Top 3 Muscle Building Myths
If you're just starting out at the gym, looking to gain some muscle, get toned, and look more athletic, chances are you've probably no idea where to start.
Don't worry, you're not alone.
With so many conflicting answers on the internet, how do you separate fact from fiction?
In this article, we will take a look at 3 of the biggest myths about muscle gain.
You don't need fancy or complex equipment to get strong and build muscle.
Don't confuse your body, give it time to adapt.
Done properly, weightlifting isn't as dangerous as it looks.
When I first started my fitness journey, I blindly went from 1 machine in the gym to the next until I felt like I did enough that day and left.
Unsurprisingly, I gained very little to no appreciable muscle mass in those early days of my weightlifting journey.
Through trial and error, as well as some research, I've learned what works, and what doesn't.
Hopefully, you won't make the same mistakes I did.
Myth #1: You have to use machines and other special equipment
Step into any gym and you're likely to find many different machines, exercise balls, TRX systems, and other contraptions.
You'll be tempted to think that you need to make use of ALL of this equipment in order to gain muscle quickly and build your ideal body.
The truth is, to build a strong foundation and a fantastic body, you don't even have to touch most of these gadgets.
Instead, you only need to learn how to use 2 equipment: the barbell and the dumbbell.
Studies have clearly shown that when it comes to free-weights vs machines, free-weights are the clear winner and offer you the most bang for your buck in terms of muscle gain.
Take a look around your gym, and you'll find that most of the strongest people, with the best physique, will be found near either a barbell or a dumbbell.
Now machines and other contraptions do still have their place in your fitness journey. But they are most effective as accessories rather than the foundation equipment that you rely on.
Myth #2: If you keep repeating exercises, you'll never gain muscle
This myth and other similar ones revolve around the concept that you need to constantly "shock" your body into gaining muscle.
When it comes to muscle gain, its progressive overload that stimulates growth, not confusion.
But what is progressive overload?
It's a fancy term to mean that you need to progressively increase the tension your muscles produce. And the easiest way to achieve that is by progressively increasing the amount of weight you lift, aka getting stronger.
Regardless of how many different exercises you do, if you don't track and push yourself to load more weight over time, chances are you'll stop gaining muscle.
Another factor that we need to consider is the mind-muscle connection that forms over time when you repeat an exercise. Also called muscle memory.
That's how our body turns once complex and difficult tasks, into almost automatic responses. If you've ever learned how to play an instrument, you know what I am talking about.
That same is true for exercise. When you first start exercising, particularly weight training as it requires more motor skills and coordination, you'll likely feel awkward and unstable.
As you progress, you'll build a stronger mind-muscle connection, and your movements start to feel more natural enabling you to lift heavier weights.
However, if you're constantly changing exercises, you deny your body the time to adapt and build this connection, thus missing the opportunity to gain more muscle by lifting heavier.
Myth #3: Heavy weightlifting is dangerous
It's understandable that the majority of people tend to shy away from weightlifting, especially HEAVY weightlifting, due to the notion that weightlifting is dangerous.
Compared to other exercises like jogging or biking, weightlifting certainly looks more dangerous.
The internet is also a place full of "gym fail" videos, showcasing weightlifting with disastrous outcomes.
This fear and misconception lead to the majority of beginners opting to go for a light-weight, high-rep weightlifting program, or skipping weightlifting entirely.
Both these options, while better than doing nothing, isn't as effective as building a muscular physique compared to a well-designed, well-executed, heavy weightlifting program.
Heavy weightlifting exercises do come with risks, just like every other activity. However, when done correctly, weightlifting can actually be one of the safest fitness activities you can do, not to mention an excellent way to PREVENT injuries.
With increased strength and muscle mass that can only come from well-programmed weight-based training, you gain:
Increased bone density
Better joint health
Better mobility and coordination
Better heart health
The list goes on
So it's clear that the benefits far outweigh the relatively negligible risk of injury. Let's not forget that ALL activities have inherent risks.
It's up to you to decide which risks are worth taking.