Vladimir Putin lifts weights, so what’s your excuse?


The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has been known some time now for his public displays of alpha masculinity, like riding in a small submarine to the bottom of the Black Sea, helping to tag a tiger by shooting it with tranquilizer darts, and riding horseback without a shirt on. While he isn’t ripped, he’s 62 years old and looks better than about 95% of men his age. I’ve suspected that he’s a weightlifter, although he has claimed to be a mere “sportsman”.

Now my suspicion has been confirmed: Daily Mail: Putin launches a new arms race: Action man Vlad’s latest photo stunt shows him and Russian PM Medvedev pumping iron in the gym (… but this time he keeps his shirt ON).

Do you think there’s a correlation between Putin’s status as Leader of the Free World (heh) and the fact that he lifts weights? You bet there is. Weightlifting is both a cause and a consequence of a more masculine appearance, outlook, and behavior. Men who don’t feel all that masculine are less likely to take up the practice; but if they do, they soon feel more masculine. Whether that’s due to a rise in testosterone, or the good feeling that comes with knowing that you can shift a lot of weight around, or the increased heart and respiration rates, or the camaraderie of the gym, or some combination thereof, it works.

As for Putin’s politics, men with greater upper body strength are more likely to be opposed to socialist redistribution. (Psychological Science, The Telegraph.) Whether you think that’s a good thing or not, it is the case. Does getting stronger lead to more anti-socialist politics, or do the same genes that cause greater strength also influence our political views? I’d bet that there’s a bit of both going on there.

Not only are stronger men more anti-socialist, but muscle mass is a significant predictor of number of sex partners as well as age of first intercourse. Again, how much is correlation and how much is causation is a good question, but again I’d bet a bit of both. If you’re having a distinct lack of success with the ladies, heading to the gym and lifting some heavy weights is an excellent first step toward doing something about it.

Putin allegedly fathered a child this year by Alina Kabaeva, 31. Here they are:

putin and girlfriend

As I mentioned, Putin is 62, and I’m sure he’s well aware that he needs to stay in shape. As you get older, being fit is more difficult, and entropy has a way of taking over if you don’t do anything about it.

So if he’s doing it at his age, why aren’t you?

putin with ak-47


Leave a Comment:

Nate says September 2, 2015

Big fan of this site, but you misread that redistribution study. Greater strength is associated with more self-interested politics, so high SES men will show the effect you describe, but low SES men will show the opposite.

Also, the effect is pretty small.

    P. D. Mangan says September 2, 2015

    Went back and looked again, and you’re right. However, I assume that you, me, and everyone else reading this blog are of high SES 😉

Jokah Macpherson says September 2, 2015

“So if he’s doing it at his age, why aren’t you?”

Because no matter how much muscle I put on, I can’t seem to get Alina Kabaeva to notice me?

Tuba says November 23, 2015

Putin’s young still. I do the gym three days a week, cycle at least 90 miles, fast 90 hours, walk at least four hours every weekend. That said I hate going to the gym. I loathe every minute spent there. I get virtually no pleasure at all from going to the gym or exercising. I hate it. Camaraderie of the gym? Never heard of such a thing. I never talk to anyone at the gym. The music is too loud to even consider it. Though athletic I also never played any sport. I despise being on a team. Not my personality. I’d rather lose on my own than win on a team. I go to the gym, I lift, I hit the pool or sauna, then leave. I get a day off then drag myself back only to repeat. Exercise is good for me but I resent every minute spent doing it. I’ve had some people tell me they actually like exercise. That is way outside my ability to even comprehend.

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