Author: Steve Hochman
Many rumors circulating your weight lifting circles are just that, rumors. Many so-called truths about developing strong large muscle mass are hyped up ideas that somehow have been given the status of scientific truth when they are nothing more than dangerous gossip. As an Orange County Personal Trainer, I have compiled a list of the 5 biggest myths for your convenience.
The five biggest myths are:
Myth #1 Lactic Acid Causes Fatigue
Researchers nearly 100 years ago discovered the existence of lactic acid in the muscles. They also discovered that lactic acid increased with muscle fatigue.
In reality, lactic acid does increase with muscle fatigue. The truth is that while lactic acid does increase during fatigue and does cause the burning sensation in the muscle, it does not cause fatigue. Your muscles produce lactic acid, which is then sent to your liver to be reprocessed into more energy. The fatigue is caused by the accumulation of protons within the muscles. These protons are the end result of the breakdown of glycogen that fuels the muscle while you exercise.
Myth #2 Lift Weights slowly, it's Safer!
When rehabilitating, patients are often instructed to perform the exercises slowly and meticulously. This is so that they retrain their nerves and muscles. Some trainers got that idea that it was safer to do so and thought that it would avoid the risk of injury.
In reality, as long as you control your movements during the lowering and raising actions, you won't set yourself up for injury. However, reps should be performed more quickly, which will induce the muscles to product more quick acting muscle fibers, which are crucial to real world situations. If you want real gains and better muscles, lift with speed to produce better muscle mass.
Myth #3 Lighter Weights, More Reps Equals Better Muscle Tone
Many body builders started using lighter weights and more reps just prior to a contest. They believe that the more reps they do, the more calories they will burn. They wanted to lose fat and get as lean as possible.
In reality, all they need to do is combine their usually work out with low-carb and calorie restricted diets. This is what accounts for the rapid fat loss. Less fat covering the muscles does indeed make the muscles look more toned. If you really want more muscle tone, lift more, build bigger muscles, and lose the flab that's hiding them.
Myth # 4 Train Until Failure for Best Results
Some body builders began to assume that training hard builds muscle, if you train until you collapse, it must build even bigger muscle.
In reality, it has not been proven that going into failure is critical for the best gains. Case in point: Construction workers, masons, road crews, and other hard laborers. These all work hard and carry heavy loads. Yet not one of them carries these loads until complete fatigue and collapse. Taking your routine to the point of heaviest to lightest weights and until you cannot lift anymore will only wear you out and possibly make you give up. Your muscles need something to work for, so just keep pushing their total limits in terms of higher weights and more reps. The cornerstone of muscle growth is progressive overload. Not under load.
Myth # 5 Getting Pumped Gains Muscle
People noticed a swelling of the muscles when they performed more reps with little to no rest in between those reps. They all thought that this meant they were getting bigger muscles.
In reality, as your muscle stretch and contract during your workouts, they become engorged with blood. This causes a temporary swelling. It's only a reflection of how long your muscles have been under the tension while working out. Not how much muscle you are building. By giving them little rest in between sets, you can pump up your muscles. As soon as you rest and the blood pressure goes down, so will the swelling. It doesn't mean your muscle will be growing. This will just lead to muscle fatigue and, if over done, can lead to muscle injury. Instead, use heavy weights and build better with a progressive load and better rest in between sets.
There are more myths out there. Before you buy into them, look to see if they can be scientifically proven. Don't be too quick to accept myths, they don't always lead to better gains. In fact, they can actually sometimes lead to serious injury. It doesn't matter who tells you something that seems likely to be a miracle for your gains, chances are its all beefed up hype. It would be worth all your efforts to research it and find out the truth.
Steve Hochman is an Orange County Personal Trainer, and founder of Next Level Fitness and Fit Body Boot Camp. http://www.GoPersonalTrainer.com http://www.FitBodyBootCamp.com