With resistance training exploding in popularity because of its powerful body sculpting, muscle strengthening, metabolism boosting, fat melting and hormone balancing effects, it’s hard to imagine that it has any disadvantages. Although it’s the form of exercise I recommend to everyone regardless of age, fitness history and goals, I will concede that resistance training does have one main disadvantage, but it’s probably not one most people would consider. Below I list some of the FALSE disadvantages of resistance training, and at the end I list the one real disadvantage.
Resistance Training is Terrible for Flexibility
This myth probably got its wings from people watching extremely muscled out bodybuilders move and walk. It’s not hard to see why people would think lifting weights makes you tight when you see a 250lbs male bodybuilder move. They saunter in a tight way with their arms flared out to their sides. They are huge and it appears like they would struggle to wipe their own butts.
The truth is, most of these massive bodybuilders are actually very flexible. I know many bodybuilders personally due to hosting the Mind Pump podcast and I’ve seen them do some remarkable flexibility movements. However, it is true that some bodybuilders move in a weird way due to the EXTREME amount of muscle they carry. Don’t worry, you won’t ever have to deal with “too much muscle” problems. These people have muscle building genetics that are akin to people being over 7 feet tall. They also usually take lots of steroids, eat, and lift weights in specific muscle-building ways every single day for years and years to develop a bodybuilder physique. Good or bad, you will never build that muscle no matter what you do. Instead, if you follow a good workout routine, you will just build firm, strong but natural looking muscles.
Proper resistance training builds muscles but it doesn’t make them less flexible. In fact, weak muscles are often tighter than strong ones. Proper resistance training also utilizes full ranges of motion which ENCOURAGE flexibility. Full squats, presses and rows need a healthy level of flexibility. The truth is, if you follow a good resistance training routine, you will likely become much more flexible.
Resistance Training is Terrible for Fat Loss
This one really annoys me! This myth has made more people than I care to imagine choose the wrong forms of exercise for fat loss resulting in frustration and eventual abandonment of fitness. It’s true that resistance training doesn’t burn as many calories in relation to time spent versus other forms of exercise like swimming or running. But the number of calories you burn doesn’t tell the whole story. Although resistance training isn’t a huge calorie burner, it does TEACH your body to burn more calories on its own. Building strength and muscle BOOSTS your metabolism. So, although running for an hour burns more calories than lifting weights for an hour does, over time, lifting weights burns more calories because your metabolism does the work for you. It’s for those reasons that resistance training is the best form of exercise to get lean and stay lean.
Here is the real challenge
The real disadvantage of resistance training has to do with its complexity. Unlike running or cycling which is the same motion over and over again, resistance training is an umbrella that covers literally thousands of exercises with each one having multiple variations. There is also the problem of knowing when to do the exercises, how many reps to complete, and the proper form. Because of these factors, hiring a good personal trainer is worth its weight in gold. However, hiring a trainer can be quite expensive ranging from $40-100 an hour on average. Another option is to enroll in online fitness programs like the ones I have created for my podcast Mind Pump, or to follow the routines in my book, The Resistance Training Revolution.
Nonetheless, if you take your time to learn the skill of a few basic resistance training movements you will have overcome the biggest hurdle. The rest is simple as resistance training shapes and transforms your body into a strong, fat-burning machine.