The benefits of strength training often get lost under a blanket of stereotypes and misconceptions.
Society’s idea of beauty, particularly for women, has created an obsession with cardio, fad diets, and other gimmicks. As a result, many women lose out on the benefits of strength training because they don’t want to gain any weight, even if it’s lean muscle mass. Fortunately, that’s starting to change.
Yet, regardless of gender, you’ll find many athletes with misconceptions about weight training.
So I wrote this post to dispel these myths and exaggerated concerns, and more importantly, to spread the word about the health benefits of strength training.
Increased Bone and Muscle Strength
The idea that you’re going to instantly bulk up when you start lifting weights is fiction. You may put on a few pounds of muscle, but to get to the point that you’re “too big” doesn’t just happen by accident.
At a minimum, to “bulk up” you’d have to be 1) consuming a surplus of calories 2) programming your exercise to focus on muscle growth and 3) genetically predisposed to putting on muscle.
Also, if you’re combining cardio with weight training, it’ll be even harder to bulk up.
What’s much more likely to happen is that you’ll build muscle strength. And more muscle strength will translate into a more toned—not bulky—appearance. It’ll also jump start your metabolism, which makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Beyond aesthetics, increased muscle strength can help alleviate or prevent joint problems caused by muscle weakness, like lower back pain. And strength training improves your bone strength, which helps you avoid the negative effects of bone diseases like osteoporosis.
Greater Flexibility, Balance and Injury Prevention
Another common myth is the idea that strength training reduces flexibility. Yet studies have shown, including this one from 2011, that strength training may be as or more effective than static stretching at improving flexibility.
Another study indicated that, among elderly people, strength training improved balance and reduced the likelihood of falls. As the U.S. population continues to age, this benefit of strength training needs to be emphasized. According to the CDC, one out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
Of course, elderly people aren’t the only ones who reap injury prevention benefits from weight training. As this study indicates, resistance training “promotes growth and/or increase in the strength of ligaments, tendons, tendon to bone and ligament to bone junction strength, joint cartilage and the connective tissue sheaths within muscle.”
This helps to aid in injury prevention, especially overuse injuries like swimmer’s shoulder and tennis elbow. Resistance training also helps because you can use it to correct muscle imbalances that lead to injuries.
Reap the Benefits of Weight Training with the Bright App
If all of the above benefits weren’t enough, recent studies suggest that strength training can also improve your memory and reasoning. And I can personally attest to the mental benefits, like improved self-confidence and resilience, of strength training.
You can make sure you get aIl the incredible benefits of strength training by leveraging the knowledge and experience of a personal trainer. And, with the Bright App, you can schedule a virtual consultation with a personal trainer for free.