Can you spot a training myth when you see one? With so much information being thrown around in every nook and cranny, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction.
Here are six training myths that can keep you from reaching your workout goals and fitness dreams. So, buckle up your lifting belt and ramp up the speed on that cardio kick, because we’re about to bust some serious myths!
Myth #1: You need to do long cardio sessions to get any benefit from conditioning.
Whenever folks tell me that they just spent another hour on the elliptical or exercise bike “cause I need to get into shape,” my heart starts to beat faster without doing any cardio.
A recent study by the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) found that just two weeks of High-Intensity Intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training.
So the good news is — you CAN get benefits from not doing hours and hours of long, slow cardio. Fast, high intense training can get you the gains you’re looking for — you just might need to step up your game!
Myth #2: You’re going to do Spot Reduction of a certain area or body part.
Now listen to me, this is a myth that should be dead and buried, but it lives on. For some reason this one hangs on — but it’s time to put one last nail in the coffin and put this to rest.
Study after study has shown a couple things:
A. You cannot blast a specific body area (i.e., abs, triceps, inner thighs) with a plethora of exercises and prescriptions (i.e., 100, 500, or 1,000 reps) and realize fat loss only in that area.
B. Training programs that do incorporate high reps on any exercise, whether it’s total body (burpees) or a specific muscle group (leg extensions) can be effective in reducing fat mass, but the fat loss will be over the entire body. Contingent, of course, on caloric intake.
So, when you see that TV infomercial, you come upon a gimmick program or a “special piece of equipment” that “Tones, Trims and Tightens” a body part without doing exercise or diet — get your cardio in by RUNNING THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.
Myth #3: Squatting is bad for your knees.
An age-old question about knee health and squats, are squats bad for your knees and would you be way better by ditching them altogether?
Truth be told, if your squat form is on point it will certainly not destroy your knees. If anything they will make your knees healthier by strengthening the muscles responsible for stabilizing your knees.
Knee pain is usually the result of knees traveling forward too much. Some knee travel is normal, so slight knee travel forward is OK; what we’re after here is to get rid of excessive knee travel. When the knees shoot forward so much that even your heels start to come off from the ground, you’re in a really bad place. Don’t do that and save your knees.
Myth #4: Not feeling the burn or sore after a workout means you didn’t work hard enough.
If you’re not sore after a workout, that does not mean you didn’t work out hard enough. It just means that your body has adapted to the stress and imposed demands you place on your body during training. If you “like” to feel a little something after a workout, keep these things in mind when it comes to training:
A. Vary your program. If you’ve been doing the same exercises or routine since day one, it’s time for something new. Refresh the exercises you do every 4-8 weeks. When you change up, you might get sore because you’re moving different.
B. Look for signs of progress. One of the best indicators of whether you’re working hard enough, doing enough reps, going longer and/or with added intensity, or lifting enough weight is that you’re able to notice progress. If you’re gaining ground and reaching your goals, then your workouts are probably fine. If you’ve hit a plateau or gotten weaker, then it’s time to re-evaluate.
C. Watch out. Being sore all the time is NOT a good thing. It can mean that you’re not giving your body enough rest to recover and get stronger.
Myth #5: Crunches are a great exercise for your abs and to get a six pack.
The belief that targeted abdominal exercises results in a “six-pack” has had millions and millions of people busting out sit-ups, crunches and “0-minute ab” videos since the 1970’s. Unfortunately, whether or not someone has abdominals that look like a “six-pack” is more related to their body fat percentage than their muscle mass.
If you look back at Myth #2 — spot reduction, you’ll understand that just doing crunches and sit-ups WON’T be the answer for six-pack abs. Understand, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t exercise to train the whole core (chest to knees and all around the body), but just doing crunches without dieting will not get you on the cover of next month’s Fitness Magazine.
Myth #6: You need a good stretch before you work out.
First, we need to look and see the actual benefits of warming-up before a workout:
A. To help prevent injuries
B. To improve performance at the gym
C. To accelerate muscle recovery
D. To reduce post-workout muscle soreness
Wow, those are some pretty great sounding benefits, huh?
The problem, however, is that none of them are true — at least as they relate to static stretching before working out.
The key is HOW you warm up before you work out, not just stretch. The key is to use Dynamic Warm-ups before you do any type of activity or sport.
Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching has been shown to be highly beneficial to do before your workouts. It can help increase your strength, endurance and speed, according to this comprehensive four-week study on dynamic warm-ups.
Mark “Coach Rozy” Roozen is owner/director of Coach Rozy Performance — Powered by AVERA Sports Yankton. He can be reached at 817-219-2811, email him at email@example.com or you can find more information at www.coachrozy.com about training programs, bootcamps and athletic & sport development