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I was wondering if exercises that help to strengthen core muscles eg) sit ups, squats etc would lead to the muscles becoming stiff and inflexible? And also, I am worried that I would get chunky muscles, like those bodybuilder type shape from doing such exercises excessively… Is there anything in particular I can do to prevent that?
Does strengthening core muscles eg) sit ups, squats etc lead to muscles becoming stiff and inflexible?
Sit ups and squats are compound exercises, meaning they involve multiple muscle group and mimic real world 3 dimensional movement of your body.
The main benefit of compound exercises is precisely that they recruit more muscle groups – muscles that are worked more will be more flexible and less stiff.
Think of it like a spring, connecting two body parts. If they are used actively, there’s less chance that it will become stiff, because you’re repeatedly moving muscles, joints, and ligaments through their full ranges of motion.
I can understand your line of thought – that squatting with heavy weights will make you develop bulky muscles (which I will address in point 2).
But according to studies, normal weight lifting with a full range of motion, actually increases flexibility just as well as, or even better than, static stretching.
In a study conducted by Castelo Branco University, results showed that 8 weeks of resistance training improved flexibility better than static stretching in all but one measurement.
I am worried that I would get chunky muscles, like those bodybuilder type shape from doing such exercises excessively
The most common concern of girls in Singapore, by far. Which is probably why you see so many girls pounding the treadmill non-stop.
The fact is apart from my primary sport (swimming), I’ve been weight training for over 10 years to improve my athletic performance too. By extrapolation, I should look something like The Rock. But I don’t.
There’s a simple physics explanation behind that – law of mass. You are not going to put on extra mass from nowhere, unless you are eating MASSIVE amounts and extra calories to support the muscle growth.
There’s a reason why those huge bodybuilders you see at the gym are constantly sipping on their protein shakes, and eating multiple meals a day.
Furthermore, you need to use heavier and heavier weights progressively to stress your muscles to adapt and get bigger. ie if you aren’t, again you will not grow bigger.
TLDR: No, you won’t get bodybuilder big with weight training unless you are
A. Eating huge amounts of food
B. Doing progressively heavier and heavier rates
C. Bonus reason: you are female, so have less “grow big muscles hormone” (testosterone) than males.