UPDATE: Words ‘Weightlifting’ and ‘Bulky’ Barred from Same Sentence

Certain things in our world are only held to be true because we say they are. In the same way that dogs are NOT color blind and cracking your knuckles does NOT give you arthritis, lifting heavy weights does NOT make you bulky. But, hey.. myths are fun.

As a strength and conditioning coach, I often choose to step aside when weary folks begin to discuss their concerns about packing on size with strength training. As a “skinny guy,” I’d like to confirm that lifting heavy (unfortunately) never made me bigger. What’s quite ironic is that folks that justify trading strength training for Pilates will tell you a barbell will turn anyone into an unattractive hulk, while an impressive obsession with Yoplait Yogurt is often allowed to skate free unmentioned.

With the Olympics on, we can get insight into the world of weightlifting and it’s affects on body type. Check out Julia Rohde who is competing in London representing Germany. She’s a burly 115lbs and has spent the majority of her life lifting the heaviest weights she possibly can. Lookout, world!

Julia snatching an FFOTB World Record.

But, she could be a rare breed. I understand that. What about this girl? Or, what about my old coach, Natalie Burgener? Are they bulky? And, trust me, any member at our gym will touch a barbell maybe 3 times a week, in much smaller doses than these women at MUCH smaller loads. Does this augment still hold any weight?

Most of the time, I think folks making this point about lifting weights and the consequences of bulking up are genuinely misguided. It’s important, though, for us to look at the difference between weightlifting (one word) and whatever this is. Once we, as a community, can get past myths like this one, we can get back to making life a bit more healthy and a bit more awesome.


Logan Gelbrich


Wednesday’s Workout:

3 rounds for time and reps:

Run 400M, then at the 4 min mark perform AMRAP KB Swings for the time it took to complete 400m.

*Rest 2 minutes between rounds

**20 burpee penalty if the athlete fails to complete KB swings unbroken

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