Weightlifting is a sport that induces a lot of misunderstanding and misrepresentation among the general public. There are plenty of people around who may give you unsolicited advice on do’s and don’ts of weightlifting, only because they too have certain myths and stereotypes in their minds related to weight training. Such myths arise from the general gender bias that prevails, the lack of seriousness for the sport, the stereotype of a large bulky weightlifter and the general perception that weightlifting is complicated. If practiced carefully, weightlifting can be a great, everyday sport. Given below are 10 popular myths about weightlifting that just don’t die even after years of the sport’s evolution:
10. Women who lift weights become manly:
This is one of the most ridiculous myths associated with weightlifting. It is often assumed that women should not engage in lifting weights as it will give them bulky muscles and will make them manly. Bodybuilder women who often feature in magazines look manly because they use steroids. Lifting weights as such does not have any effect on the testosterone levels inside a woman’s body which are responsible for manly characters. Women can safely lift weights without much growth in muscle volume. They can stay strong, build a good physique and still stay feminine by lifting weights.
9. It is easier for fat people to lift weights:
Many people who watch international weightlifting competitions believe that one needs to be fat and bulky to lift weights. However, it is not so. Yes, one requires more of muscle to lift heavier weights but not more of fat. To lift more weight, one may need to gain weight first but this should actually be the weight of added muscle to lift better and not that of added fat. Only the lifters belonging to the super heavy weight category show that extra fat as there is no weight limit for them.
8. Lifting heavy weights is a dangerous activity:
It is often supposed that lifting weights is not a safe activity as it may cause injuries. But the truth is that weightlifting may only harm you in case you use a bad technique. However if you have a good trainer who gives you some quality instructions, then lifting even heavy weights is not going to be dangerous. According to studies, lifting dumbbells is even safer than resistance building machines as free lifting is known to have caused lesser injuries than machines as per records.
7. Weightlifting will give you a high BP problem:
Weightlifting is considered hazardous by some people because it is falsely believed to cause high blood pressure problem. Yes the blood pressure of the lifter does rise while he is lifting weights but becomes normal once he is done, just like any other cardiovascular exercise. This happens because while lifting, requirement of energy and oxygen increases arterial pressure temporarily. However, studies show that those who lift weights regularly have lower blood pressure under normal conditions when compared to those who do not indulge in weightlifting.
6. Weight training is not for beginners:
Many people and even some ignorant gym trainers feel that beginners should not get themselves indulged with weight training straight away. Instead, starting up with lifting weights is a great idea according to experts who say that weight training is basically resistance training which lets you achieve all your goals whether that of achieving fitness, losing fat, improving flexibility or performance. But yes, the technique should be correct to make sure there are no injuries and complications.
5. Weightlifting is bad for joints and old people:
Another popular myth is that weightlifting has adverse effect on knees and it should not be performed by weak and frail people. On the contrary, squatters, power lifters and weightlifters are found to have stronger knees than general population. Weightlifting involves more controlled and non-impact movements which is why it is even less stressful to joints than running. Old people have problems related to joints because their muscle density decreases. Weightlifting in fact helps in such a condition because it is known to strengthen muscles and ligaments while maintaining their density.
4. Weightlifting makes one stiff and slow:
Most people feel, even weightlifters themselves, that weightlifting results in poor body flexibility whereas the fact is that building muscle mass has no negative effect on general body flexibility. In fact, when you squat, your hips muscles stretch making you more flexible than before. Weightlifters are also regarded slow and lethargic. Again, the truth is just opposite to that. Weightlifters have strong muscles which contract faster leading to faster movements. If one sees a weightlifter snatching, jerking or doing any sudden activity, one would realize how baseless this assumption is.
3. If you stop lifting weights after a regular regime, you will turn fat:
Some people do not lift weights thinking their muscle would turn into fat once they quit their daily weightlifting regime. Muscle and fat are different tissues and muscle can never turn into fat. The only thing one should consider is that he/she should eat less after quitting weightlifting as the body requires less or else he/she may turn fat which is quite obvious.
2. Lifting weights adds bulk to one’s body:
“Lifting weights will make you fat”, “Lifting weights makes you bulky”, “Weightlifting increases your girth size” and all such notions are unscientific and false. This is assumed looking at the power lifters belonging to the highest weight categories. Weight lifters of lighter categories are all fit and have a small waist. Weightlifting cannot make one gain weight. It is only a result of eating habits of a person. Weightlifting just strengthens your muscles by making them dense. In order to build bulky muscles you should not just lift weights but eat more so as to add the bulk.
1. Weightlifting inhibits further growth:
Here comes the biggest myth about weightlifting. This is one of the main reasons why many abstain from lifting weights. Also this is why children and young people are advised not to lift weights, even by some doctors. This perception is formed by people who see weightlifters of lighter categories having heights lower than average. But they have lower heights because of their genes and hormones and not because of weightlifting. Lifting weights does not affect one’s hormones, as long as no steroids are taken. There are many renowned weightlifters in the international arena who started to lift weights in their teenage and are all above six feet. Many weightlifters are short as they opted for weightlifting considering they do not have advantage in other sports like basketball or volleyball. As such, there is no medical evidence showing that weightlifting stunts an individual’s growth.