What does strength training really mean and why is it that we see so many people shy away from this style of training?
Strength training is an important aspect of exercise and has many awesome benefits attached to it, such as:
- Increased muscle mass
- Makes you stronger
- Higher metabolic rate
- Better posture
- Denser bones
- Injury prevention
- Lower blood pressure
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduces stress
If you are new to weight training, or simply fear that this is something you will never feel confident enough to try, here are a few myths de-bunked to offer you some clarity in their untruths, and unravel the many benefits that are quite the contrary!
1. You need a gym
Many people link strength training with huge weights and a gym environment. Fantastic results can be achieved at home too and with very little equipment.
2. Lifting weights makes you bulky/gain weight
This is a common myth, particularly with women. Lifting weights does not make you ‘bulky’; it helps to build muscle tissue, which is different to fat, and with perseverance to training and working on body fat reduction, the shape of this muscle has an opportunity to shine through.
3. It’s mainly for men
Gone are the days where we immediately link a dumbbell to a guy curling this with his ‘war face’. The percentage of women training this way has increased dramatically over recent years.
The benefits of strength work is now being promoted as a very valuable asset to any exercise program, and for almost all age groups.
4. Burns fewer calories than cardio
Not true! Sure, while you perform cardiovascular activity you are indeed burning a decent amount of calories, but with the added lean tissue (muscle) that you build through strength training, this opens up a window for a higher energetic output throughout the entire day due to your basal metabolic rate levels being higher.
5. Muscle turns to fat
Another common concern is that when you stop weight training, your muscles turn to fat. This is simply not the case, as muscle and body fat are two totally separate forms of tissue!
6. Weight training is ineffective for cardiovascular health
A program inclusive of strength work has been shown to improve heart health with the action of more blood flow to the working muscle as they ‘open up’ to receive the blood and then pump it back to the heart.
Want more of a ‘cardio’ feel to your sessions? Shorten rest times and watch your heart rate soar!
7. Not as effective for fat loss as cardio
The truth is quite the opposite! Over time, strength training can offer an increase in your daily energetic output by having more muscle.
Muscle requires more fuel even in a resting state, so even when you’re not pumping weights, you’re burning fuel and can expect some noticeable results with body fat reduction.
8. Bad for the joints
Lifting overly-heavy weights is never going to be great for our joints, especially when you’re starting out with training this way.
Building up slowly and giving your joints a challenge with some additional resistance is a brilliant way to actually strengthen them and keep many injuries at bay.
9. Light weights is enough
Light work during the early days is fine while you get familiar with your own ability and form, but to reap the benefits in their full potential, you do need to use a weight that is a challenge for your workouts and ditch any preconceived ideas around this.
Naturally, you will get stronger as you practice training this way, so yes, this does mean going up with weight too!
10. Instant results
So many people bail before they even see the great stuff happening! Be patient as training this way does take a little time before you’re likely to notice the physiological changes.