So many inaccurate theories about types and methods of exercising are out there. It is hard to know what to believe and what not to, so I thought I would write the second of the Perjury Poacher Series on 3 of the most common exercise myths going…
#1 – MORE WEIGHT = MORE GAINS
However, increasing the weight you use on individual exercises too quickly may come at the expense of your technique, which may halt your progress and cause a significant injury that could derail your long term plan.
Ego Lifting is just about the biggest crime one can commit in the gym. People loading up barbells willy-nilly without considering the effect it may have on technique puts you at a much, much larger risk of injury.
Focus on mastering your form before going heavy, as this will be the biggest asset to your progress. Training methods such as Eccentric Training (focusing on the lowering portion of a movement) and Time Under Tension (slowing down the tempo of an exercise) are examples of how you don’t have to alter the weight you are lifting to progressively overload your muscles.
Case : at the gym I train at, there is a dude there who we’ll call Dave in the name of privacy. Dave is in incredible shape, and has biceps the likes of my good self can only dream of. Yet it’s not common to see Dave curling a 20kg barbell during an arm workout; he could probably lift about double the weight with disgusting ease, but Dave attributes much of his sculpted physique to his attention to detail when it comes to technique, as well as lots of Time Under Tension training.
It is often the case that people in the best shape aren’t necessarily the ones overloading up the bar. It is all well and good deadlifting 150kg, but if you’re doing so looking like the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, you ain’t gonna be making progress son…
#2 – TRAIN ABS EVERY DAY TO GET ABS
There’s always that one dude craving an Efron-esque stomach who insists that you have to train abs every day to start seeing definition. Notice that this is also the geezer with a decidedly average physique…
Truth is, the best way to develop a more defined core is to include as many compound, multi-joint exercises such as squats, deadlifts and pushups into your workout routine. These types of movements require a high degree of core stability, which means that the muscles stabilising your trunk will be constantly engaged and worked.
Same goes for free weights in comparison to fixed-resistance machines; switching a seated machine chest press for a flat bench dumbbell press, for example, will increase the activation of your core muscles and help in the fight for abs
Finally, those who believe that you can get abs just through targeted training are kidding themselves; as a Wise Sage once said:
Abs are made in the Kitchen, not the Gym…
This explains how, no matter how much exercise or training you do, you won’t develop visible abs without dropping excess bodyfat.
Nutrition plays a central role in getting abs; use helpful apps and resources like MyFitnessPal to design a diet that puts you in a calorie deficit, as this will probably be the missing piece to the puzzle for your journey to your dream physique!
#3 – LIFTING WEIGHTS MAKES ME BULKY
‘Toning Up’ and ‘Getting Lean’ doesn’t have to involve endless cardio, daily spin classes, and restrictive detox diets. Don’t fall into the trap of heading straight to the cross trainer in the fight for your physique.
The age-old view that resistance training makes you bulky is very definitely a myth. Physiologically, women are unable to develop the bulging biceps you think come with lifting weights; the hormonal makeup of women means that they lack the testosterone to stimulate that level of muscular growth (hypertrophy). So before you think that picking up a dumbbell will automatically gift you with arms like Arnold, think again…
Combining bodyweight and free weight exercises into a sound routine will ramp up energy expenditure and thus help you drop excess bodyfat. Try adding 2-3 resistance sessions to your existing routine to take your training to the next level.