Top 5 Myths on Muscle Building

Nine out of 10 people in the gym do not work out correctly.

Yes, you heard it right.

British health company Nuffield Health suggests that, among the 2,000 participants in a survey, 74% criticized other gym-goers of poor gym etiquette. Many also faulted themselves.  

I could spend an entire chapter  listing all of their mistakes, but below are a few of the most common ones:

  • They waste too much time on the incorrect workouts.
  • They alternate between overtraining and undertraining certain muscle groups.
  • They maintain poor form, particularly in the more difficult workouts.
  • They either use too heavy or too lightweight.
  • They don’t take enough breaks between sets.

In actuality, the majority of people’s activities in the gym don’t constitute training but rather mere exercises.

How are they different?

Training is a systematic way of exercising to accomplish a specific, long-term goal. Take, for example, enhanced strength, muscle definition, energy that lasts all day, or agility. Whereas exercise is physical activity done for its own sake—to burn calories or boost energy levels, or improve mood.

Exercise isn’t necessarily bad (it’s better than doing nothing). However, only training will give you the shredded physique that most people genuinely seek. 

Exercise can improve your health but might not help with muscle growth or fat reduction. Which are the two major physiological levers you need to understand and master to achieve your ideal body.

Unfortunately, most gym enthusiasts are unaware of this. Which is why days, seasons, and years pass while they perform the same exercises with no progress on their physique. 

This article will look at the common myths people tell about muscle building.

Myth 1: Lifting heavy weights makes you stronger but doesn’t help with muscle building.

If there is one popular myth that damages men’s bodies more than any other, it’s this one.

It is false to believe that heavy weightlifting is only or even mostly done to gain strength rather than muscle.

Increasing one’s strength is the most effective way to gain significant muscle. Overall strength is attributed to both muscular strength and muscular endurance. All body movements, and activities carried out on a daily basis, including lifting objects, are determined by these two muscle attributes. 

Muscular strength is defined as the amount of force you can put out or the amount of weight you can lift. 

Muscular endurance is defined as how many times or how long you can move that weight without getting exhausted. 

It is possible to increase strength as follows: 

  1. Lifting heavy weights put a lot of mechanical force on your muscles. And one of the most efficient techniques to promote muscle growth is gradually increasing the mechanical tension in the muscles.
  2. Heavy weightlifting increases muscle fiber activation.  According to research,  fiber activation has a higher impact on a greater proportion of muscle tissue.

Developing your overall strength should be your top priority as a natural weightlifter. And heavy weightlifting is the best method for doing it. 

If that’s the case, you might ask, “how do you explain those guys who are far stronger than they appear to be.”

Many attribute these exceptions to using steroids, having superior genetics, or having perfect technique, and while these elements may play a role, the most crucial one is something that most people overlook:


While the muscles in each of our bodies are the same and are distributed in the same general areas, how they are connected to our skeletons varies.

These variations are typically minor—only a centimeter or two—but can result in significant variations in natural strength. 

These effects on strength can be mind-blowing. According to studies, even among individuals with the same levels of lean mass, strength might vary by as much as 25% due to anatomical variations.

In other words, two people with the same body composition can be up to 25% stronger than each other. 

Over time strength is important when you want to build muscles.

Myth 2: Some men lack the genetics to build muscle.

Many people find the word “genetics” repulsive.

I don’t want to be the prophet of doom, but muscle-building is frequently connected to things you want to change but can not. The amount of muscle we can all build is limited.

Even though many physiological factors are at play, examining your bone structure can give you a good idea of your capacity to create muscle.

According to research, those with larger bones tend to have more muscular frames. 

Bigger-boned individuals also frequently have higher testosterone levels and develop muscle more quickly after beginning a weightlifting regimen. 

But what exactly is “large-boned,” and how do you compare?

The circumferences of your wrists and ankles are two of the best measures of your entire skeletal structure. In proportion to height, people with broader wrists and ankles are typically more naturally muscular and have a greater capacity for muscle growth than those with narrower ones. 

In terms of bone mineral density, testosterone is quite important. As men age and their testosterone levels decline, their bone density declines. 

Osteoporosis and brittle bones are made more likely by this. Your muscles and internal organs are supported by strong bones, which also improve athletic ability and bigger muscles.

One study looked into the effects of a magnesium and zinc supplement. It was shown that men who consumed 30 milligrams of zinc daily had higher levels of free testosterone in their bodies. 

Myth 3: It is dangerous to lift heavy weights with muscle building as your goal

I can see why many people believe that lifting weights, especially heavy ones, is dangerous.

Weightlifting appears more like a death wish than a discipline when compared to other types of exercise like jogging, calisthenics or cycling.

