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. Baseball players who ruled the radio waves never lifted weights because they thought that it would interfere with their ability to catch and hit a ball, and the prevailing attitude was that lifting weights made you muscle-bound. Today we know that even violin players and watchmakers, who require extraordinary coordination and dexterity to do their jobs, can lift weights because there is no such condition as muscle bound.

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 have to do squats with heavy weights on their shoulders. Javelin throwers must strengthen their arms and legs, and sprinters have to strengthen their legs. Those baseball player from the 1930s could not compete in today's professional leagues because they would be too weak and small.

Checked 8/9/08

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