Updated: Jul 30, 2020
Strength training has been around for a long time but for some reason it gets a bad rap. Why?
I (Dr. Brown) can remember being a high school female athlete and thinking "I better not grab the heavy dumbbells I don't want to get BULKY. No one really came along and ever explained to me the importance and benefits of strength training so I just formulated my own opinions. I (Dr. Palermo) played soccer throughout High School and I don't ever remember being given the opportunity to go into the weight room, in fact, I only thought weight room was for footballers and wrestlers.
We are here to dispel some common myths about strength training and educate you so you are 100% clear on why strength training is great for the body and it is essential for ALL athletes.
1. You won't get "BULKY".
Well you can get "BULKY" if you want to but that takes a lot of heavy weight, multiple hours of training daily and weekly, a focus towards towards hypertrophy(building big muscles), and nutrition geared towards "bulking". Strength training starts with being able to move your own body weight. This is essential. Once you can safely and correctly move your own body weight, then you can add load(dumbbells/Kettlebells/Barbell etc). Even when you increase your load it is hard to get bulky with one hour workouts 2-3 times a week.
2. "You can't start too young...it will stunt growth"
Ummmm. No. This is not true. Right now there is no evidence that suggests strength training at a young age is harmful or stunts growth. However, as a general rule, strength training should start when an athlete begins training more frequently and seriously and the goal should be focused on moving your own body weight first and learning quality movement patterns under the supervision of a trained individual. Usually this is around 10 -11 years old. But just to be clear this is just a general age the strength community has picked. It is not based on research or data. If you think about, the more repetitions a youth athlete has a something ie pushing, pressing, squatting/lunging the better that athlete will become when it time to really "hit the weigh room".
3. "It doesn't apply to me: I'm not a strength athlete or I don't play sports"
Strength training is good for everyone. It builds muscle mass, keeps our bone density high and helps maintain strong resilient joints by keeping our body moving through it's full motion under tension. If done properly, it promotes improved body awareness, movement mechanics and increases postural stability/strength which makes our bodies more resilient and less injury prone. Did you know that after the age of 50 your muscle mass will atrophy by 10% each decade if you don't continue strength training?! That should be reason enough for EVERYONE to continue or begin immediately to strength train. So, if you have never participated in a strength training program now is the time to start and never quit!
These are just some of the myths we wanted to dispel that are common misconceptions.
For the past 8-10 weeks we have all been sheltering at home due to Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic. Training with teams have been on a hault, gyms have been closed and amazon has inconveniently "run out of workout equipment." The AMAZING thing about strength training is that it can be done from anywhere. It can also be done by yourself safely. You don't need a ton of equipment to get the job done. As a matter of fact, you can use many things in your own home to increase your load and challenge yourself that way if you desire.
Gyms are opening. Some of you are going to jump at the chance to get back to the gym. Others of you are going to decide to stay at home a little longer. Regardless of where you stand now is the time to take care of your body and commit to it. We ALL need to be training like an athlete. If you are an athlete, this is not a vacation. Your sport will return. It is coming back soon! Practice will resume. Games will be played again. It may look different but you need to be ready. And remember...someone is out there working hard than you!
Our suggestion- get a great trainer or strength coach and get good at the fundamentals. The basics. This means moving your own body weight correctly. Squats, lunges, deadlifts, push ups/pulls ups and jumping. Once you can do these motions, weight can and should be added and then you can get creative with exercise. If you don't have access to work with a strength coach/trainer there are some great gyms out there doing FREE home workouts and gyms are opening as well. Jump on them, keep your body moving! Locally in San Pedro, CA All Fit Gym San Pedro and Heyday Elite Fitness are doing home workouts daily and onsite workouts. Contact them. Join in.
Questions? Concerns? Feel free to reach out to us. We are here for you.
Yours in strength,
Dr. Brown & Dr. P