Common Muscle Myths

There are common myths that surround muscle and exercise. Even people who are personal trainers even spread them. These are of course proven false by basic understanding of physiology. Here is a basic outline and counter points to certain questionable claims.

I. If you stop working out your muscles will turn to fat 

  • That is not possible, because muscles will atrophy if not exercised.
  • The weight gain is dependent up certain factors like physical activity level and diet.
  • Muscular hypertrophy through exercise creates microscopic tears, which will repair themselves after a training regimen. That is how the muscle fibers increase in size.

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Laura Creavalle is a former bodybuilder. As seen here her muscles atrophied and are not as massive as they were in her competitive years.

II. Lifting weights makes women masculine 

  • Women will not look masculine from weight lifting due to basic endocrinology.
  • Virilization  only occurs with intense anabolic steroid use.
  • Weights are not a male only exercise item. Today women are using them to improve their figures.
  • Developing upper body strength is a good idea for women. Moving objects such as groceries, bags, and other items makes you less dependent on male assistance.


Lifting did not make her masculine

III. Women cannot gain strength 

  • Through weight training women can develop strength.
  • Women respond well to resistance training and can see gains in strength, without much muscular hypertrophy.
  • Strength is not male only. Many women can become stronger than many men. However, it is harder for women to build muscle.
  • Some women have a genetic advantage in which their body is mesomorphic. Building muscle would be much easier for them.


Gillian Kovack  in a before and after photo. Building a body like this requires a strict training regimen and diet.

IV. Bigger Muscles Mean More Strength 

  • This is not always the case. When accounting for absolute strength one has to examine bone mass, ligaments, and tendons.
  • What also has to be considered is the total composition of type II muscle fibers.
  • One can gain muscle size, but not functional strength. Bodybuilders do not train for strength, but size. Powerlifters could care less about appearance and focus on absolute strength.
  • Having more muscle does not make you less flexible. It can actually enhance it.

Zoe-Smith-Olympics dsc_2452

The bodybuilder has more muscles, but may not be able to lift as much as the weightlifter.

Common Muscle Myths

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