Lifting weights have been used for a long time to increase muscle size and function, and improve muscular performance in as many activities as you can shake a stick at. However, there are some common myths out there that often make people apprehensive about lifting weights, and consequently, they do not get the most out of their training, or end up with an unwanted injury. I would like to explore a few of the more common myths with regards to endurance athletes and weight training, and shed some light on how you can maximize the results of your training.
Myth 1: Weights will make you slow
If I had a euro for every time I heard this I would definitely have enough money for a few weeks grocery shopping. A common perception is that strength training will result in a large increase in muscle mass that will in turn result in having to lug the extra muscle around with you.
Fact 1: A properly designed training program will increase movement efficiency
In actual fact, a well designed program should result in better movement efficiency, and more solid movement patterns, which will result in faster times on the track, on the road, or in the pool.
Myth 2: Lifting weights will make you inflexible
Sometimes, when people think of a weight training program, they have images of an orange looking bodybuilder strutting his stuff on the stage, that would have to use a long stick to scratch his nose due to the size of his biceps limiting his movement. If you are one of the people that has this image, you are mistaken.
Fact 2: Performing appropriate strength exercises through a full range of motion will improve mobility
Think of an exercise like the Bulgarian Squat. The range of motion around the hip joint is enormous. It stretches the hip flexors like no other exercise, and build strength in the lower leg, hamstrings, quads, and glutes, as well as providing a challenge for the all important core and postural muscles that protect and support the spine.
Myth 3: Endurance athletes do not need to lift weights
Endurance athletes run, swim, cycle, climb, and walk…..so why should they lift weights I hear you say? This is an opinion that any serious endurance athlete will pay dearly for.
Fact 3: Endurance athletes will gain a host of positive adaptations from a well designed strength training program
A good strength training program will address mobility issues, build an excellent range of motion, target areas that are at a high risk of injury, improve movement mechanics, and raise the general level of performance. In the next article of this 2 part series, I will show you 5 exercises that are crucial for endurance athletes to include in their training programs.