We continue our look into some of the more well known (and widely accepted as fact) fitness myths that have made the rounds over the last few years. Hopefully being aware of these will allow you to better structure and coordinate your fitness regimen. That, said, let us plow forward.
6) Training to failure is required for best results. This undoubtedly came out of the bodybuilding world again, assuming that if hard training builds muscle, then training as hard as you possibly can will only serve to build more muscle.The fact is that there is simply no basis for this belief, as there is no activity outside of training that proves going to failure is in any way critical. Other weight related jobs such as construction work do not demand that their workers carry more and more weight until they drop, so why would you choose that approach for your exercise? If anything, pushing too hard will only result in a drop in your motivation, which of course does nothing to accentuate muscle development or reach any sort of fitness goals.
7) You have to make use of a “pump” in order to gain muscle. This myth began with people noticing that doing high to moderate rep sets for a given muscle group with little rest in between gave them pumps and later on, greater muscles. While there is nothing wrong with getting a pump, it is really nothing more than a reflection of exactly how long your muscles have been under tension. Muscles stretch and become engorged with blood, and without the rest to allow the blood to flow out, you may enjoy a pumped up feeling and appearance for an hour or so. Muscles need to be placed under the right amount of tension in order to grow, and overdoing it in favor of a pump will only lead to muscle fatigue, not overload.
8) To grow their biggest, your muscles need high volume training. With the steroid boom of the 60s and 70s, people learned that such drugs would help them perform more sets for a muscle group without endangering their recovery. Eliminate the drugs, however, and you end up in serious danger of overtraining, which is not healthy. Brief workouts, performed more often, are more beneficial and productive in the long run, allowing you to double your stimulus for growth and in the end become even bigger.
9) Never let your knees go past your toes on squats and lunges. This came from one too many injuries related to squats and thrusts, usually the result of accidentally rotating at the hips during a rep, causing ligament damage in the knee. The fact is that where your knees end up in any exercise routine is dependent on the length of your legs and where the muscles attach. Shorter people can squat easily without the knees passing over the toes in the down position, but taller people may find that their knees drift far forward.
10) You should wear a lifting belt whenever you go for heavier goals. Weightlifting inherently poses a risk for injury. It was probably a back injury related to weightlifting that set the weight belt craze into motion. The truth is that while belts may provide a measure of mental encouragement, it is possible to become dependent on it and actually unable to lift heavy weights without it. It is in fact entirely possible to lift massive weights using only your body’s natural support system. Losing the belt will force your abs to work a little harder to protect your spine.
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