Busting Strength Training Myths!
Are you thinking about a change up, interested in lifting some weights and petrified at the concept?
You are not alone and this type of fear sits with most people in the early days of the ‘big man’s’ area of the gym.
Strength training is such a valuable aspect of any exercise program and unfortunately, dodged by so many people through fear of the misconceptions.
Here are some common myths around weight training that simply are not true, nor reason to avoid this seriously cool part of your fitness adventure!
1.You need specific equipment/gym:
The gym is obviously an awesome place to find everything that you need to follow a structured regime, but it’s not necessary at all to use this space to get an effective workout in.
Body weight exercises or simple equipment that you can use at home or outdoors can deliver some fantastic strength moves!
Yes.. I have been known to pick up 8 litre containers of water while on holiday and lunge walk across the terrace in the sun, while my friends sip cocktails!
2. It’s a man thing:
Trust me here.. it is NOT a man thing! Women are just as legendary with strength training and for plenty of reasons other than just grunting with a big lift.
Sure, back in the days of stripy pants, string vests and bicep curls in the squat rack, the weights area was hugely dominated by men, but ladies.. this is 2018 and none of us should skirt around squats and miss out on perky bottoms!
3. Not effective for cardio health:
I challenge you to give your set a red hot go, then tell me that you can’t feel the benefit to heart health!
Training properly and keeping your exercises honest will definitely give you a great session in terms of elevated heart rate and more blood flow to the working muscles as they ‘open up’ to receive the blood and then pump it back to the heart.
4. Going light is sufficient:
Nope, it's not and you do need to place enough resistance on your exercises to reap the benefit of them. When you are new to weight training or are starting with a new approach/routine etc, going lighter is fine while you find your groove but you should definitely go up with the weights as you work through your progressions.
5. I get too big!:
Can I see a show of hands from both the people that believe this AND for the experienced amongst you that know how silly this misconception is... wowsers!
Fact; you do indeed get 'bigger' when you build muscle and this is not a bad thing at all. What should be addressed as the concerning aspect of 'size', is the amount of body fat that you have which may remain unchanged in the early stages of training, hence, making you feel bigger.
Doesn't it make sense that every type of tissue occupies space, meaning if you are not working diligently on reducing your body fat percentage overall, any increase in muscle may have you feeling much bigger.
Would you prefer to have gorgeous muscle definition, a firmer physique and better angles OR hang on to the squidge that you hated enough to set some goals around reducing/changing this to begin with??
In short, be patient and over time your body composition DOES shift to reflect more of the good stuff... happy days!
6. Decreases flexibility:
Weight training can actually INCREASE flexibility! Let's use a stiff leg deadlift for an example; placing your hamstrings in a lengthened position with added resistance and time under tension can help to improve the range in which this muscle can fully extend.
Not stretching properly ( if at all ) is what can lead to tight muscles and an important reminder to include stretching/massage/myofacial release as part of your routine.
7. My muscles turn to fat when I stop training:
Muscle and fat are both completely separate types of tissue in the body, so this theory is not only totally untrue, it's one of most common misconceptions around weight training.
Yes, if you stop training altogether and let your great work fall by the way side, you are more likely to gain body fat and changes to your body composition may be that of more 'soft' bits and a less than tight toosh!
This is not due to muscle converting to fat, it's all to do with NOT training and gaining it.
8. I won’t lose weight:
When you are focused on body fat reduction, building muscle/strength and improvements to your shape.. 'weight' as such becomes less relevant and an unhelpful marker to measure progress.
Many people get caught up with the numbers on the scales, so if this is your pattern, perhaps think to the other points of reference such as how your clothes fit and positive shifts to your body fat levels.. chuck them darn scales out!
9. Lifting weights is bad for the joints:
Lifting weights like you fancy yourself as Britain's next strongman is possibly not that great for most people and this is an extreme measure when it comes to shifting metal. We are NOT doing this when we are placing enough of a challenge on our muscles with a sensible approach to training and this does actually improve the health of your joints.
Often deteriorating tissue begins through lack of correct use and not having enough strength to support our skeletal structure.
Help to keep those niggles at bay and strengthen your joints with some resistance training.
10. Looking better after only 1 week!:
Ah... patience my friends and remember the journey to your desired body is one of consistency, adherence to the plan and not doing a to and fro with your application to your program.
To put it bluntly... head down, butt up and work it!