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Home :: Beginning Weight Lifting : Part-2

Beginner Body Building

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The Myths of Body Building

Despite these well-recognised benefits of weight lifting, there are many myths that still exist. Here are some of the most popular misconceptions, along with the scientific facts.

Myth 1 : Weight Lifting makes women look too bulky.

Some women avoid body building for fear that they will look too masculine. On the contrary, strength training actually enhances a woman's femininity. It improves the tone and definition of the muscles, creating a firmer and more shapely appearance. Increases in muscle mass can be made, but women can never achieve the muscle bulk of men. This is due to the fact that men have ten times as much of the muscle-building hormone, testosterone, in their systems. Women are, therefore, genetically programmed not to achieve the muscle bulk of men.

Myth 2 : If you stop training, muscle turns to fat.

It is impossible for muscle to turn to fat, as it is a completely different type of body tissue. Muscle mass and strength will gradually decrease if you stop training (some physiologists believe that a muscle will never quite return to its pre-training state), and fat stores will increase if you eat more calories than you need over a period of time. However, one will not turn into the other! Once a certain muscle mass has been achieved through regular strength training, this can be maintained by training less frequently (once or twice a week).

Myth 3 : Body building makes you muscle-bound and decreases flexibility.

Increasing your muscle mass does not make you muscle-bound, reduce your flexibility or reduce your speed in athletic activities. On the contrary, if you train correctly ­performing each exercise in strict form through a full range of motion that gives your muscles and joints a full stretch ­ you can maintain and even improve flexibility. Your range of motion may decrease when you lift heavy weights, so compensate for this by doing full range o motion stretches between sets and especially at the end of your workout.

Continued use of heavier weights, partial repetitions and performing exercises with an incomplete range of motion ('cheating reps') usually results in reduced flexibility. Also, if you have one muscle group (e.g. the quadriceps) that is over-developed in comparison with the opposing group (e.g. the hamstrings), this can cause reduced flexibility in that opposing muscle group. This is common in cyclists and footballers due to the larger volume of work performed by the quadriceps. In any case, stretching the relevant muscles after training will help prevent them shortening and increase their flexibility.

It has been demonstrated that a strong muscle can contract more quickly and generate more power than a weak one. In fact, the physiques of world-class sprinters are very muscular, which goes to prove that increased muscle mass does not hinder your speed or your flexibility.

Myth 4 : Body building harms the joints

When properly and safely performed, strength training improves the strength of the ligaments that hold a joint together, thus making the joint more stable and less prone to injury. Impact movements such as running and jumping can unduly stress the ligaments and make the joints more susceptible to injury. The controlled, no-impact movements used in strength training, however, place far less stress on the joints than most other forms of exercise, and are therefore a good way of strengthening them.

Workout Places for Body Building

Obviously, the best place to start bodybuilding is with building your body! In other words, the most important thing is to lift and workout. Now, you have a few options on where you perform these tasks. Probably the most common are home gyms , school and fitness clubs. If your on a budget it's easy to lift at school if they keep the weight room open, or if you already have equipment at home that is a great place to workout. Then there are the gyms, which are fantastic because they usually have just about every piece of equipment you need and you can learn a lot just from watching the other people or talking to them. If you prefer working out by your self it's well worth it to invest in equipment for home if you don't already have it.

The following table shows the advantages and disadvantages of a Fitness Clubs and Home Gyms.

Fitness Clubs

Home Gyms





1. Greater variety of equipment, including free weights, machines and cardiovascular equipment.

2. Instructors on hand to ensure that you are training correctly, offering advice and helping you develop your training programme.

3. More motivating to train with other people and in a sociable club atmosphere.

4. Spotter or training partners allow you to train harder and reduce the risk of injury or accidents.

5. You may have access to other fitness facilities that would complement your strength training, such as swimming pool and fitness classes.

1. Membership fees can be expensive, although once you've have paid you may be more motivated to stick to your programme and less likely to skip workouts.

2. Overcrowding particularly during peak times, may be a problem.

3. More time - consuming to travel to a gym.

1. You are training in the privacy of your own home.

2. You can train when you like.

3. You don't have to travel to the gym, so it can save time.

1. Initial outlay for home gym equipment can be expensive.

2. Your budget and available space will probably limit you to only the basics.

3. Your initial enthusiasm may wear off fast and, unless you set aside specific times to workout, you can always find other things to do instead.

4. Unless you train with a partner or personal trainer, it can be difficult to motivate yourself and push yourself hard enough in a home environment to achieve significant gains.

5. Greater risk of accident or injury unless training with a partner or personal trainer.

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