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If you've walked around the gym you've likely seen big guys pumping away at the iron while women dredge away on the elliptical or treadmill. A trainers biggest pet peeve is to have to explain, prove and break down myths around lifting weights to female clients. There are lots of myths around weightlifting, and we're determined to bust these top 10 myths.
1. Weights grow bulky muscles
Lifting weights won't make you bulky. Women who lift weights will not become manly, because they do not produce enough testosterone to have allow any significant muscle volume grow in. Women you see in magazines with manly bodies are bodybuilders who use steroids.
2. Lots of reps with a low weight is for toning
This type of weight training is just an easier way of training. Generally, you won't see too much difference when you go over 15 reps of any exercise- its just too easy to improve your physique, and is not challenging the muscles to adapt. Toning your muscles requires lifting of heavy weights, making your muscles more dense, heavier, and thus more toned!
3. Heavy weights are dangerous
If you're lifting heavy weights out of the blue with poor technique, it can be dangerous. However, with the help of a trainer, and some good instruction, you'll be able to lift heavy weights very safely.
Using machines for resistance training is often believed to be safer, but studies have shown that using free weights like barbells and dumbbells are far more effective at reducing the risk of injury, and are more likely to help improve movements in every-day life (bending, sitting, running, etc).
4. Weights are for guys
This is just a ridiculous statement perpetuated by women who are “scared” of getting bulky, and men who are scared that their women will become stronger than them! Research has shown time and again that lifting weights offers huge health benefits to both men, women and children!
5. Lifting weights increases blood pressure
While you lift weights, your blood pressure does go up. This happens because the muscles require energy and oxygen to perform the task; as the heart rate and breathing rate increases to provide these two things, so does the amount of blood being passed through the arteries, increasing arterial pressure.
Once activities are over, blood pressure will return to normal. Further, people who lift weights regularly have lower blood pressure than those who don't.
6. Older people should avoid weights
As we get older, bones become frail and muscles loose mass and tone, becoming weak as well. The only way to combat this (as proven by several research studies) is to exercise and – you guessed it- to lift weights!
Lifting weights stops decreases in bone density as seen in osteoporosis, and helps to maintain muscle mass in the elderly. The weights do not have to be heavy to benefit from resistance training.