Myths, Hulk, and Stereotypes
Actually, I was never really athletic. I was always interested in sports and athletic records were impressing and fascinating, but personally, I never played an active role. In my early 20’s I started to work out, to improve and maintain my health. I discovered weightlifting and for the first time in my life, I had a barbell right over my head. As many beginners, I had multiple concerns and was especially skeptical about the competition exercises, snatch and clean and jerk.
Many myths are still very present, so it is time to clear things up.1.
1.Weightlifting is a male sport
There are more males doing weightlifting than females. Characteristics like strength, and power are mostly assigned to men from society. That leads to a common opinion that men are physically more qualified for strength sports. It is a fact that men are stronger due to testosterone. Therefore male and female don’t compete against each other. But we are living in the 21st century, and the number of male or female athletes, who stood up against gender-specific classification is big. A lot of successful female weightlifters proving stereotypes wrong and are idols for many other female weightlifters. Weightlifting may still be a male-dominated sport, but it is definitely not only a male sport. Who knows maybe will the gender proportion change further in the coming years, when continually more women discover this sport for them.
I am too old or too weak for weightlifting
Of course, a World Championship participation is pretty unrealistic when you start weightlifting with 20, 30 or maybe even 40 or 50. Still, this shouldn’t discourage anybody from training with a barbell and learn weightlifting. There are Master- Competitions, regional competitions and small tournaments to measure yourself. And actually, you can have fun while training and practicing the snatch and clean+ jerk without any intention to compete.
„I had to gain some strength first before I started to snatch and clean“, this is a sentence I heard way too often in my time as a coach. To make things clear it is not necessary to be strong to learn weightlifting. Every beginner starts with a stick and an empty barbell, for that you won’t need a lot of strength. The first thing to learn is the correct technique, right positions, the speed, and coordination. Strenght doesn’t play a role with this progression. To work on your strength, a regular strength and stability training besides weightlifting is enough. A good coach will tell you how to do it the right way, listen to him.3.
Weightlifting makes me too bulky
Meanwhile, I wish that this would not only be a myth and my legs would be stronger. To build up muscles is not easy and takes years of discipline, consistency and efficient training. Unfortunately, a lot of women think that you get big and muscular immediately from only looking at the bar. But I remember that in the beginning, I was often afraid to look like Hulk when I put another 5 kg plate on the bar. This fear is unfounded. A muscular body is not only more healthy, much more is it way more attractive. And on the other hand, women don’t have the amount of testosterone which is needed to look like a hulk. Another big part plays the nutrition. I doubt that as a hobby athlete you can cover the huge calorie intake or have a massive high training intensity, that it could lead to an immense muscle growth. And even if, I know no woman who does CrossFit or weightlifting, that complains about too many muscles. With the time you get fitter, stronger, ambitious and more self-confident, so that a new personal record with your clean or squat, satisfies you more than a thought about too massive legs or shoulders.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Crossfit and weightlifting athlete