Myths on Strength Training

by Angela Yorke | December 29th, 2011 | Strength Training

Misconceptions about strength training abound even in this age of freely available information. I find it incredible that the following myths are still floating around.

The very young and the very old should stay away from strength training. Strength training is believed to be detrimental to children’s growth, while it is deemed too strenuous for senior citizens. Growing children actually benefit from strength training due to the strength their bones and muscles develop as a result. At the other end of the age spectrum, older athletes reap greater bone density and muscle strength from regular strength training sessions. This helps them stay mobile and flexible, and prevents frequent falls in old age.

A common misconception is that strength training will make you bigger, despite the true connotation of the term, i.e., to build strength and become stronger. The physical activity that makes a person bigger and bulkier is bodybuilding, which requires a different approach compared to mere strength training. Similarly, women have nothing to fear from strength training, as it would take a great deal of dedication and some external assistance to achieve the highly sculpted, somewhat masculine, and yes, rather bulky form of a female bodybuilder.

It is also believed that strength training will hamper a person’s efforts to lose weight due to the muscle that is built. While it’s true that strength training won’t help a person lose as much fat as aerobic/cardiovascular activity would, it will intensify the fat-burning process that aerobics initiates. It does so by increasing muscle strength, which in turn increases a person’s resting metabolic rate. This means that the person will “burn” more fat even while they are at rest.

Strength training is also considered exclusive because many people believe that specific (pricey) equipment is required to undergo strength training. In fact, you don’t need expensive equipment for strength training, or even any equipment at all sometimes. All that needs to be done is to provide some form of resistance to the body. Equipment-free examples are push-ups and leg raises. If you want to increase your workload, try free weights or barbells. Likewise, a resistance band can provide the necessary challenge for a strength training session.

One of the most enduring myths about strength training is that it must hurt in order effective. Build-up of lactic acid during training and muscle soreness after that is certainly normal, but soreness that lasts over 3 days after a strength training session indicates you should reduce the intensity or duration of the workout. Sharp pain during the activity is indicative of injury, meaning that the activity should be halted and remedial measures taken.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.