Weight training myths
Do you weight train? Are you aware of the many benefits to lifting weights? Whether your goals are fat loss, muscle building or improving sports performance, weight training, or resistance training could play an important role in your routine and set you on your way to achieving your goals. There are many myths surrounding weight training, I will cover a few in this blog and explain why they aren’t true. I’ll also explain why you should be weight training whatever your goals are. As there are many benefits to it that aren’t body composition related.
Weight Training Myths
'lifting weights will make you too bulky'
So one of the biggest myths around weight training is that ‘lifting weights will make you too bulky’. Now this myth mainly comes from women, sorry to generalise but it’s rare a male says that they don’t want to be too bulky.
Now, this myth does bring a smile to my face every time I hear it. Purely because women have significantly less testosterone than men, which aids in helping to build muscles, and if you ask any man that has tried to build muscle in the past, (myself included), it isn’t easy. So the idea that a woman has to touch a heavy weight and she’ll turn into a she-hulk is laughable. It takes years of weight training alongside a calorie surplus to build significant muscle, so being too bulky should be the last of your worries. And if by chance you happen to put on too much muscle then you can stop training and lose some of the muscle you’ve built.
'Light weight with high reps to tone muscle. High weight with low reps to build muscle’
There’s so many things wrong with the above statement. Firstly, there’s no such thing as toning a muscle. Most people I talk to on a day to day basis say that they want to ‘tone up’ and to be fair I know what people mean when they say that. They want to look leaner, and the best way to do that is by resistance training, which will help build and maintain muscle that gives you a more lean look.
Secondly, in order to get the most out of your weight training you should be working with a variety of different weights and rep ranges, all of which have been shown to aid in muscle growth. Depending on what your goals are will depend on which rep range and weight you use most predominantly.
‘Monday is chest day, Tuesday back day, Wednesday leg day, Thursday shoulders, Friday arms’
Ah the trusted ‘bro split’. A disclaimer first as i’m not knocking this way of training, firstly, because i used to do this for many years, and also you can achieve great results from training each body part separately.
However, unless you’re a dedicated lifter/bodybuilder it is not necessary for you to train this way and you may find you achieve better results from training more than one body part a day as this allows you to train those body parts more than once a week.
‘You need to confuse your muscles in order for them to grow’
Now if this were true my brain would be massive as i’m so confused as to where this has come from. The idea is that you have to perform different and random exercises to ‘shock’ and ’confuse’ your muscles so that they grow. Despite what a lot of these so-called ‘fitness influencers’ tell you, you don’t need fancy workouts and the perfect routine (no such thing) to get the best out of training. Many people change up their routine way too often which makes it harder to achieve results as they’re not progressing.
A training program should consist of exercises that you enjoy and exercises that work well for you. Pain when squatting? No worries, there’s plenty of alternatives to choose from. Can’t do a pull up? It’s tough, don’t worry let’s try something else to build up your strength. Don’t like deadlifts? Nor do I, it’s a great exercise but you don’t have to do it if you don’t want.
So, now you have a program full of exercises you enjoy and that work well for you, the key now is PROGRESSION. Get really good at these exercises over time and progress each movement, there are many ways to do this, for example: Improving your form, manipulating the tempo (increase time under tension (slower reps, pause reps etc), adding more sets/reps, decreasing rest time between sets, increasing the weight that you use. I put increasing the weight last as it’s not a competition of who can lift the most, it’s about getting the most out of your training and getting better over time.
Key Benefits and why you should weight train
Burn more fat
Now, before you scream ’CALORIE DEFICIT’ at the top of your lungs, just wait. In order to lose fat we know you have to be in a calorie deficit that is true. However, the more muscle you have will mean that you burn more calories at rest, which will therefore help you in your fat loss efforts.
Anti aging benefits
As we get older we are at risk of syndromes and diseases such as sarcopenia and osteoporosis, this is the progressive loss of muscle mass and the decrease in bone density leading to brittle bones, respectively. Weight training is known to help both of these by maintaining muscle mass overtime and increasing bone density. So whatever age you are, start lifting and reap the rewards.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over again, not only are there physical benefits to exercise there is the mental side too. Weight training is much better than cardio for relieving stress and anxiety, not only that but strength training releases ‘feel good’ endorphins which is going to increase your mood and make you feel a lot better. It will also help you sleep much better, for longer and deeper. If you suffer with anxiety or depression, and you don’t exercise, I urge you to try and do some weight training, if it can help me then it can help you too.
Increase strength and confidence
Who doesn’t want to be stronger? You can lift heavier objects, whether that be around the house, at work, wherever. Strength doesn’t mean you’ll be bigger, and just because you’re big doesn’t mean you’re strong. Strong is strong and big is big. Likewise, who doesn’t want to be more confident? To feel better in your own skin and feel more body confident are perhaps the greatest gifts that you can give yourself.
So as you can see there are a variety of different benefits to weight training, not only does it help you alter your body composition to help you lose fat, become leaner and increase muscle mass. It’s great to progress physically as well as mentally, this can all be done through a progressive program that is specific to you and your goals. I understand that some people don’t like the thought of training in a gym which is fine, there are exercises that you can do at home to help you improve your strength.
Unless for medical reasons you can’t, I would recommend weight training to anyone whatever your goals are. Even just one or two days a week spent focusing on getting stronger on different exercises that you enjoy will make a huge difference in the quality of your life.
If you feel you need help, support or guidance with weight training, whether that is 1-2-1/online coaching, programming or exercise technique get in touch via my website or my social media to see how I can assist you and help you to achieve your goals.