Posted in Coach's Comments,MythsJanuary 18, 2008
At last week’s Niketown Speaker Series, the topic of strength training myths came up. Below is an edited excerpt from our literary masterpiece, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Weight Training. We address a few of the many old wives tales and misconceptions.
· MYTH #1: Spot reduction
Despite gym lore and late night
infomercial hyperbole, you can’t make fat magically melt away from a particular
part of the body by exercising the underlying muscle. In other words, you can
do abdominal crunches
‘til the Red Sox win the World Series, ’til a bodybuilder is the Governor of California, ’til pigs fly and still have a
layer of fat obscuring your “six-pack”. The same thing goes for doing countless
leg lifts in an effort to trim your thighs. There is no way to target fat loss
from a specific area. Also keep in mind that the burning sensation that you
sometimes feel during weight training is due to a temporary accumulation of
lactic acid and doesn’t indicate that you’re burning fat.
· MYTH #2: Weight training will make
you muscle-bound or inflexible.
When done properly, lifting won’t
impair your flexibility. That musclehead in the gym who can’t touch his toes
with a stick isn’t tight because of his big muscles – it’s probably because he
doesn’t stretch or because of poor lifting form. The key is to make sure that
you use a full range of motion when performing your weight training exercises.
· MYTH #3: Weight training and weight
loss don’t mix
weight training can help promote weight loss. More muscle means a higher
metabolism, and a higher metabolism means burning more calories – even at rest.
Cardiovascular training is still the best way to burn calories in the short
term, but weight training is an important part of long-term weight control.
· MYTH #4: Weight training will make
women look masculine
Don’t be fooled by the women you see
on the covers of muscle magazines. Hitting the gym 2-3 times a week won’t have
people mistaking you for Ms Olympia, any more than a couple of lessons with
Tiger Woods’ coach will have you teeing off at the U.S. Open next year. Those
cover girls have spent countless hours in the weight room, are blessed (or
cursed, depending on your point of view) with genetics that only a small
fraction of women have, and have exceptionally low body fat, which promotes a
more muscular appearance. You can gain all the benefits of weight training –
increased metabolism, decreased risk of injury, improved sports performance,
etc. – without worrying about “bulking up”.