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Lifting Weights Won't Make You Musclebound

In 1937, Dr. Peter Karpovich of Springfield College in Massachusetts published a ground breaking paper showing that lifting weights helped men improve their coordination. At the time, his paper was ridiculed by most athletes in professional sports. Many of the most famous baseball players before World War II laughed at him because they were rich, famous and the best and most adored athletes in the world, and they didn't lift weights. They were afraid that lifting weights would cause them to develop such large muscles that they wouldn't be able to control them and they would lose the fine coordination necessary to hit and throw a baseball. They proudly announced that lifting weights would make a ball player "musclebound".

Today violin players and watchmakers, who require extraordinary coordination and dexterity, well beyond that needed to hit a baseball, lift weights because they know that there is no such condition as "muscle bound". Today's baseball players all lift weights and they are so much stronger and better athletes, that the best baseball players in the world before 1940 couldn't possibly even make today's baseball teams because they weren't strong enough.

Training for strength improves coordination. Your brain is a master switchboard that coordinates your muscles. Lifting weights does not interfere with brain function; it improves coordination in events that require strength, such as playing sports, working as a carpenter, opening a stuck door or beating a drum. Strength training makes you faster. Muscles are made up of slow and fast twitch fibers. The slow-twitch, red fibers are used primarily for endurance, for running long distances or performing continuous work. The fast twitch, white fibers are used primarily for strength and speed. The same fast-twitch fibers that are strengthened by weight-lifting are used for speed, so the stronger your muscle is, the faster you can move it.

Lifting weights will improve your performance in every sport that requires power. It can help you to run faster, jump higher, throw further and lift heavier. High jumpers do squats with heavy weights on their shoulders. Javelin throwers must strengthen their arms and legs, and sprinters work to strengthen their legs. Lifting weights does not stunt growth in growing children.

Checked  4/6/17

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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