As a health professional, we know the benefits of resistance training, including the use of weights to improve strength. However, all too often patients are misinformed about the potential negative consequences of weight training and subsequently concerned about starting. Here are the top 5 myths about weight training:
Lifting weights will make you too bulky
Developing muscle mass is more difficult than simply participating in resistance training. Programming, resistance levels, diet and hormones all play a role, and need to be optimised to increase muscle mass. Furthermore, building muscle takes time, so it is unlikely you will become big without specifically trying to put on size.
High repetitions/light weights will make you more ‘toned’
Tone in a physiological sense refers to the readiness of a muscle to contract. The public perception of tone is a muscle that is more visible. This is affected by both the program an individual is participating in, and the level of sub cutaneous fat. The less pain, the more visible a muscle will be. So, whilst the readiness of a muscle to contract may increase with high reps/light weights, it is losing body fat that will make these muscles more visible.
Lifting weights will make you stiff and inflexible
Whilst it is true that bigger muscles can impede joint range of motion, research has previously shown that strength training can also improve flexibility. It is important, however, to work through a full range of motion using free weights and adhere to proper programming to avoid losing joint range of motion.
Squatting is bad for your knees
As a physio, we hear this statement often. The perception is that loading the knees is a bad thing, when in fact it is quite the opposite. The process of loading and unloading a joint actually serves to improve joint health by helping to maintain cartilage nutrients, and improving quadricep and hamstring strength. This is what squatting correctly can promote. However, poor squatting technique can cause asymmetric loading, damaging certain areas of the joint. Furthermore, too much squatting over a long periods of time without rest may overload the joint, potentially leading to long term cartilage issues.
Deadlifting is bad for your back
Like the squat, completing a deadlift with poor technique can lead to injuries. However, completing deadlifts with proper technique, appropriate weight and smart programming can actually improve back pain and strength, as well as increase power through the posterior chain and legs.