Myths of Training

I got this article out of a Men’s Health magazine and I like it because it’s based in SCIENCE.  So there is research behind debunking these 7 myths of strength training.  I’ll lay them out and give you my take on each of them.


1.     MYTH: Slow Movement exercises builds Muscle faster

a.     There’s a type of training that’s called Super Slow and I’ve always been suspect of it.  Why would you want to do that when you’re not going to do it in real life, was my thinking.  Well it turns out my thinking was correct.

b.     Science: In research, a group did a 5 second down phase and a 10 second up phase.  The other group did 1 second down and 1 second up.  The faster repetition group burned 71% more calories and obviously lifted 250% more weight.

c.      Also regarding the up and down movements, Gary Hunter the author of the study related that the greatest potential for increases in strength is by doing the up phase as fast as possible.   And the greatest potential for growth is by during the down phase while doing it slow and under control.

2.    MYTH: More protein builds more muscle

a.     Yes, this is true, but you don’t need huge amounts to do this.  What is going on is protein builds the muscle building process called Protein Synthesis.

b.     Science: Consuming more than 0.9 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of body weight is TOO much.  So I’m assuming anywhere between .5 and .8 would be good.  A person weighing 200 should probably consume about 100 grams of protein per day.  Anything more is a waste.  Excess protein is broken down into amino acids and nitrogen and then either excreted or turns into carbohydrates and stored… fat.

c.      What to do:  Have a post workout shake that is 3 parts carbohydrates and 1 part protein.  Then eat a meal a few hours later and THEN have another protein shake a few hours later, which is 3 parts Protein and 1 part carbohydrates.  That will keep the protein synthesis going by maintaining high amino acid concentrations in the blood.

3.    Myth:   Squats hurt your knees

a.     Doing squats incorrectly CAN hurt your knees, but correct squats do not hurt your knees

b.    Science: Squats is what is called a “Closed Chain Exercise” which means More than one joint is being used in the exercise.  So think about it, with a squat the hips and knee joint are being used.  Science shows that Open-Chained” exercises, or movements using only ONE joint like a leg extension exercise, are worse on the knees than closed chain exercises.

c.      What to do:  Squats.  Lots of them.  I love squats because it is one of the few exercises that uses every muscle in the body.  Your chest, abs, shoulders, all being incorporated into squats.  Love em’.

4.    Myth: Never Exercise a sore Muscle

a.     People often feel that they shouldn’t exercise the few days after a tough workout in which they feel sore.

b.     Science: First, see how sore you really are.  If your muscles are sore to the touch or limit your range of movement severely, then maybe take another day.  BUT, if you can move, Active Rest may be better.  A light active rest which means getting on the bike or light jogging or lifting helps stimulate blood flow through the muscle which removes waste products to help in the repair process.

c.      What to do: Just get back in the gym, you’ll feel much better to work out those waste products and you’ll feel much better.

5.    Myth: Stretching before exercise prevents injuries.

a.     People have believed forever that just by stretching during a warm up, they will prevent injuries.

b.     Science: Over 350 studies have been done and they’ve shown that stretching has LITTLE effect on preventing injuries.  “Stretching increases flexibility, but most injuries occur within the normal range of motion,” says Julie Gilchrist, M.D.

c.      What to do: Warming up is what prevents injury.  Just make sure you go through a good warm up which involves stretching and getting blood flowing, getting ready for the activity you’re about to do.

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