Athletes are people prone to many myths. These often have as much to do with the truth as saying that the Earth is the center of the universe. Let’s look at the ten most popular ones.
1. Lactic acid causes soreness
A burning sensation in the muscles that we feel for a moment after the completion of a workout is the result of the accumulation of large amounts of protons. They alter the acid-base balance of the body. Although lactic acid may also increase the pool of protons in the body, but the body should deal with them. The causes of the unpleasant feelings immediately after exercise should be sought in the reactions of ATP breakdown and anaerobic glycolysis.
Surprisingly, lactic acid may increase our ability to exercise.
More importantly, the acidity of the body passes within 1-2 hours and the level of protons is stabilized. Muscle pain, commonly called muscle sores, which we feel the next day is actually micro-damaged muscles (beer does not help in any way).
Under the influence of intense exercise muscle fibers undergo minor damage, and there is a local inflammation that causes pain. Then, during the regeneration process, the fibers are thickened and are more resilient. It is therefore a positive effect, because it shows the workout was properly conducted.
2. Crunches the way to a beautiful belly
Dozens, even hundreds of crunches each day will not bring us closer, not even a step, on the way to perfectly sculpted abs. The muscles worked by this type of training can be strengthened or thickened. To make them visible , it is necessary to burn the fat that covers them. Strength training (including crunches) does not have such capabilities. The way to a perfect stomach are cardio, interval workouts, such as running, swimming, cycling, and a proper diet. This is the only way to get rid of excess body fat.
Moreover, a large amount of crunches performed „solo” excessively reinforces these areas of the body, and may lead to incorrect distribution of muscular tension and may contribute to the formation of, for example, back pain.
3. High reps and reduction
This is extremely common practice that during weight reduction and working on the sculpture of the body, the number of reps should be raised (15-20) and the weight reduced. It turns out that this method does not burn more fat than heavy-weight training and a small number of reps (5-8). It is still a form of anaerobic training that lacks the potential for burning fat. A high number of reps in period of negative caloric balance may, however, lead to a loss in muscle tissue, while training with heavy weights and fewer reps causes a higher production of anabolic hormones which facilitate the burning of fat and keeps the muscle tissue intact. It turns out that bigger weights are better than the mythical high reps in any aspect by miles. If we also shorten break-time between series to a minimum, the body begins to produce an oxygen debt, meaning it will be more willing to burn fat after the workout. You should not, however, forget about a proper diet and cardio exercise.
4. Machines are safer than dumbbells
Machines are indeed a good choice for beginners because they help the body get used to more intense efforts. These types of instruments, however, make the muscles work in isolation – we train selected parts of the body. This leads to a disturbance in muscle tension in the stabilizing muscles. In other words, we have extremely strong arms capable of lifting huge weights, but the core stabilizing muscles within the abdomen and spine cannot keep up with them. This can lead to injury during normal, every-day activities (lifting bags of groceries).
The solution is multi-complex exercises using free weights, which allow you to develop muscles evenly, and a stabilization apparatus.
5. You need to feel the pump to have effects
Under the influence of a large amount of repetition, blood fills the blood vessels wrapped around the muscle. This results in a temporary increase in muscle volume and a pleasant feeling resulting from the release of endorphins. For such a situation to occur, it is necessary to work with a small load, which is not conducive to building strength and muscle mass. Such methods only develop their endurance. So if the goal is to develop strength or physique, you must put aside the pump and focus on proper training load.
6. A training belt is vital
A training belt provides artificial stabilization, and replaces the abdominal press, which can improve exercise capabilities by as much as 30 percent. Regular workouts in a belt make the stabilizing muscles lack adaptation to the loads. As a result, it gives a false sense of security. The legs or other muscle groups are able to carry heavy weights, but the small muscles responsible for posture and stability are not suited to them at all. This exposes the body to high overloads and increases the risk of injury, just like a house built on a fragile foundation. Belt training should be used rarely and only in the case of very high training loads.
7. Training until you collapse is essential
The old school of bodybuilding assumes long hours of training to the collapse of the muscle. This means that bodybuilders should make the maximum possible number of repetitions. In recent years, there has been tremendous development in the field of physiology and research in this direction. It turns out that such methods are a quick way to overtraining and fatigue. The nervous system cannot regenerate properly, which inhibits the progress of training. 45 minutes is enough for an effective workout. It should be noted that muscles grow when we sleep – during the regeneration process, and not when handling loads.
Do not forget that professional bodybuilders also usually use illicit enhancements, allowing them to train longer and make a faster recovery.
8. Strength training inhibits growth
It’s amazing that parents allow their children to take part in such sports as running, football or basketball, yet have great objections to resistance training. It turns out that team sports like volleyball or basketball, strain the body much more than properly performed strength training. The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine recommends resistance training for children, as it provides a good stimulus for growth of strong bones and overall development. Children should not train with heavy weights, and a maximum should be set at the point where the young person is able to perform at least 6 reps on their own.
9. If you stop training, your muscles will turn into fat
Adipose tissue and muscle tissue are two completely different structures. They consist of different elements. You cannot replace the muscle tissue with body fat – and this rule works both ways. Cessation of training can lead to muscle breakdown, excess calories to gaining body fat. However, the tissues never „switch places”. The phenomenon popularly known as „muscle memory” is also worth mentioning. It appears that a return to form after a long break in exercise is faster in people who have previously trained regularly, as compared to absolute beginners.
10. I ride my bike, so I do not need to train my legs
Lower limbs are a reluctantly exercised part of the body. A huge mistake, because they are the largest muscle group, and its training also causes the greatest biological response, influencing the whole body to grow. This ensures harmonious development. It should be noted that riding a bike or running are aerobic efforts that cause an increase in strength, but lack an affect on the muscles in the same way as strength training. In addition, properly performed exercise reduces the risk of injury during everyday situations.