Page 1 of 6

Common myths, misconceptions, etc - Read before Posting

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:26 pm
by TimD
By popular request, I'm opening up a sticky on this subject. I can't even count the times I see something posted asking something like this: "I've heard squats and deadlifts are bad for my back and knees. Is this true?" The answer being, unless you already have physical limitations, done properly, hell no. They're good exercises, and some of the best around. Also, I see a lot of questions about high reps for fat loss. Well, first off, what constitutes "high reps"? Anyway, this thread is being created to start a collection of myths, fallacies, misconceptions and all are invited to jump in and contribute. Controversial comments are invited. Might create a good dialogue. I'll start it out with the sites collection.

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:26 pm
by stuward
I'll start off.

A question came up about advice that no longer worked for that person. It doesn't mean that the advice was bad, just that it didn't work at that time for that person. My point is that what works for most people, most of the time, might not work for you right now. As your body experiences any training stimulus, it will adapt in such a way that the same stimulus will no longer have the same effect that it had the first time. That means that you constantly have to change your training (within reason) in order to make progress.

In short: "everything works, but nothing works forever".

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:52 pm
by pdellorto
Women and Bulking

Many women, and some men, worry if they train hard or lift heavy, they'll get "big, bodybuilder muscles." This is a myth; no one is going to become Lou Ferrigno or Arnold overnight or by accident any more than riding a bike will accidently make you Lance Armstrong or doing a few laps will make you into Michael Phelps. Getting big takes time and dedicated effort even for the genetically gifted, and for woman it generally requires anabolic steroids.
Training hard and lifting heavy is much more likely to make a woman shapely, strong, and fit. For a man, it will do the same but probably will result in more bulk than for a woman simply from hormonal and structural differences.

For more on women's weight training myths:

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:49 pm
by Jungledoc
Spot Reducing!

Oh, how I wish this weren't a myth. :frown:

Most of our bodyies' fat is in a layer just under the skin, and on top of the muscles. Muscles and fat are two different layers. How much fat you have is determined basically by the balance between how much food energy you eat, and how much energy you burn. When you body has extra energy, it stores it as fat. When in needs more energy than it takes in, it uses fat. There are other influences (genetics, food type, etc).

How that fat is distributed on your body is determined by genetics. Some people have proportionately more on their bellies, others distribute it more evenly. Also, where you put on fat first is genetically determined. Usually the areas where it accumulates first are the last places for it to go when you lose.

Exercising a muscle requires energy. That energy is taken from substances in the blood. Those substances are the product of metabolic processes that take place throughout the body, particularly in the liver. The fat that provides the energy for a particular muscle does NOT come just from the fat that is stored near that muscle, but from the body's whole fat stores.

Therefor, exercising your left arm does not remove fat from the left arm any more than it removes it from the whole body. If you have an area with fat that you want to get rid of, you have to get rid of fat from your whole body through a combination of eating less, eating smart and exercising more.

Further, exercising a muscle does not make it smaller, it makes it bigger! So if you have a part that you want to make smaller, and you've already lost all excess fat, the best thing is to not exercise it at all, but just put it in a cast and wait patiently for the muscles to atrophy.

(Just in case there are people reading this who don't get sarcasm, I DO NOT advocate putting a body part in a cast to make it artophy.)

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:00 pm
by KPj
I want to clear up a misconception about injuries, and introduce the term, "accumulative stress".

A common misconception about injuries is that you'll be in the gym, lifting away as you always do, then you do something wrong, and 'pop' - you're injured. You may not even be doing anything wrong, something might just 'pop' anyway, then you just assume that your form was wrong, or something. Well, it rarely happens like that. Infact, you don't even get a 'pop' very much, mostly it's just slight pain which gets worse until it's severe. In which case, normally, you'll assume its that new exercise you started doing 2 weeks ago, or because you're lifting more on Bench Press now - that must be the reason. I wish it was that simple, I really do....

Most injuries (arguable all of them) in the weight room are a result of stress that has accumulated over a period of time. This stress may originate from your training program or your life style, or both. Basically, the stress builds and builds, until one day, it surfaces. Some coaches have called this 'reaching threshold', and want to know what else? We all have a different 'threshold'. What that means is that You and Me could accumulate the same stress over and over again and in 2 years, I reach threshold (i'm injured), but you may not reach threshold until 10 years from now, or more. That also means that when someone says, "hey, i've done it for years, and i'm fine" - well, in short, that means nothing. Also, I apologise for the smart a$$ tone, but i've heard it too many times.

I think of Threshold kind of like the balance on a credit card. The credit is there, but you would rather not use it. If you keep doing stupid stuff (spending beyond your means), your balance will get higher and higher. Eventually, your in arrears (you're in pain/injured). I even think of 'symptom based' treatments in the same way as reaching your limit, calling the bank, and asking for it to be increased - instead of working out why your spending beyond your means, your fixing the problem at hand (the limit, analagous to the pain), and then your going to do the same thing again (spend beyond your means, analagous to the stupid stuff your doing in the gym or in your lifestyle that caused the pain in the first place).

In the same context, just like you can clear a credit card, I believe/know that you can steer yourself away from threshold. This can also be referred to as corrective exercise. Post on corrective exercise myths to follow!


Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:41 pm
by hoosegow
I'm worried about overtraining. Um, don't be. I'm sure you are not.

I just want to tone. Gain muscle or lose fat - see spot reduction.

The perfect anything. Throw in anything about Swiss balls, Bosu balls, and the Smith Machine


"I don't want to get big." Don't worry you won't. It takes many years of hard work you aren't willing to do. You probably won't last 6 months anyway.

Whatever your trainer at your local gym told you.

Alli works.

Steroids are bad.

I'm sure I left off a few.

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:46 pm
by TimD
Hoosegow listed crossfit in the list. Good. I was waiting to see one of these pop up/ Why do you consider the crossfit concepts to be a myth? Sure, some of the crossfitters have turned it into a cult-like sort of thing. And no, it's not the absolute end all be all, but does have it good concepts. Again, why do you put it on this list?

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:58 pm
by hoosegow
Because it is not the answer. Is everything bad about it? No. The arrogance of the cult of crossfit pisses me off. It seems to tout mediocrity. I am speaking of course on something I haven't done, but quite frankly I don't see the point of doing. If you aren't good at anything, aren't you then good for nothing? All their workouts that I've seen seem to be just some random stuff.

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:24 pm
by pdellorto
I'd prefer to see a sticky of myths that are solidly common myths, not just training methods that people don't like. Not to pick on hoosegow. I'd just like to see more in-depth discussions of common myths.

I don't think crossfit is for everyone, but it's not a common training myth like spot reduction, concerns about bulking, or that abs must get trained everyday for high reps. It's just an approach with upsides and downsides.

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:23 pm
by hoosegow
Agreed Pete. You aint picking on me. It was a bad day and I was fed up with people. I ranted to rant and didn't want to explain myself. I'll post something detailed on arm isolation work when I find my references.

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:47 pm
by KPj
Well, I think Crossfit in general would fall under a 'misconception'.

Don't get me wrong, Crossfit is absoloutley not something I would want to do. It doesn't suit my goals. But I can see that it's a sound training system. I see at it as a 'jack of all trades, master of none' - nothing wrong with that, it's not easy to be good/decent at lot's of different things. Just like it's not easy to be great at specific things.

It's just unfortunate that there are some who do claim it's the be all and end all, and that anything else is crap because it's not cross fit. But hey, you get that with bodybuilding, powerlifting etc... The people that shout the loudest about these things seem to be the minority in most cases.

Speaking of which, anyone read this article by Chris Shugart? The Truth about Crossfut? It's pretty good. ... t_crossfit


Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:21 pm
by TimD
It's a good article, and pretty much sums up my feelings. The thing not mentioned, is any person with half a brain can modify the format(s) to fit their goals, (more ME strength work, or more METCON work) and can be used used as an "off season" type of training program for preparation purposes, then switch to a more specific focused goal when needed. Yes, there are the "cool aid" drinkers that comprise the cult mentality, but like KPJ stated, they;re in the minority.

Posted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:44 pm
by Matt Z
Kind of funny that Glassman doesn't use his own program.

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:49 am
by KPj
Another Myth - Rep Ranges and Hypertrophy.

It's a myth that "3x 8" rep range is the be all and end all of hypertrophy. Or is it 3 x 6? Or 3 x 8? I'm sure I've read 3 x 10, too. OK, 3 x 6-10.

It's an even bigger myth that training below this will NOT result in hypertrophy. If this was true I would have less problems.

It's very easy to say, "if you train in the strength rep range, you will not get bigger. To get bigger, you must train for size, in the hypertrophy rep range". This cracks me up. If it were true, I wouldn't have got bigger from when I was about 147lbs. As it happens, I'm really struggling to stay at and aroundf 168. Am I a freak of nature? Absoloutley not!

When you train for "3 x 8", what's important? Your told that you get bigger by adapting to heavier weights i.e. a common recommendation is - do 3 x 8, each set should be hard, but the last 1-2 reps of the last set should be very dificult, if not, failure. Work up to 3 x 10, then increase weight, and repeat. SO... what your getiting told is that if you get stronger, you'll get bigger?

What difference does it make if I do 8 x 3? I'll still 'adapt to heavier weights' and therefore, get bigger? No? Why would it happen at 8 reps and not 3? Doesn't make sense, does it?

A better recommendation would be, 'if you get stronger, you'll get bigger'.

And no, 6-10 reps is not 'best' for hypertrophy - not much if anything in lifting is 'best'. If you've been doing 3 x 8 for 6 months, then I guarantee you, 8 x 3 is 'best'. But after a few months of that, I'll tell you the opposite, 3 x 8 is 'best.

Also, what's the difference between 8 x 3, amd 3 x 8? 3 x 8 has better 'time under tension', right? Right. But hold on. 8 x 3 would use more weight, I thought more weight was better? Both are correct. The best method is the one you've not been doing.

Truth be told, diet is probably the 'be all and end all' of hypertrophy, if anything could be labelled that. In order to get stronger, you need to be in a calorie surplus. In order to get bigger, you need to be in a calorie surplus. Strength relates closely to size, and size relates closely to strength. I hope people are seeing just how similar both of these goals are. They're different parts of the same spectrum. The difference is in the details, and the details depend on experience.


Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:24 am
by Ironman
Heavy with low reps actually seems to cause more hypertrophy in me than anything else.