Some myths about weight training
I have been advocating weight training to people for a quite long time as a great way to keep fit but I have always been asked so many questions as to its effectiveness particularly for women and older people and I have to remove their doubts. The following are some common myths, which many of us have about weight training.
Myth 1 – Weight training is dangerous –
Busted - It has been found that weight training is quite safe because the injury rate due to it is lower than in any sport. Only way an individual can injure oneself is by using a faulty technique while doing weight training. Proper technique and a full range of movement of an exercise are of paramount importance. Adequate warm-up is also essential before a session.
Myth 2 – It is bad for the joints –
Busted - Weight training is less stressful on joints than high impact exercises like running. The movements of weight training exercises are well controlled. In fact, weight training is good for joints as it strengthens the muscles and ligaments that hold the joints together. For instance, squatters have healthier knees than non-squatters. Many persons recovering from ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries reported that their knee pain went away after doing squats with proper technique for 2 to 3 months.
Myth 3 – It causes high blood pressure –
Busted - The bold pressure increases temporarily when lifting heavy weights but it returns to normal quickly after finishing the set. Contrary to the prevalent myth, weight training improves cardiovascular fitness. Moreover, studies show that those, who do weight training regularly, have lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Myth 4 – Weight training makes women bulky –
Busted - Women can never build muscle mass as much as men can since they have lower testosterone levels than men. Women will always stay feminine while doing weight training regularly unless they use steroids. Since muscle is denser than fat, they will look slimmer at the same body weight even if they increase their muscle mass.
Myth 5 – It stunts growth –
Busted - It will never stunt growth if weight training exercises are performed with proper form. Contrary to this myth, weight training can actually stimulate growth and increase bone mineral density. Therefore, teenager should do weight training under supervision of an expert. In fact, all the internationally famous body builders started weight training in their early teens and they are all pretty tall.
Myth 6 – Muscle turns into fat if one stops weight training –
Busted - A muscle cannot turn into a fat because they are different tissues. They are not interchangeable. When people with good muscle development stop weight training, their muscles become smaller; they put on fat as their metabolism becomes low due to muscle loss.
Myth 7 – Machines are better than free weights –
Busted - Machines have advantage over free weights because one can train better with them in isolated muscle exercises. Certainly, they are more advantageous to rehabilitate injury. However, free weights are more versatile than machines in developing more functional strength because the movements are more similar to natural movements of the body. Machines isolate the muscle groups and don’t trigger the supporting muscle groups as do free weights.
Myth 8 – Aerobic training is superior to strength training for fat loss –
Busted - Weight training results in release of growth hormone in large quantities, which is well known for its fat-burning ability. Moreover, weight training is a superior method to develop muscle mass. Since muscle is metabolically more active, there is more number of calories burnt at rest and during exercise. So, it is superior to aerobic training for fat loss.
Myth 9 – Weight training decreases flexibility –
Busted - Many think that increase in muscle mass and strength will reduce the flexibility of the body. On the contrary, weight training will make one regain the flexibility and maintain it whereas years of sedentary life reduce flexibility.
Myth 10 – It makes a person slow –
Busted - On the contrary, stronger muscles contract faster and generate more power. That is why professional athletes strength train regularly to enhance their performance.
Myth 11 – Older people should nor strength train –
Busted - Contrary to the myth, older people can equally benefit from regular weight training, which increases the release of growth hormone irrespective of age. Strength training improves muscle mass, strength and balance in old age. It also increases bone mineral density in older persons including postmenopausal women, who tend to lose bone density faster.
Myth 12 – It will make one gain weight –
Busted - Leaner and lighter are not interchangeable terms. A person will lose inches with weight training though maintaining the same weight because muscle is denser and weighs more than fat.
Myth 13 – Heavy weight training will bulk up a person –
Busted - Contrary to the myth, muscle bulk is not determined by lifting heavy weights alone. In fact, lifting heavy weights is the least important part of the equation. Nutrition, specifically excess calories, is what contributes to bulking up when lifting heavy weights.
These and some other myths keep on haunting people and prevent them from taking up a routine of weight training. As matter of fact, a well structured exercise routine should include both aerobic and strength training because they both complement each other and, therefore, potentiate the benefits of exercise.