By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
Has anyone ever told you that strength training is dangerous, will make you bulky, or that you must feel pain to gain results?
If you’ve ever heard these statements or similar ones, they are false! These myths lead to many people over-training or avoiding strength training altogether.
The truth is, strength training can be beneficial for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or fitness level.
Here are four common strength training myths and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: Strength training is dangerous for older adults
Many people often believe that older adults shouldn’t be strength training and should only focus on light, aerobic activity. This is usually due to fear of the physiological declines that older adults experience, such as increased falls, frailty, disability, and more (Seguin & Nelson, 2003).
While aerobic training provides many benefits for older adults, so does strength training. It can aid and reduce the risks and progressions of age-related conditions, such as sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) and osteoporosis (low bone mass).
Strength training also regularly results in increased muscular strength and mass, and preserves bone density (Seguin & Nelson, 2003).
Overall, these benefits of strength training can improve quality of life and increase functional independence in everyday activities, like carrying groceries, climbing stairs, preparing food, playing with grandchildren, and more.
Myth #2: Strength training will make you bulky and big
This is a very common misconception. Many people (especially women) tend to avoid lifting weights because they fear it will increase muscle mass so much that it will change their appearance to look “bulky”, instead of “toned”.
It is true that strength training for hypertrophy will cause an increase in muscle mass. However, men and women biologically have different hormone profiles. Males have higher testosterone, which will promote their muscle growth even more than females. Additionally, physique is also based on nutrition — not just exercise alone. You’d have to be eating in a calorie surplus in addition to strength training to have a “bigger” physique (Parkview Health, 2021).
Aside from physical appearance, however, strength training is strongly encouraged for everyone because of its various health benefits!
Myth #3: Strength training won’t help you lose weight
You might assume that, to lose weight, you should only do cardiovascular training and no strength training. However, a combination of both types of training and a healthy nutrition plan can be beneficial for weight loss.
While cardiovascular training can help burn more calories during your workout session, adding strength training to your fitness routine helps with burning more calories at rest (Davidson, 2021). When you’re strength training, your resting metabolic rate (RMR) increases, which explains how you are continuing to burn additional calories post-workout (Aristizabal et al., 2015).
Overall, strength training supports weight loss by building and preserving muscle mass.
Myth #4: No pain, no gain
There is a belief that, to grow muscles and gain strength, you need to push yourself until the point of discomfort or pain. In addition to this statement, many people assume you need to feel sore the next day for the workout to be considered “good and effective.”
However, training until you feel pain can lead to over-training and can cause serious injury. When performing a strength training exercise, if you experience any sharp pain that happens quickly, it is a sign to stop your workout instead of pushing through it (Cooper Aerobics, n.d.).
The truth is, rest and recovery are more important, and safer than exercising through pain and potentially experiencing long-term injury.
Questions? Reach out to us at email@example.com, 204-925-5931, or come visit us at Member Services next time you’re at the gym!
Seguin, R., & Nelson, M. E. (2003). The benefits of strength training for older adults. American journal of preventive medicine, 25(3 Suppl 2), 141–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0749-3797(03)00177-6
Parkview Health. (2021, 10 08). Does weight training make you bulky? Parkview Health. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.parkview.com/community/dashboard/does-weight-training-make-you-bulky
Davidson, K. (2021, 01 21). Does Weightlifting Help Women Lose Weight? healthline. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/weight-lifting-for-weight-loss-female
Aristizabal, J. C., Freidenreich, D. J., Volk, B. M., Kupchak, B. R., Saenz, C., Maresh, C. M., Kraemer, W. J., & Volek, J. S. (2015). Effect of resistance training on resting metabolic rate and its estimation by a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry metabolic map. European journal of clinical nutrition, 69(7), 831–836. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2014.216
Cooper Aerobics. (n.d.). No Pain, No Gain. Myth or Fact? Cooper Aerobics Health and Wellness. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.cooperaerobics.com/Health-Tips/Fitness-Files/No-Pain,-No-Gain-Myth-or-Fact.aspx