Resistance training, also known as strength training, is one of the most effective ways to build muscle, increase strength, and improve overall health and fitness. Despite its many benefits, there are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding resistance training that can prevent people from engaging in this powerful form of exercise. To help clear up some of the confusion, we spoke to a panel of fitness experts to debunk seven common resistance training myths.
Myth #1: Resistance training is only for bodybuilders and athletes.
Reality: Resistance training is beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels, including beginners, seniors, and those with chronic conditions. “Resistance training can help improve bone density, balance, and overall muscle strength, which can help reduce the risk of falls and injuries,” says certified personal trainer and fitness coach, Amanda Nighbert.
Myth #2: Women who lift weights will bulk up and look masculine.
Reality: Women do not have the same levels of testosterone as men, which is the hormone responsible for muscle growth. According to certified strength and conditioning specialist, Rachel MacPherson, “Women who engage in resistance training will typically see a decrease in body fat and an increase in lean muscle mass, leading to a more toned and defined physique.”
Myth #3: Resistance training is only effective if you lift heavy weights.
Reality: While lifting heavy weights can be effective for building strength and muscle, it is not the only way to see results. “Lighter weights and bodyweight exercises can also be effective for building muscle and improving overall fitness,” says certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, Kourtney Thomas.
Myth #4: Resistance training is dangerous and can lead to injury.
Reality: Like any form of exercise, resistance training can be dangerous if not done properly. However, when done correctly, it is a safe and effective way to improve overall health and fitness. “Working with a certified personal trainer or strength coach can help ensure proper form and reduce the risk of injury,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist, Ryan Hopkins.
Myth #5: Resistance training will make you stiff and inflexible.
Reality: Resistance training can actually improve flexibility and range of motion when done correctly. “Incorporating dynamic stretching and mobility exercises into your resistance training routine can help improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury,” says certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist, Maria Vargas.
Myth #6: Resistance training is not cardio.
Reality: While resistance training may not be traditional cardio, it can still provide a cardiovascular workout when done at a high intensity. “Incorporating supersets, circuits, and plyometric exercises into your resistance training routine can help elevate your heart rate and provide a cardiovascular workout,” says certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, Samantha Campbell.
Myth #7: Resistance training is only effective if done for hours at a time.
Reality: Resistance training can be effective even in short bursts. “High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that incorporate resistance training can be effective in as little as 20-30 minutes per session,” says certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, Lauren Kanski.
In conclusion, resistance training is a safe and effective way to build muscle, increase strength, and improve overall health and fitness. By debunking these common myths, we hope to encourage more people to incorporate resistance training into their fitness routine. Remember to consult with a certified personal trainer or strength coach to ensure proper form and safety when starting a new resistance training program.