Fitness Mythbusters Part 2
Continuing from a previous blog, here are a few more fitness misconceptions I often hear from clients:
1. More is better
In an effort to get stronger, faster or to improve athleticism, most people resort to adding more volume. This is often at the expense (or neglect) of added recovery. In order for your body to adapt, it needs sufficient recovery time. While periods of volume increases can be beneficial in increasing one’s capacity, continually adding volume without rest will eventually have detrimental effects on performance. If you’re practicing a skill with a fatigued body, muscle memory will remember it just that way. It’s important give yourself time to recover from skill-based practices or you’ll be teaching your body to remember undesirable movement strategies.
2. Strength is not important for distance running
Although it’s true that every distance runner should not be built like a power-lifter, every individual reading this regardless of athletic background should be including some form of resistance training in his or her program. This doesn’t mean the low-weight, high-rep that seems to be associated with endurance training; this means strength training designed to actually get you strong (sets of 6-8 reps). Resistance training increases bone mass density, decreases body fat and improves muscle mass and tone. Strength is far from the only component of being a successful distance runner, but it’s one of the most overlooked.
3. My doctor said squatting is bad for the knees
Doctors often see patients arrive in pain from squatting. From the doctor’s viewpoint, this is a logical conclusion; if you hear people say they hurt their knees from squatting time and time again, squatting must be bad for your knees. The gap in this logic is that the only people who go to the doctor are those with an injury. The overwhelming majority who perform squats correctly will never experience pain and therefore not require a visit to the doctor. In most cases, individuals that experience squat-related knee pain have poor technique. In an attempt to keep their torso vertical, they drive their knees excessively forward causing undesired anterior shearing forcers. In a good squat, the angle of the shin matches the angle of the torso. This ensures loading of the posterior hip musculature (glutes and hamstrings) and minimizes the anterior shearing forces across the knee.
4. As a female, weight training is going to make me big and bulky!
Many women refuse to consider strength training as an exercise option, believing that only training methods like yoga and Pilates will help them lose weight and get that lean, feminine physique. Clients often tell me that weight training will result in a bulky, unappealingly masculine look. Most women do not have high enough testosterone levels to ever achieve the “big bulky look.” Women that you see in the magazines looking like the Incredible Hulkette are likely taking steroids. Strength training has incredible benefits for women. It has been repeatedly shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression and PMS, improve the immune system, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and provide a huge boost in confidence as strength, balance, and muscle tone improves. It is also extremely helpful in building bone density and may be one of the most important factors in preventing osteoporosis.
Hopefully after reading this blog, some of the fitness myths you have heard over the years have been addressed. If there are any other misconceptions you would like discussed, feel free to comment below or e-mail me directly. Live healthy, be well.
-Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow-
Mike Sherbakov, CSCS, CPT, RYT