Five Common Misconceptions About Weightlifting
There are a lot of misconceptions about weightlifting that can wrongfully detour people from trying this valuable form of exercise. In this article we address the five most common misconceptions so you can feel comfortable adding weightlifting to your workout routine.
1. I have to go to the gym every day to see results.
The benefits of resistance training can be seen with as little as two or three workouts per week. Taking rest days during the week is imperative for recovery and will help you see results quicker.
2. I don’t have time to spend hours in the gym.
You don’t need to spend two or more hours actively working out to see results. Forty-five minutes has been shown to be the most effective amount of time to spend resistance training. After that, fatigue starts to set in and cortisol levels start to increase, which can actually impede results.
3. I fear that if I start working out, I will look “bulky.”
This misconception is prevalent among women. Think if you heard someone say “I don’t want to drive my car because I fear that I may become a NASCAR driver.” In all reality, it takes an extremely high workload and years upon years of training to develop large, “bulky” muscles even for men. As women, lower testosterone levels make acquiring such levels of muscle hypertrophy much, much harder.
4. High weight and low repetitions makes muscles grow bigger, low weight and high repetitions makes them look more toned.
This idea is very similar to misconception number three. In actuality, mechanical tension is the highest driving force behind muscular hypertrophy. If your goal is to become stronger, utilizing “progressive overload” in the six to eight rep range is a good place to start. That means selecting a weight for each exercise that is tough to achieve the desired six to eight reps. Work with that weight until you can achieve 10 reps of said exercise. When that happens, increase the weight until you are back in that six to eight rep range and repeat. This is progressive overload. However, higher repetitions do have their place in a balanced workout plan, as reps in the 12 to 15 rep range can improve muscular endurance. This does NOT have an effect on the shape or size of the muscle in comparison to lower rep ranges. When it comes to looking “toned”, this is only accomplished through muscle hypertrophy and decreasing overall body fat composition through proper diet and exercise.
5. I don’t feel comfortable going to the gym because I don’t know what I am doing and people will judge me.
The gym can be a scary place for those looking to get started. Just know that the majority of people are not judging you – they are there to exercise, just like you. Most people are only concerned about paying attention to their own workouts and will not be bothered to care about what other people are doing. If you are feeling apprehensive, it helps to have a plan before you arrive. Check out our tips for beginning weightlifters to help you get prepared beforehand. This will take all the guess work out of your workout. Remember, everyone who is working out has been in your shoes and felt the same uncertainty. And lastly, if you have questions, reach out to a staff member or gym member who seems to be knowledgeable, as most will be glad to help!