We all want to get into better shape. Unfortunately there are a lot of myths floating around out there when it comes to exercise and fitness. Chasing after the wrong thing only produces a lot of frustration and very little in the way of results. That said, we are beginning a series on fitness myths…..namely we are going to identify and debunk those myths. Hopefully this will help you identify any exercises that you can safely do without. So let’s get started:
1) Lactic acid causes muscle fatigue. This myth got started about a century ago, when research, conducted on frogs no less, had concluded that lactic acid levels within muscles increased with fatigue. The truth of the matter is that while lactic acids don increase with fatigue, it is because it is fueling your muscle contractions. It is what causes that painful burning that makes all of us want to throw in the towel, but at the same time, your liver is also producing and converting lactic acid into more energy, so it is actually working to offset fatigue. The fatigue itself is prompted by an accumulation of protons within the muscles..
2) You should practice safety by lifting weights slowly. This myth got its start in rehabilitation exercises, where patients are routinely told to lift slowly to avoid reinjuring themselves. At some point, trainers developed the idea that slower training reduces the risk of injury. The fact is that as long as you control the lifting and lowering phases of the process, you are not likely to injure yourself. In fact, quicker exercises train the muscles to respond faster in unexpected situations. This can be crucial since fast reaction can protect you from injury. Lifting weight with speed also activates more muscle fibers and that leads to muscle gain.
3) Lighter weights and high reps tone muscles. Body builders have been using lighter weight, high rep sets for a long time, as it helps them burn calories and get as lean as possible. The fact is that bodybuilders also accompany this sort of training with a strict low carb diet which helps to account for their rapid weight loss. If you want muscle tone, then you want to work the muscles and lose the flab.
4) Machines are safer than free weights. The manufacturers of these machines advertise that their equipment targets specific areas through preset ranges of motion that are error free. In actuality, the restrictive movements of these machines may increase the likelihood of injury. Machines are rigid and fixed and limit the natural movements of the lifter. Using free weights allows the body to make adjustments throughout the exercise’s range of motion, according to your strength level, speed of movement, and proficiency.
5) You need to shock your muscles in order to make gains. No one knows how this one got started, but bodybuilders at some point began to notice that if they changed their training after several weeks of the same thing, they achieved quicker gains. While there is nothing wrong with changing things up, per se, but purposefully overloading your nervous system is not a good idea. Making gains is simply a matter of outdoing your previous workout.
Stay tuned for Part 2.
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