What’s Holding You Back from Lifting Weights?

Challenging yourself with weights is great fun.

Ever since my post about the hidden benefits of weightlifting, I have been intrigued by the barriers keeping people from lifting or getting the most out of lifting. I heard from people who echoed the following myths or said they’d heard them. Are you buying into any of these misconceptions?

Myth: Runners should avoid weightlifting

Many runners think bigger muscles will slow them down; however, weightlifting can actually improve your running performance and also help to prevent injuries.

A strong upper body makes your body more powerful and able to run faster and longer. Strong arms, chest, and back give you more flexibility and help fight off fatigue.

Stronger leg muscles also offset muscle imbalances that can cause injuries. Runners also need strong quadriceps and hips to counteract having overly conditioned hamstrings and calves.

Myth: I’ll get big, bulky muscles

This is the most common myth and so wrong. Women’s testosterone levels are simply not high enough to get as big as a man. (And if you see a woman who does, she’s been juicing it up.) Building muscle is tough, especially for women and the longer you’ve been training.

Myth: Women should use high reps/low weight

Celebrity trainers will have you believe you should never lift more than three-pound dumbbells. They spread misinformation galore  about weightlifting causing premature aging and bulking up. What crap! If you want beautiful muscle definition, you need to build muscle mass. The only way to do this is to push hard with heavy weight using low rep ranges to build strength and moderate rep ranges to stimulate muscle growth:

Rep Range% of 1 Rep MaxTraining EffectGoal Desired
1-585-100%NeurologicStrength, power, little hypertrophy
6-875-85%Neurologic, metabolic/structuralStrength, hypertrophy
9-1270-75%Metabolic/structural, neurologicHypertrophy and some strength
13-2060-70%Metabolic/structuralLocal endurance, some hypertrophy and strength

Myth: I need to join a gym (which I hate)

It’s nice to have a cable machine, but not necessary!

You won’t find more effective equipment than simple free weights and resistance bands that you can use in your home. You can also use your own body weight to get a full-body, functional workout. Instead of exercise machines, which may isolate muscles and not fit everyone’s body just right, focus on compound movements that work multiple joints and muscles at a time.

Myth: I’ll have to do 300 crunches a day

This is a spot-training myth that can not only discourage people from strength training but steer them the wrong way. Seeing your ab muscles is almost all about your diet. You can’t lose fat around your middle by doing crunches or any abs exercise, but you can gain muscle there. Whether you can see those muscles or not will depend on your body fat level.

Adequate aerobic exercise is a huge component in seeing your abs too, as is genetics. Personally, my body fat has to be so incredibly low that I’ve chosen to just accept my abs as they are. I can see some definition and still have breasts – not a bad thing!

Become informed and let weights transform your body and your life. Weightlifting is incredibly fun, rewarding, and healthy!

This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.

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Comments

  1. It wasn’t until I injured myself running last September that I started lifting weights. Before I’d do maybe 10 minutes of weight lifting at the end of a gym workout but I’d half ass it at best and I wasn’t consistent.

    What kept me from weightlifting so long was the simple fact that I’m a cardio junkie. I swim, I bike, I run. I could spend over an hour on the stairmaster and be content. But the idea of lifting weights for an hour? Oh my god groan…

    I was sort of “forced” to switch to weight training because I was injured and I needed something to do. It turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done! I actually realized that I LIKE weight lifting.

    It makes a huge difference too. I was stuck in a plateau and one month of lifting weights 3x a week = 5 pounds lost and several inches lost. I was amazed at the results and that inspired me to keep at it!

  2. I love weight training. i used to be the cardio queen but skinny fat. Now i’m not doing any cardio and instead added more weight training in hopes to gain a few pounds of muscle to my frame.

  3. Despite knowing that I could only bulk up if I very seriously pursued it, that did hold me back for a long time. Thankfully, I’m over it and I love strength training now. It really makes me look forward to my runs!

  4. It’s a fair question I suppose 🙂

    I’ve tried weights before and it just seemed to make more of me to move around… and I don’t really want to be a bigger runner.

    I’m a simple guy. Pushups, running and one gear on the bike.

  5. RE Myth #2: I always like to tell women who worry about this that,

    “It’s hard enough for a 16 year old boy who’s body is producing high amounts of testosterone, who lifts weights for hours each week, and who eats everything in the house but the cat, to gain muscle. What you makes you thing you’re gonna get big honey…”

    Typical response: “Uhm…”

    • Lisa: It’s so nice to hear a story like yours. I still feel the same way about cardio (groan) unless it’s integrated into weights. So I mix it up with circuits, HIIT, and intervals. You get that endorphin high with weights, but a little quicker with cardio.
      Amy: That’s wise indeed!
      Sharla: I’m glad you found weights and enjoy the balance! Now if only I could get motivated to do more cardio…
      Jim: I can relate. I’m simple in that I love weights and that’s all I want to do. But how about being a more powerful runner? Just sayin… :).
      Roy: Frankly it’s good to hear that even growing young boys have trouble putting on muscle. I’m a hard gainer, so I can’t imagine bulking up. I’d like to be bigger but… acceptance.

  6. I am sooooooo tired of having to read “It’s okay, women won’t get bulky from lifting weights” in EVERY SINGLE MAINSTREAM ARTICLE I see about weight lifting! It’s like some women still believe if they even TOUCH a real weight, they’re going to sprout muscles like a linebacker. Come on! Even guys who aren’t juicing can’t put on muscle THAT fast unless they train hard and eat scrupulously! My fellow women sometimes annoy me.

    • I know, and when I was researching this post I was really surprised that women still believe this. I had to include it though, even though there are many other myths to look at. I don’t consider this a mainstream type fitness site and like to talk about things that are outside what you usually see. But alas, if it will help someone I suppose it’s worth it to include. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I don’t know why I haven’t been lifting weights. I KNOW how good it feels and I know how much better it makes me feel.

    Okay. Tomorrow morning.And this time I mean it.

  8. I COMPLETELY lied. I didn’t start when I said I would. However, this morning? I can’t sleep. I’ve been up since 4:30 and the minute I’m finished with this comment, I’m picking up my dumbbells. Thanks for the encouragement!

  9. this is my biggest pet peeve! LIfting weights for runners is CRUCIAL!! ANd not they do not cause bulk. Thank you for encouraging us.
    Cheers,
    LC
    lindsay recently posted..Spice my LifeMy Profile

  10. I love lifting! I like to lift heavy, too, and it does *not* make you bulky. Just shapely and strong!
    Lori recently posted..First For Women article!My Profile

  11. My 8-10 pound medicine ball workouts are kicking my booty. Which makes me very happy.
    Yum Yucky recently posted..I’m On Page 46 of Glamour Magazine’s January 2012 Issue!My Profile

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  1. […] What’s Holding you Back with Weights? – @WorkoutNirvana busts some more weight training myths for women. […]

  2. […] What’s Holding You Back from Lifting Weights?. This entry was posted in fitness. Bookmark the permalink. ← Always Think, Onward! […]

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