We have all heard that weight lifting is beneficial for our bodies to maintain lean tissue, increase strength, and boost metabolism. The challenge arises when we base our weight lifting routines on certain myths. This, of course, leads to wasted time, and less than optimal muscle building results. Therefore, it is safe to say, we are not getting a great natural muscle return for the precious weight lifting workout time invested.
Weight lifting myths start when one bodybuilder tells another bodybuilder who tells another bodybuilder of this new weight lifting workout technique that really works. The only problem is the theory is backed by pure fallacy rather than sound science. It is upsetting to realize the weight lifting workout world is riddled with myths. Therefore, it is my responsibility today as an Exercise Physiologist to deliver the weight lifting truth.
My top 5 weight lifting myths will not only empower your mind, but also stimulate your body to more natural muscle in much less time.
Please avoid these 5 weight lifting program myths that I reveal below. Your natural muscle building results depend upon it.
1. Use heavy weight and less reps to build muscle mass, and low weight with lots of reps to shape the muscle and increase its definition. How many times have you heard this fallacy? I have heard it thousands of times. Many women believe this is a way to “prevent them from developing big muscles.” This is definitely not the case.
The fact is shaping muscle results from decreasing subcutaneous body fat. If you simply decrease your calories each day, you can develop greater natural muscle definition. Greater natural muscle definition is even possible without lifting weights, that is, if your body fat drops low enough.
Don’t get caught falling for this myth. Instead decide first what your primary weight lifting program goals really are. Are you interested in building muscle mass, or increasing muscle endurance? Next you decide the number of reps, and intensity of training. If definition is your main goal then build muscle while decreasing calories in order to strip away the unwanted subcutaneous layer of adipose tissue.
2. You can reduce fat in a specific area by working that specific muscle (spot reducing). Please note that muscle growth and body fat loss is systemic in nature. It is a fact that the central nervous system triggers the muscle growth process. Therefore, overloading the central nervous system is the most important step in natural muscle development. As far as body fat is concerned, working a specific muscle group does not mean fat will suddenly melt off in that specific area. Weight training and fat loss, once again, has a systemic, not localized effect in the body.
3. You must train at a full range of motion to develop natural muscle. There has not been a study proving that “full range” reps stimulate more muscle fibers. The fact is limited, or partial reps stimulate muscle growth, and can be considered safer. Just think, almost all of our daily activities are performed at a partial range of motion. Let’s take sprinting for instance. Sprinters are not running at a full range of motion, and they still develop muscle tissue. Once again, there has been no study conducted to date which confirms you must perform a full range of motion in order to stimulate maximum muscle growth.
Now I’m not suggesting in natural bodybuilding it is bad to train at a full range of motion, but possibly more effective to train at the strongest range of motion. Thus, more resistance can be applied leading to greater muscle fiber stimulation. Consider incorporating partials in your weight training workout.
In order for hypertrophy to occur in a natural bodybuilding program there are two requirements: maximum overload, and increased work in a unit time. Range of motion is not imperative to muscle development.
4. Must weight train 3 days each week or your muscles will suddenly get smaller. Many natural bodybuilders feel this is absolutely true. Please don’t fall into this trap. The fact is the opposite is best. Weight lifting less allows for maximum natural muscle regeneration. Without rest the body can’t overcompensate from the added stress by generating larger muscles. Once a weight lifting workout is conducted while not completely recovered from the previous session, the whole natural muscle building process will be short circuited, and compromised. Therefore, bodybuilders who train religiously 3 days per week at a high intensity level are doing more harm than good.
Don’t be afraid of losing muscle if you miss a week of weight lifting. More than likely you are gaining muscle during rest, not losing it.
5. You must do 3 sets per exercise, and multiple weight lifting exercises in order to see progress. False. False. False. Studies have proven all you need is one high intensity, muscle stimulating set in order to stimulate maximum muscle growth.
There is no scientific basis, nor reasoning for performing 3 sets per exercise.
As a natural bodybuilder, and Exercise Physiologist, I know how important it is to not fall into the trap of these all too common weight lifting myths. By reading this article you are a step above other bodybuilders, and will get much great muscle results from your weight lifting routine. The next time someone tries to promote these myths you will definitely know better. Weight train with wisdom!
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