Get over the misconceptions of strength training and start lifting.
Strength training is an important aspect of many people’s workout routines. It is important to incorporate strength training into your exercise regime, and not simply rely on cardio. But if you are still not convinced by the benefits of strength training, it could be due to these seven myths.
1. It is for guys
More women are starting to embrace strength training. Gone were the days where women sought rail-thin figures. With celebs like Gal Gadot and Kate Upton advocating and speaking up about their strength training routines, more women are starting to pick up the weights to get toned. Strength training is for anyone who is looking for more variation in their exercise regime and to get a lean and toned body.
2. You will get bulky
Combining strength training and cardio will help you build lean muscles. Strength training is also important to help you build muscle for weight loss and weight maintenance. Furthermore, you will not gain muscle mass overnight. You may have been misled by images of bodybuilders. The bulk of muscles on bodybuilders does not purely stem from lifting weights but often involves extended periods of specialised training, strict diet plans and supplements. So do not think that doing strength training twice or thrice a week will cause unwanted bulking. If you are looking for a toned body, the key is having a balance between strength training, cardio and diet.
3. It burns fewer calories than cardio
While cardio is often the go-to method to burn fat and calories, high-intensity strength training allows for Excess-Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) to occur, meaning your metabolism is elevated and you will continue to burn calories even after your workout. According to the European Journal of Applied Physiology, metabolism can be boosted for up to 38 hours after a weights workout. Overall, you probably have to run for a longer period of time to burn the same number of calories as one high-intensity strength training session.
4. Muscle will turn into fats once you stop lifting
Some people fear that once they stop weights training, their muscle will turn into fats. That is not true as muscle and fats are made up of different types of cells. People who appear to gain weight once they stop strength training is likely because they are not adjusting their caloric intake accordingly. Muscle cells do not morph into fats, they simply shrink when you stop exercising actively.
5. You have to lift heavy weights to get stronger
If you are not entering a weightlifting competition, your goal isn’t to lift the heaviest weight possible. You may be surprised to find out how much stronger you can get by lifting just 40 to 50 per cent of the maximum weight you can comfortably lift. So for first-time lifters, choose weights that suit yourself and gradually increase over time. As with any other forms of exercise, there is no shortcut to get results.
6. Lifting makes you stiff and inflexible
In a study published in the The Journal of Strength & Conditioning, research shows that weight training is able to increase flexibility. The study suggests that muscle and fascia, a connective tissue, are responsible for 41 per cent of joint flexibility. Resistance training is also able to reduce the stiffness of muscle and fascia. Ensure you execute your exercise in its full range of motion. For example, extending your arm fully during a bicep curl. This ensures better muscle balance and joint stability so you will not become inflexible. But that does not mean you should skip stretching. A combination of proper strength training and stretching is the best way to ensure you do not lose your range of motion.
7. Weight training is bad for your joints
On the contrary, weight-bearing exercises like squats help to build strength in your legs and hips. With stronger muscles, your joints will be more stable. You will only hurt your joints if you do not practise proper technique so make sure to check your form before you carry on with your workout.