Once you hung around at the weight room long enough, its unavoidable that you will start hearing some “tips” that many people believed in. Some sounded more scientific than others. But not all of these are true. The following are 6 myths circulating at many gyms that you should totally ignore.
Wear Weightbelts to Protect Your Back
Seriously, this is a myth long proven to be false by Dr. McGill that you can read on his book Ultimate Back Fitness. Its not about how thick or tight your belt is, its about how you keep it in neutral position and use all your core muscles to stiffen it. The image above is definitely NOT something you should be doing with or without any weight belt.
Situps, Crunches and Russian Twists are your essentials for 6 pack abs
More like essentials for bad backs. There’s a reason why US Army and Canadian Army finally listened to Dr. McGill’s research and do away with the speed sit up requirements, namely its true that its best for some people to avoid them. I for one haven’t done a single sit up for over a year and still keep my 6 pack abs. Back Mechanics will be a good place to start if you want to do away with these bad exercises and still maintain a strong core.
Machines are Safer than Weights
This is a rather convenient myth to keep especially among lazy personal trainers that don’t really want to bother coaching proper technique to their clients. Fact is among serious, injury free lifters, machines are only useful for assistance lifts after they have done the big lifts (squat, deadlift, benchpress and Overhead press) and explosive lifts (Snach, Clean and Jerk and their variations) with free weights. And there’s a reason for that, namely that big and explosive lifts requires balance and multiple muscle coordination, hence have less risk of developing muscular imbalance or movement pattern dysfunction compared to machines.
You Must Confuse the Muscle for Gains
This is a trend that started out with the bodybuilders and later expand to those trainers that believed in a perverted form of “functional training”. Interestingly, these are the very same people that do not have actual athletic performance as their benchmark. Fact of the matter is powerlifters and olympic weightlifters only focuses on limited number of exercises and yet are the strongest class of athlete strictly on the sagital plane of movement. Joint, muscle and bones becomes stronger by adaptation of progressive loading. If you keep on changing the method of loading every time you train, you will not get stronger any faster.
You Must Train to Failure for Absolute Gains
Yet another myth from the bodybuilding circle. If you train for looks, not for absolute strength, and use lots of steroids, insulin and HGH, then this might be the case. But there’s a reason why real athletes have a motto “no ego lift”. If you struggle to get the weight up, then either there was too much repetition or too much weight in that set for you at the moment. Its not just for safety reason, but also to make sure that your “neural drive” i.e. your capability to activate as much muscle fiber as possible in a single contraction remains intact.
You Must Feel the Burn Before Your Muscle Will Grow
OK, maybe not that type of burn, but you get the idea. This is yet another misguided thinking that started in the bodybuilding circle. Except that real lifters knows that you should first get your technique right first when you are starting. And even once you get into intermediate level, you must have volume days along with recovery days and intensity days to ensure a steady gain instead of a steady joint pain.