5 common myths about resistance training

As a personal trainer, I get asked a ton of questions about training methods and myths.  Clients hear things from friends or see some headline on a magazine and believe it must be true.  Things like, “squatting is bad for your knees” or “lifting heavy weight will get you big and bulky”.  It’s time to put an end to this nonsense.  Here are the 5 myths about strength training that I get asked the most.

  1. A lady walks into my gym waving her arms franticly, points to her tricep and says, “I want to get rid of my flabby arms. Can you do that here?”  Next, a man walks in patting his big belly and says, “How do I get rid of this belly? Do I need to do more sit ups?”  The problem here is these people want to lose weight in a specific area of their body and that just can’t happen.  You Can’t Spot Weight Loss! Losing weight happens all over and it comes off differently for different people.  You’d be surprised to learn how much muscle tone some people have under a little layer of fat. Train hard and eat right and you will lose the fat, but it takes time.
  2. When you go to the gym do you stick with super light weights and high reps to tone and sculpt your body?  Well, I hate to break it to you but you are not going to get very far with this method.  I am going to leave you with two quotes to live by in the gym.  “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you have always gotten.” Always mix it up in the gym to see results.  Increase weight, decrease reps, change movements and use different tempos.  And always remember “Without stress there is no adaptation.”  When you train it needs to be challenging because the same routine with the same weights will only get you so far.
  3. Do you avoid lifting heavy weights because you don’t want to wake up the next morning looking like Arnold?  You shouldn’t be afraid of lifting heavy because that alone will not turn you into a bodybuilder, PROMISE.  There are many variables involved in building your body like a bodybuilder and, yes, heavy weights are one of them but you must eat perfectly, take supplements that are timed right and have a precise volume and method of training. Those big bulky body builders LIVE for looking like that. There is no way that it happens accidentally. Simply lifting heavy will not make you big and bulky.  Lifting heavy gets you strong, builds bone density and make you feel good.  
  4. Squatting is our next topic.  In college, I discovered Olympic weightlifting and since then it has been one of my favorite things to do in the gym.  If you know the sport of weightlifting you know it involves a lot of heavy, deep squatting.  People are constantly telling me that it is bad for my knees, I shouldn’t squat so often and I shouldn’t squat so deep.  Once again, these accusations are false.  It’s not the movement itself that is bad for you, it is improper mechanics while doing the movement that is bad for you.  Keep these three things in mind when you squat and you will have no problems: 1.Heels flat on the ground 2.Knees in line with your toes 3.Chest up. If squatting bothers your knees, then have a trainer watch you and they should be able to adjust your mechanics to put you in a better position.
  5. Lastly, I would like to briefly talk supplements.  Another common question I get is “What supplements can I take to get leaner or stronger or bigger or burn more fat, etc.”.  Unfortunately, there is no magic pill out there that does all those things. No matter what, you still gotta put in the work. There are some good supplements that will help you get the most out of your work in the gym.  The best advice I was given was this: Make sure the supplement has been around for a while, make sure it is well researched and make sure you are not going to go broke from buying it. Remember, some supplements will work great for one person and not at all for another.

Thank You Dr. Andy Galpin and Coach P.J. Nestler for the quotes.