Mythbusters: Will Lifting Make Me Bulky?

“Weightlifting will make you bulky”: It’s a misconception that’s kept numerous athletes — especially females, runners, swimmers, golfers, racquet-sports players, and others — away from the weight room.

So, what’s the truth behind weightlifting and strength training? Let’s dig into the facts.

You Won’t “Bulk” If You’re Not Training for It

First, weightlifting doesn’t make anyone bulky unless they’re training with that specific goal in mind.

Those bulky bodybuilders and powerlifters? They’ve spent countless hours and put in immense effort in the gym and in their nutrition to get bulky. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen by accident.

Bulking up takes a very tailored training regimen and specific nutritional intake. For most people, casually hitting the weights a couple of times a week and eating a balanced diet isn’t going to bulk you up.

Instead, you’re more likely to experience the numerous benefits that weightlifting offers.

The Power-Packed Benefits of Strength Training

Speaking of, here’s what strength training can do for you:

Improve Your Neuromuscular Efficiency: This basically means better communication between your nervous system and muscles – and better communication can help improve the coordination and effectiveness of your movements.

Enhance Your Running Economy: Lifting weights can make your running more efficient, allowing you to use less energy and run faster.

Boost Your VO2max: This refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during intense workouts. Increased VO2max can lead to better endurance.

Improve Your Muscular Power: Whether it’s pushing off the blocks as a swimmer or sprinter, powering up a hill as a cyclist or delivering that knockout blow in a boxing match, strength training ensures that your muscles have the power they need for explosive movements.

Prevent Bad Movement Patterns: Strength training is also about balance. Weak glutes can lead to misalignment in your knees and ankles. Misalignment can lead to pain, injury, or a significant loss of power in activities like running, jumping, or even walking. Similarly, a weak core can sap power when transferring energy from your lower body to your upper body. Think about the force needed to throw a ball or push off an opponent.

Facilitate Independence in Daily Life: Lifting weights makes daily tasks easier, like gardening, parenting, getting groceries, or moving furniture.

Maintain Strong Bones: Strength training is crucial for building and maintaining strong bones and reducing the risk of fractures as we age.

Should You Start Lifting Weights?

Absolutely! There are all sorts of benefits and few downsides. But remember, the training you choose should align with your specific goals and your chosen sport or activity.

Not sure where to start? WPI’s strength and conditioning coach, Morgan, will help design a program tailored to your goals and activities.

She may suggest a movement analysis using the state-of-the-art Noraxon system. This will help identify areas of weakness where strength training might help.

Armed with this information, she will create a plan designed to shore up deficiencies and improve the efficiency and power of your movements.

With her guidance, you’ll feel stronger in all the right ways, improving your athletic performance and boosting your overall health and fitness.

Don’t let untruths about strength training keep you away from all the gains (pun intended) waiting for you in the weight room. It’s a great way to get to where you want to be — and you don’t have to sacrifice your shape to get there. Want to add strength training to your athletic-performance program? Contact us for a movement analysis and strength-training recommendations.