I will preface this article by my confession, I enjoy lifting weights. I comprehend the benefits and make time in my training program to challenge myself with resistance training. But I am not naive enough to believe that everyone shares my sentiment.
This blog post is designed to improve perception of the need for and benefits from lifting weights. I have included the 3 most common excuses that people offer. Not only will I debunk them, but I will also provide 3 primary benefits. I firmly believe that resistance training of some sort is necessary for a proper exercise program.
- I avoid lifting because I don’t want to bulk and ultimately decrease my range of motion. This is a common misconception related to resistance training programs. The truth is that adding muscle is very difficult to do. There are many people who exercise with the distinct goal of adding mass and they soon come to realize that it can take up to 2 months to add even 1 pound of muscle. I must also state that a properly designed resistance training program will improve range of motion, but an improperly designed program will limit flexibility. This is analogous to practicing a sport; if you continue to practice incorrectly you will change but for the worse.
- I don’t want to hurt myself. Working at Columbus with an adolescent male population, I must put this rumor to rest. Weight lifting has less uncertainty than cardio and even recreational sports. Assuming that you know how to lift the weights correctly, the chances of injury are less than your potential to roll an ankle while running or fall on your shoulder during a basketball game.
- I am not interested in lifting weights. This is an opinion and while it is difficult to change the way someone thinks about resistance training, I want you to continue reading about the benefits that it can offer. I implore you to continue reading this article with an open mind.
- Improve quality of life. There are many types of stress that people deal with on a daily basis. Lifting weights helps to safely release some tension or even aggression that has built up. This helps to decrease the negative health effects of harboring stress and even provides benefits associated with channeling temper and aggression. Resistance training also helps to boost self-esteem. Confidence in your ability to complete tasks that require lifting or moving an object can go a long way. Keep in mind that I’m not talking about entering a strongman competition, but strength is a relative term and it’s good to be in the upper percentile.
- Improved posture. As a direct rebuttal to limiting range of motion, resistance training can help to equalize muscular imbalances that lead to compromised posture and result in joint pain. Very commonly, people have tight muscles in the front of their bodies (think chest, hip flexors and abs). This can directly lead to a hunched posture. Resistance training that focuses on both increasing range of motion for the tight muscles and increasing strength for the weak muscles (back) will help to keep your body in alignment.
- Independence. We all age. As part of this process, certain things become difficult to do on our own. When we no longer have the ability to stand, walk, or drive we lose our independence. Resistance training add years of independent living.
In short, the human body is constructed to be able to deal with stress in the form of aerobic exercise but also resistance training. Looking at our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors, while the males had to haul their hunt back to the village the women also had to carry the baskets full of berries and grains. Resistance training, in some form, has long been a part of daily life. It’s best to tackle it head on.