What’s Fact or Fallacy… Do you Really Know?
Many times we are told things and believe it because you don’t know the truth. I will be covering some of the Top Fallacies in the fitness industry including:
- General Fundamentals
- Cardiovascular and Aerobic Fundamentals
- Strength Fallacies
- Postural Fallacies
- Fallacies of Resistance Exercises
With this information you can make sound decisions when formulating a fitness plan to help ensure that you get the most out of your efforts by knowing some of the facts and fallacies to be aware of.
1. If muscle is not used it turns to fat…
This is a myth that gets used from time-to-time from people arguing against weight training. The fact is that muscle and fat are two different types of cellular tissue and can’t change into each other.
2. Perfect practice makes perfect…
The old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ is more true than what some coaches are preaching; which does not really make sense if you think about it. The truth is that most of the time there is no model or perfect movement pattern that fits to every individual because we all have different circumstances including: leverages, environmental conditions, strategies, equipment, etc., so what’s more important is developing skill that makes us more efficient in whatever we are doing.
3. Avoid all back exercises if sore or injured…
To completely avoid back exercises as a general rule for non-traumatic back injuries and disability is unwise and fails to address the real issue; an existing condition of back weakness and functional lifting strength. The back has very large and powerful muscles and to strengthen them one must do challenging exercises adequately and gradually increasing the load through a full functional range of motion, otherwise the back will remain as weak as it is and recurrence of back issues are inevitable.
4. Cardio is the most effective way to reduce body fat…
What’s most important to understand is that there is no one best exercise that will reduce body fat faster than the other. It takes a combination of sensible eating habits mixed with aerobic(cardio) and non-aerobic training(strength training) to effectively reduce body fat. It should be noted that studies have shown that it is not the type of activity, but the amount of energy expanded(calories burned); that is going to promote the loss of body fat.
5. Heavy weight training reduces flexibility and speed…
This has been debunked by studies showing that gymnasts, Olympic weightlifters, and sprinters are among the most supple of all athletes and they all train with very high levels of resistance. To prove this point even further, Russian research has shown that full range of motion strength training is the best way to develop functional flexibility.
6. Heavy weight training makes you bulky…
You might have heard someone say this as an excuse to not lift heavy, usually for females. The truth is that gaining mass or bulk is not going to happen overnight and is extremely dependent on genetics, training program, and enhancers(steroids). When you train with maximal weights the repetitions are typically in the lower range from 1-3 per set; which is not the most effective way of producing muscle mass. To gain muscle mass bodybuilders will usually train with sub-maximal weights in the 8-15 rep range per set with a majority of the top bodybuilders also using enhancers.
7. Cheating methods should never be used with any exercise…
So, this is a fanatical overemphasis of the use of strict form to get the best results and avoid injury. Cheating during an exercises allows you to overload the portion of the movement that may be the most difficult; often reducing the risk of harm. Although, this should not be a regular way of training, it can be implemented into a training program with highly effective results. There are right and wrong ways to use the cheating methods for exercises, so if planning to use this technique for training it would be advised to learn the right way to use it for the particular exercise to avoid the threat to safety and progress.
8. The knees should never go past the toes during exercise…
For people with healthy knees, this should not be an issue as long as the muscles around the knee joint aren’t in a relaxed state during full flexion movements leaving the ligaments and other tissues to singularly stabilize; than there can be risk of injury. There are many sports, activities, and cultural practices that the knees project ahead of the toes without being the leading cause of knee injury.
9. Keep the back straight during all exercises…
The spine has a natural curvature in the areas of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions. To try and completely keep the back straight would eliminate its rigidity and make it far less capable of withstanding longitudinal stress. What you really have to do is try to oppose any tendency to significantly round the lower spine during loaded movements. During exercise you need to minimize any deviations of the spines natural curvatures by keeping the back in a neutral position.
10. All deadlifting movements are dangerous…
This has been a huge topic and should be put into context to understand why this statement is a fallacy. First, is being able to maintain a neutral spine and not excessively round or rotate during the movement. The deadlift, if done properly is one of the most effective ways to build strength and muscle. With any exercise if done carelessly or outside of what you’re capable of you may fall at risk of injury. Given you have a healthy back and understand how to use proper form, the deadlift is an amazing movement and should be a part of most training programs.
Decide for Yourself!
With any information it is important to further research and find out more before making a definitive decision or belief. The human body can become very strong and resistant if trained properly. Many of us have different body proportions and genetic factors that can make the difference in what is truth or fallacy in your fitness journey. It is our personal responsibility to try and understand our body to utilize it to its fullest potential.
If you found the information above interesting and want to learn more about the “Facts And Fallacies Of Fitness” go check out my recommendations for some other of the Top Health and Fitness Books.
Reference: Facts And Fallacies Of Fitness, by Mel C. Siff (pages 17-43)
If you have any comments or questions feel free to connect with me through the comments below or email.
“Excuses stop here.”
All the best,