T Nation

Lifting Slightly Buzzed, or Otherwise

First I want to start off by saying I don’t think mixing alcohol and weights is a good idea.

That being said, I see it all the time (social media), and I know there are some meets that are tailored to the act, such as “deadlifts and whiskey” or something similar.

Has anyone ever had alcohol HELP a lift? Just looking for any good stories, thought it would be an interesting topic. Obviously alcohol is detrimental to your overall training, but is there any benefit to using it for a lift?

I had a military buddy over, and we were bullshitting, and I decided to try and give my OHP PR a go, and I got it up no problem. I was way more than “buzzed” also. I think the alcohol helped me overcome the anxiety of attempting the PR. In hindsight thought, it was foolish.

Got the PR though, so… hahaha.


LOL. Sounds like something I might have tried as a young man.
If you want to be good at doing something whilst drunk you have to practice it whilst drunk.
UFC fighter Forrest Griffin and his buddies used to practice fighting whilst drunk, it supposedly helped him when he got into barfights.

Funny, yes. In all seriousness I see it ending in badly for the average joe that tries it too often. Especially if the are going for a PR bench with no spotter.

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Chris Duffin has an article, I think maybe a video too, about the whiskey and deadlifts thing. The idea is to take a shot before a heavy lift, supposedly it works for some people. I tried it one time with some rum and it didn’t do anything for me.

This is not a new thing either, people were doing this decades ago. Josh Bryant has an interview with a guy named Joe Bradley who was one of the best powerlifters of all time, he used to take a shot before deadlift attempts sometimes but he also said that the performance-enhancing benefits only last a few seconds.

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You don’t even need to be drinking for that to end up badly.

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Sounds like projectile vomit at lockout to me

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Perhaps taking a shot could conceivably hype you up for a couple seconds, but alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and negatively affects coordination, so it SHOULDNT work. However, in the Marines, I was in the small group of “those guys” who would drink til like 2AM and get up for a formation run at 430AM, and would finish like 5-6 mile runs and barely remember any of it. A few people really disliked me because of that, since I’d be sweating out whiskey and farting in front of them the entire time. If there’s any benefit to more than a single or couple shots of alcohol prior to exercise, it comes down to the removal of self doubt.


I had a pint of Sierra Nevada while doing my workout in my garage a couple of weeks ago, but wasn’t buzzed. It just sounded refreshing to have during my workout. Much better than a fancy “recovery drink”, and much cheaper too.


If the cns depression reduces nociception then I could see it being of some benefit.

Realistically though, me and some buddies used to pound beers and do rails while lifting but it never amounted to anything measurable in terms of strength. Probably because of all the pills we were popping though. Those things will kill ya!


You ever hear about people running marathons and drinking hard liquor to get through it? It sounds crazy, but apparently there was some Greek guy who won a bunch of marathons years ago, he was drinking this stuff called Ouzo the whole time. A guy who was into marathon running was telling me about this, something about alcohol being easier for the body to process for energy at the time. And apparently it is now prohibited to drink during any kind of sanctioned races of that sort, I imagine some people would have tried that and ended up badly.

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I’ve done curls, raises and chin-ups while drunk before…never done any big bb lifts though, those are off limits I think in terms of inebriated sessions!

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Alcohol, in some respects, is the ultimate fuel: when ingested, your body suspends everything else and sets about metabolising it.

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That’s one of the places I saw it. I saw him do the Squat, Row, whiskey then deadlift. if I remember the order correct. Thought it was interesting.

Interesting. that’s a very small window of opportunity then. I definitely was “outside” that window, if there is one.


Eww, have you ever had Ouzo? It’s Licorice flavored, kind of like Absinthe. Sounds fucking vile to run a marathon after.

Can’t speak to drinking but I have lifted after smoking. It makes everything feel heavy, even the day after smoking weights just feel heavy.

Great for high rep pump work though IMO

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My partner and I generally go to a wine tasting on Friday’s after our workout. One day scheduling was messed up and we went to the tasting before our workout (she twisted my arm, what can I say). And BTW the tasting is generous in terms of what they pour. So probably approximately 1.5-2 glasses worth. We ended up collectively having a great workout. We were a bit looser (not surprising) and had that slightly buzzed glow.

Also, if I remember correctly, Arnold extolled the virtues of working out with a slight buzz in Pumping Iron. In fact that’s what my partner cited before we did it, ha.

Once during a WOD I drank two beers I was a bit drunk and it didn’t really help me (it was 10 kilometers row with 200 m crouching walk or whatever each km)

Weights , no. Mountain biking, Yes.

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Haha I’ve actually done it before mountain biking. Sweaty palm death grip on the handle bars for the first 30 mins. After I loosen up though I do like it

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an efficient, high level lifter will not benefit from alcohol consumption, unless we’re talking about within the first 5 minutes after consumption of 1-2 shots. Duffin’s premise with the whiskey/deadlifts is a) you only use it for your 3rd attempt, so that it ONLY affects one lift. b) you do it 5 minutes or less before your attempt, so that the only affect of it is removal of inhibition.

I don’t know if it truly works for everyone, but deadlifts are a funny thing, and aggression is such a big factor in deadlift PR’s that I think it can work for some people.


Thank you for breaking that down. That’s partially what I assumed was the benefit.

That’s the benefit I got from it, however, I was way outside that 5 minute mark. Still worked, for me at least.