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, particularly professional baseball players. They were afraid that lifting weights would cause them to develop such large muscles that they would lose the fine coordination necessary to hit and throw a baseball. Today we know there is no such condition as 'muscle bound'. Baseball players all lift weights and they are so much better as athletes that the best baseball players in the world before 1940 probably would not even make today's professional teams.

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 activities that require strength, such as playing sports, working as a carpenter or opening a stuck door. Strength training also makes you faster. Muscles are made up of slow and fast twitch fibers. The slow-twitch, red fibers are used primarily for endurance such as 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, since they virtually all require power.

Checked 9/29/08

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