky.
So, if you want to sweat a little more, try drinking extra water and see if that helps.
Hypohidrosis is an uncontrollable factor that may prevent you from sweating (also called anhidrosis). This genetic condition or mutation prevents the production of sweat.
Even though the DNA mutation has been linked to reported sweat gland damage (more on that later), scientists are still perplexed as to how families of people can share the same problem while having healthy sweat glands.
Some additional medical conditions include autonomic dysfunction, autoimmune diseases, different drugs, surgeries, tumors, and nerve damage that can cause hyperhidrosis.
Many believe that despite having fewer sweat glands than women, men have more active glands that produce more moisture. Hence the belief that men sweat more than women.
Researchers have published numerous papers supporting the theory, making it a hot topic. One research examined men and women and those with varying degrees of fitness.
In the experiment, four groups—trained men, trained women, untrained men, and untrained women—performed a stationary cycling routine for an hour in a heated room to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
The study’s author discovered that although active, fit men and women used about the same number of sweat glands, those glands in men produced more perspiration. Likewise, untrained women sweat the least despite working out harder and at greater temperatures than trained women.
4. Fitness Level
Although your workout session may be very intense, you may already be accustomed to that. You may also use your body for a particular type of activity if you’re a CrossFitter or endurance athlete accustomed to a certain degree of intensity.
Thus, you might sweat less than those attempting their first WOD or running their first 5k.
On the other hand, those who perform intensive exercise frequently are more prone to sweat. Therefore, it truly depends on how your sweat cards turn out. The environment of your gym and your level of hydration will impact how much you sweat, even if your workout is vigorous and you are physically fit.
5. Not Exerting Enough
If you’re only cycling two miles per hour on a bike, don’t be surprised if you’re not sweaty. The same applies if you’re not sweating when lifting weights, especially if you’re not aiming for complex weights.
According to Heidi Prather, MD, a board-certified dermatologist from Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas, “Amount of exertion directly affects the metabolic rate, heart rate, heat generation, and amount of sweat generated.” She also stated that the more activity, the more it leads to sweating.
Your body cools down due to the sweat on your skin evaporating.
“While not sweating is uncommon and harmful, remember that some individuals tend to sweat more than others even when engaging in the same activity,” advises Dr. Ascher. “Larger folks typically have heavier perspiration.”
6. Medication, Medical Conditions, and Surgeries
A wide range of drugs, including those frequently taken for blood pressure, allergies, pain, and mood, can also cause dehydration and diuretics.
Several instances include:
- The use of morphine and other opioid painkillers
- Anticholinergics (drugs used to treat several conditions, such as Parkinson’s, urine incontinence, and heart disease)
- Tricyclic mood stabilizers
- Certain antipsychotic drugs
- Topamax and other antiepileptic medications (topiramate)
- Medicines for high blood pressure
Why Not Sweating Enough After Weight Training or a Good Workout Can Be a Problem
Lack of sweat can result in specific potentially dangerous health problems.
Lifting heavy weights, strenuous physical labor, or hot weather can all lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke if hyperhidrosis affects a significant area of your body and interferes with appropriate cooling.
Moreover, children are particularly susceptible to this condition because their body temperatures increase faster than adults. They also have less efficient heat-exchange mechanisms.
These individuals can experience internal overheating, which can cause mortality in severe circumstances and make the condition risky. Hypohidrosis patients are likely unable to withstand physical activity or extreme temperatures.
Moreover, people with hyperhidrosis may also notice that they get weak, lightheaded, or overheated easily, in addition to their lack of sweating. They could also feel muscle cramping and skin flushing.
How to Increase Sweating While Working Out
Measure your heart rate while working out to ensure you exercise at your target heart rate. Doing this is the best way to know if you are working out hard enough. Use a target heart rate calculator to calculate this amount if you need help with how to do it.
However, these figures should only be used as a general guide because they are unreliable.
Also, pay attention to your body. How fast is your heart beating? Do you believe you are working hard? Do you feel heated even when you aren’t sweating? You can determine whether you need to increase your workout by answering each of these questions.
So, start upping the intensity of your workout if you discover that you need to work out harder.
Sweat and exercise go hand in hand. However, the person in the squat rack next to you has to sweat more than you do. Even if you aren’t sweating much, you may still be working hard.
Knowing why you might not sweat during your workout could be as easy as observing your daily fluctuations in sweat production, or it could just be a sign of your gym’s air conditioning system.
If you notice abnormalities in how your body perspires, especially if you don’t sweat even after a rigorous workout, it’s time to consult a doctor.
If you like this review, please read our other reviews at ExpertFitness.org.
Other related articles:
- Is Overhead Press Necessary?
- How Often Should You Go to the Gym?
- Does Lifting Weights Make You Shorter?
Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.