You will find plenty of things that make you anxious if you browse through the online discussion boards. Personal experiences range from mild muscular and joint aches to horrifying ones, with some seasoned bodybuilders becoming so weak that they cannot do anything until ibuprofen or other pain relievers takes effect. 

Thankfully, the trend is changing, and strength training is widely accepted, although many still believe that the risks outweigh the advantages.

As we have seen in the first point, muscular strength and endurance are the keys to lifting heavy weights. Lifting heavy weights while having low muscular strength and endurance may strain muscles, tendons or bones. 

Take caution while lifting heavy by using appropriate protective/support gear.

While there are risks associated with weightlifting, they are not nearly as serious as many people believe. Ironically, research demonstrates that it’s one of the safest forms of exercise you can engage in when done properly.

For instance, researchers at Bond University found in one assessment of 20 studies that bodybuilding resulted in just one injury on average for every 1,000 hours of training.

In other words,  recreational sports puts you at a 6–10 times higher risk of injury than going to the gym to lift heavy weights.

Lifting weights also has a great benefit. You cannot receive the same health and fitness benefits from other sports or forms of exercise.

With all these, we realize weight lifting requires endurance.

A well-planned weightlifting program can benefit you in the following ways, in no particular order:

  • Strong, healthy joints
  • Increased muscular mass
  • Improved brain and heart health
  • Denser bone
  • Reduced chance of fracture
  • Quicker metabolism

Myth 4: You Can’t Lose Fat and build Muscle at the Same Time 

You can. At least the majority of people, including you, can.

Your training status and background are the main deciding criteria here.

 Here are some general guidelines:

  • You shouldn’t have trouble gaining muscle and reducing fat simultaneously if you’re new to weightlifting or just starting again.
  • You probably can’t do both and will have to prepare for one if you have had a long rest and lifted heavy weights for at least six to eight months.

Why do those regulations exist? 

Fat loss and muscle gain reveal “irreconcilable discrepancies” physiologically. Their connection to the body’s energy balance explains why they are incompatible with one another.

Body fat levels decrease when you put it in a calorie deficit, but your body’s capacity to produce muscle proteins also declines. When calories are restricted for a long time, testosterone levels drop, and cortisol levels rise. 

Research shows that your body is hyperresponsive and can build muscle quickly when you first start weightlifting. Many men can acquire  25 pounds of muscle during the first year of weightlifting while losing excessive fat. 

Myth 5: You must perform different exercises to confuse muscle into growth. 

How often have you heard that your workout regimen must be changed frequently to make progress?

Some trainers even say, “you must consistently introduce your muscles to various activities and workouts to “confuse” and “shock” them into growth.”

This narrative makes some sense. We must constantly push the boundaries and put ourselves through new challenges to get better at anything, whether it’s a talent or a muscle, right? And what better method to exercise our muscles than continually putting them under different physical stress?

Your muscles do not have mental capacity. They can’t be “confused” by clever workout programming and aren’t trying to guess what workout you will undertake today. Muscle tissue is mechanical. The only thing it does is either contract or relax, Nothing further.

Nevertheless, the fundamental idea that your muscles must constantly be pushed to continue increasing in size and strength has some merit. However, the emphasis on the different exercises is where muscle confusion goes wrong.

You can vary your exercise routine weekly, if not daily, and yet experience a plateau since “changing” does not promote muscle growth.

Progressive overload does. Progressive overload is the physical stress your body needs to build muscle.

The best technique to achieve progressive overload is to gradually increase the weight you’re lifting by increasing the amount of stress your muscles produce over time.

To put that into perspective, the secret to building muscle and strength isn’t only in adjusting the exercises your muscles are accustomed to—it’s also in making them work harder.

 And this is what happens when you push your muscles to lift heavier and heavier weights regularly.

Takeaways for effective muscle building

  • Exercise can improve your health, but neither fat reduction nor muscle gain. Which are the two key physiological levers you need to understand to create the physique of your dreams—are guaranteed by it.
  • You cannot fundamentally alter the shape of your muscles, “lengthen” and “tighten” them, or selectively remove fat to make them appear more defined.
  • It is untrue that some types of exercise result in “long, lean” muscles like those found in dancers. While other types lead to “bulky, muscles like those found in bodybuilders.
  • Gaining a significant level of strength is the most reliable approach to adding a considerable amount of muscle. Increasing your total body strength, energy, and endurance should be your top priority when building muscle.
  • Progressive overload, which is the continuous physical stress your body goes through while training, is important because it is your getaway to muscle building.

Bottom Line

Using free weights, compound movements, and progressive overload constitute at least two-thirds of the equation for building muscle and strength.

One of the main reasons why so many people struggle to gain muscle is that they waste too much time on the treadmill with ineffective exercises while using light weights.

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