The 10 Biggest Weight Training Myths | Stephen Coleclough
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The 10 Biggest Weight Training Myths

The 10 Biggest Weight Training Myths

Weight training can deliver significant benefits to your physical fitness and general health.

Unfortunately, there are many myths about how lifting weights should or shouldn’t be incorporated into a fitness program.

This can make it difficult to learn when and how to use weights.

In this post, I’ll expose some of these myths to help you get as much benefit from weight training as possible.

Myth #1 – You should only workout one muscle group per session

There is a common belief amongst gym users that you should only train one muscle group per day to achieve the most significant gains.

In reality, you can train any number of muscle groups in a single session — it really depends on what your overall goals are.

If you want to concentrate on a particular part of your body, you could spend more time during a session on it.

However, aren’t obligated to devote the entire session to that muscle group if you don’t want to.

Even the great like Arnold Schwarzenegger trained multiple muscle groups in a single day and he managed to get great results! 

Myth #2 – Muscle turns to fat quickly when you stop training

Many people don’t incorporate weight training into their fitness program because of this myth.

They mistakenly believe that muscle will change into fat if you do not continually lift weights.

They think that this would “force” them to incorporate weight training into every session. 

The reality is, fat and muscle are two physiologically distinct types of tissue.

If you stop lifting weights, your muscles may lose their size or sag slightly, but they will not magically become fat deposits.

Having more muscle mass has actually been shown to increase the body’s metabolic rate, which can help you burn fat deposits more rapidly. 

Myth #3 – Women shouldn’t lift weights because they will become too muscular

This is an unfortunate myth because it prevents many women from getting into weight training.

The fact of the matter is — you have complete control over how much you want to increase your muscle mass.

Women can use weight training to gain sleek muscle tone that makes them look more athletic and well proportioned.

Weight training is also very useful for burning fat as it complements aerobic exercise programs. 

Myth #4 – Lifting heavy weights is the only way to bulk up

While lifting heavy weights is a great way to test your strength and bulk up — it’s not the only way to obtain significant gains in muscle size.

You can use lighter weights with reps of between 8 to 15 to achieve hypertrophy (an increase in muscle size).

In fact, this is the way that most bodybuilders obtain larger muscles.

The only time you must use very heavy weights with low reps is when you are training to be a powerlifter.

Myth #5 – It’s difficult to gain muscle once you have lost it

Even if you have been sedentary for a number of years and your muscles have atrophied, it is still possible to gain muscle mass with weight training.

One study that proved this fact looked at how efficiently men and women enrolled in a strength-training program could gain muscle.

The participants, many of whom had been sedentary for number of years, were aged between 21 to 80.

Within 10 weeks, they gained an average of 3 to 5 pounds of muscle, which was muscle they had lost in the previous 10 years.

Myth #6 – Building muscle takes a lot of time

Many people mistakenly believe that gaining muscle mass requires spending hours at the gym each week.

However, researchers have found that lifting weights for as little as 10 minutes a day can lead to decent muscle mass gains.

The key is to lift weight consistently and gradually increase the weights that you are lifting.

Myth #7 – You need to use a gym for weight training

There are dozens of different weight training exercises that can be performed without gym equipment.

All you need is a pair dumbbells or a barbell.

You can also perform body weight exercises to gain muscle, including pushups, dips, squats, and pull-ups.

Myth #8 – Weight training is bad for your joints

This myth couldn’t be further from the truth.

Multiple studies ave concluded that lifting weights can actually improve the strength of your joints and even relieve pain.

One study, published in the Journal of Rheumatology, found that subjects with osteoarthritis who participated in a weight training program for four months saw an average reduction in knee pain severity of 43%.

The key is to perform all weight training exercises using correct form.

Myth #9 – Machines are better than free weights

Some weight lifting machines can look very impressive!

Surely, using one of these expensive machines will help you obtain better results?


Free weights remain the best tool for weight training.

They are more effective because you aren’t constrained to a single plane of motion when lifting free weights.

This causes the brain to recruit small stabilising muscles in addition to the major muscles you are using – resulting in much more muscle activity.

Myth #10 – Weight lifting reduces your flexibility

There is a common belief that people who lift weights frequently will become massive blobs of muscle who can barely touch their toes.

This isn’t true.

When a weight training program is well designed, it can actually improve a person’s flexibility.

Increasing your muscle mass doesn’t mean the muscles “get in the way”.

It just means you have more strength.

Just take a look at the physique of the average gymnast to see how muscle mass doesn’t get in the way of flexibility.

Thanks for reading The 10 Biggest Weight Training Myths.

For more health and fitness articles, bookmark my website or follow me on social media.

Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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