If you’ve been considering starting some strength training but have been hesitant due to some negative things you may have heard about strength training, we’re here to bust those myths so you can start strength training with confidence.
7 strength training myths debunked
Myth 1: Strength training makes you too big or bulky
This strength training myth is one that probably scares off more women than men, but it’s still one that needs to be debunked. Strength training is a tool, and if your aim is to bulk up then you can use this tool to do that. If, however, your goal is simply to build strength in your muscles without growing them in size, then there are strength training workouts that can be used for this also. Your genetics and the build of your body also plays a part in how strength training may shape your muscles, if you naturally have a leaner build then bulking up may look different to someone who has a larger natural build.
Myth 2: Strength training makes you less flexible
When you think of flexibility the workouts that come to mind are typically yoga for men or similar, and then there is the myth that strength training will make you less flexible. The fact of the matter is that when strength training you can actually improve your flexibility by using a full range of motion. But again just like bulkiness, whether you’re flexible or not comes down to your genetics. Yes, you can improve your flexibility but it’s also a naturally occurring thing that some people are just more flexible.
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Myth 3: Strength training can only be done when you spend lots of money
Probably the biggest strength training myth is that it can only be done at a gym or with lots of fancy or expensive equipment. If you have the money and want to join a gym, hire a trainer and buy all the relevant equipment to really dive into strength training, go for it! However, we know that not everyone can afford all of these things or any of them this doesn’t mean you can’t still start incorporating strength training into your workouts.
You can start strength training just by using your own body weight by doing push-ups, planks, squats, lunges and other simple exercises. If you want to increase the resistance you can use household items like packets of flour as weights to start with whilst you save for actual weights. You may consider booking a single session with a trainer to make sure your technique is correct to avoid injury but it’s not a necessity.
Myth 4: Strength training is bad for your joints
The truth of this strength training myth is actually the opposite! If done correctly strength training and weight lifting can help prevent injury. Strengthening your muscles and improving flexibility, both outcomes of incorporating strength training into your workouts, are the things that help prevent injury. If you’re concerned about injury you can book a session with a personal trainer to ensure you’re getting all the techniques correct to avoid injury.
Myth 5: Strength training takes up too much time
If you’ve delayed starting strength training because you believed the strength training myth that it’s too time consuming have you considered the benefits of strength training? One great benefit of strength training is that it builds strength in your muscles and body to help prevent injury that means you’re less likely to be injured by your other workouts thanks to the strengthened muscles. If all you can do is incorporate 10 mins of strength training into your week that’s enough! You can always add more down the track, but start with 10 mins!
Myth 6: Strength training burns less fat than cardio
The best type of workout regime is one that is diverse and incorporates multiple training types, but the strength training myth that cardio burns more fat than strength training isn’t backed up by the science. When you do strength training you metabolism increases because it takes more calories to build and maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat. If you really want to lose weight and build muscle it would be best to combine strength training and cardio.
Myth 7: Strength training builds muscle that will turn to fat if you stop training
The idea that muscle turns into fat isn’t merely a strength training myth it’s a myth that has been floating around exercise education for years. Muscle cannot turn into fat, it’s a different type of tissue so can’t magically turn into another type of tissue. Kind of like we can’t turn lead into gold or water into wine.
If you increase your food intake to help cover the calories your burning when strength training and then stop strength training but continue to eat at the same level, your muscles will shrink because you’re not working them anymore and you’ll gain fat because you’re eating more calories than you’re buring. This is where the myth comes from, people see an increase in fat and decrease in muscle and assume the muscle turned into fat but the reality is you lost muscle and gained fat. Once you start strength training again you’ll see an increase in your muscle mass and a decrease in the fat.
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