The myths that surround weight lifting are numerous. These myths have developed over the years, and are hard to dispel.
I’m going to explore some of them here. There are many more than the ones listed here, but these are the most common and misunderstood ones.
I’ll Get Too Big If I Lift Weights
Usually, this is believed by the person with the least amount of inclination, capability and determination to work hard and get big. It’s just a lame excuse. Often women fall into this category, thinking somehow that they’re going to get big muscles from lifting weights. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Do you really think those guys that are professional body builders got those muscles by going to the gym only for an hour 3 days a week??! NOPE!! The guy on the left spends his entire life at the gym.
Gaining lots of muscle is a task that requires dedication, commitment and lots and lots of healthy eating. It doesn’t come easily and it doesn’t come quickly.
I’m Too Old To Lift Weights
Weight lifting is beneficial for men and women from puberty to 99. I do mean that. It’s good for everyone.
There have been numerous studies that show strength training can slow the aging process, help stability as people age, stop the loss of bone mass, increase cardiovascular health and generally contribute to a greater quality of life.
Everyone over the age of 50 should be lifting weights or doing some sort of strength training to improve the quality of their life by keeping their bodies healthy and fit.
Here is a workout routine designed for men over 60.
My Muscles Will Turn to Fat If I Stop Lifting
Here’s what happens.
If you stop working out, your muscles will atrophy (reduce in size and strength) over time, and because you stop working out, you will most probably gain fat, unless you dramatically change your diet to adjust to not working out.
You Have To Lift Heavy To See Results
This debate goes on and on.
The sweet spot is somewhere in the 6 to 15 rep range. Lifting a moderate weight in that rep range creates an optimal balance of muscular tension and metabolic stress.
Lifting a moderate weight in that rep range creates an optimal balance of muscular tension and metabolic stress. That amount of work will maximize your protein synthesis when you consume some protein after your workout. The result will be serious gains in size, strength, and power.
The key is lifting to the point of fatigue or even failure.
A technique that I use and teach is called the Power Triangle method and uses different weights and different rep ranges to maximize the stress on the muscle. The result is better gains in muscle size and strength.
Weight Lifting Will Make You Less Flexible
If done correctly, weight lifting can actually have the opposite effect. Studies show that resistance training improves flexibility.
The key is to work through a full range of motion while lifting. For example, lifting a barbell all the way up and all the way back down during a chest press will help you use the full potential of your chest and shoulders.
Machines are Safer & More Effective Than Free Weights
Weight machines isolate muscles and force your body to move in a single plane of motion, which can limit your range of motion and reduce the amount of good you get from your workout.
Lifting free weights, on the other hand, has been shown to recruit more muscles and can result in greater strength gains. Making the body engage more fully, when you’re lifting weights, also has the added benefit of increasing your balance, your core and the muscles that help with stability.
Women Are Afraid They’ll Look Like Men If They Lift Weights.
A woman would have to inject herself with male testosterone and male hormones to even have a chance of gaining big muscles and looking like this woman!! Women are just not designed to gain muscle. With lots and lots of weight training, they can get toned, but never muscular.
When you see those extremely muscular women bodybuilders, they have taken massive doses of male hormones to look like that. It is NOT NATURAL. No woman could look like that naturally.
Weight Lifting Is Bad For Your Joints
It’s a common misconception that weight lifting is harmful to your joints.
Published studies have found that people who were suffering from knee pain experienced a major reduction in pain when they performed weight bearing exercises. They were also better at performing daily tasks and reported a higher quality of life than those who didn’t strength train.
This is because strength training can help grow strength in the structures around your joints, causing them to be better supported.
More studies have shown that weight training strengthens joints and improves their health. Joints that are mild/moderately stressed will secrete more natural joint fluid that lubricates the joint. Even arthritic joints can benefit from mild/moderate weight training.
Cardio Is The Best Way To Burn Fat
This is a myth that is still believed by many, many people. I just recently wrote about this and you can read my article on this subject here.
There are tons of people who hit the treadmill for hours and believe they’re going to lose fat with this cardio exercise.
Experts used to think that aerobic exercise burned more calories than pumping iron. It seems like it would make sense because cardio workouts can make you sweat and feel tired, so you feel like you’ve burned a lot of calories.
But it turns out that strength training has more calorie burning potential than it’s been given credit for. Research has found that completing a circuit of eight exercises can burn more calories than a half hour of strenuous cardio exercise.
In fact, the term “cardio” shouldn’t be limited to just aerobic exercise. Circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than if you ran at 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate.
Circuit training provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of cardio exercise, while strengthening your muscles at the same time. This way you get both – muscles and an aerobic exercise.
Here’s a video talking about some other myths. It confirms some we’ve already talked about.
So now you know some of the most prevalent myths about weight lifting. You probably have some beliefs yourself that you don’t realize are myths.
If you just use common sense, take heed of the myths we’ve presented here, you’ll have awesome workouts and get healthy and fit.
See you at the gym.