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 Max||Training Effect||Goal Desired|
|1-5||85-100%||Neurologic||Strength, power, little hypertrophy|
|6-8||75-85%||Neurologic, metabolic/structural||Strength, hypertrophy|
|9-12||70-75%||Metabolic/structural, neurologic||Hypertrophy and some strength|
|13-20||60-70%||Metabolic/structural||Local endurance, some hypertrophy and strength|
Myth: I need to join a gym (which I hate)
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.