For some, lifting weights is scary, especially if you’ve never done it before. The machines, the dumbbells, the people who seem to know what they’re doing, it’s enough to make anyone skip weights altogether. Aside from that, there are other fears that invade our minds, such as:
It feels weird
- The goal of weight training, if you didn’t know, is to lift as much weight as you possibly can (with good form!) for the number of reps you’ve chosen. In daily life, we typically don’t push ourselves to fatigue in anything we do, so this idea may not only feel foreign, it may feel downright miserable. That’s one reason it’s best for beginners to gradually work towards that.
Fear of injury
- Because our muscles burn when we challenge them with resistance, people often feel they’re injuring themselves when they lift. And injury can be a real fear for beginners since injury can occur if you max out before your body is ready for it. Taking it slow while still challenging your body will help protect you from injury.
- When you haven’t lifted weights before, you may not know what’s too heavy and what’s too light. It may take some time to get a feel for your body and what it can handle.
Fear of getting bulky
- There’s still a tired old myth running around that men should lift heavy and women should lift light to avoid getting big and bulky. Women hear this: Lifting heavy weights will NOT make you huge–you simply don’t have the testosterone levels to build big muscles. Lifting heavy weights WILL help you lose fat.
Fear of pain
- The other thing about lifting weights is the psychological factor. The discomfort level associated with training to fatigue is pretty high, if you haven’t lifted weights before, you may not be able to overcome that discomfort enough to lift as heavy as you’re capable of. Again, this is one reason it’s best to err on the side of caution, while always working towards more challenge and more weight.
These fears often keep people lifting the same amount of weight for weeks, months or even years. Most of these fears are unfounded if you take time to ease into a weight training program and work towards the muscle fatigue that will make your muscles grow.Science has found that lifting between 60-80% of your 1 rep max is the best way to stimulate muscle growth.
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