10 Fitness Myths That Must Die (Part 1)

Part one of this blog will cover myths 1-5.

1. All You Need to Do to Solve Your Performance Problems is “Get Bigger”.
I remember when I was a young cricketer, everyone would tell me to put on muscle mass to bowl faster. How wrong they were.
Sure, having bigger muscles is going to help produce more force, but getting bigger just for the sake of it isn’t necessary. More muscle mass means more weight for you to carry around, which is not always optimal for developing endurance, power, or speed. For those of us who haven’t been consistently training for a long period of time, training to get stronger is going to satisfy muscle growth goals. Why? Because muscle mass is a by-product of strength, a stronger muscle is generally going to be a bigger muscle in the long run (but not always). Your main focus should always be getting strong, powerful, and fast, then use the muscle size training as an accessory to those goals.

READ: How Strong Do Athletes Need to Be?

2. Lifting Stunts Your Growth
This is probably one of the most annoying statements I hear from an uneducated parent, or a child that has been brainwashed by their parent or another adult.
Lifting weights DOES NOT stunt the growth of children. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Check out this ‘infographic’ below, the graph shows utilising resistance training, dynamic stability training, core training, plyometric drills, and agility training throughout pre-adolescence lead to the greatest performance outcomes.

8553b-how2byoung2bis2btoo2byoung
Picture credit: YLM Sport Science.

So, if you want to help maximise performance of children for the future, get kids learning basic technique and important movement patterns early (squat, hinge, jump, throw, change direction etc.).

3. You Must Be in A Calorie Surplus to Gain Muscle Mass
One study (1) looked at the difference between a slow and fast rate of weight loss in Norwegian athletes, and found that, if you drop weight at a slower rate (about 400 grams per week), you can increase your lean body mass whilst simultaneously losing fat mass.
Unless you’ve reached your genetic potential and so advanced in your training that every single aspect of your life needs to be monitored to squeeze out the next little bit of improvement, you don’t need to be on a ‘see-food’ diet to experience gains in muscle mass.

For the record, the slow weight loss group lost 5kg of fat mass, gained 1kg of lean mass, and improved their 1RM bench press, squat, row, and vertical jump to a greater extent than the fast weight loss group.

4. Agility Ladders Improve Agility
Agility ladders are good for implementation into the warm up to help stimulate the nervous system, but they will not improve agility.
Agility involves both a reactional component and change of direction component. Think of a rugby player running towards an opponent with the ball, the player with the ball tries to get past him and fakes a movement to the right and then quickly changes direction back left. The player trying to make the tackle then reacts to the fake right and quickly changes direction and accelerates towards the player to make the successful tackle.
A scenario such as this cannot be simulated on an agility ladder because:
– Agility ladders are not reactional
– Agility ladders do not train the change of direction component to agility

Therefore, if you want to improve agility, work on your ability to change direction and your ability to react to a stimulus.

5. You Can’t Do Leg Weights in Season
I’m not sure why people think this, but they do. If you start losing strength in your lower body, you’re losing power and speed. It takes hardly any volume at all to maintain what you’ve gained in the off-season, so why waste it all by not training? All you need to do it 1-3 sets of 2-8 reps (varied across the season) and that’s enough to maintain strength.

If you don’t use it, you lose it.

READ: Strength Training for the In-Season Athlete

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 later in the week!

 

References

1. Garthe I, Raastad T, Refsnes PE, Koivisto A, Sundgot-Borgen J. Effect of two different weight-loss rates on body composition and strength and power-related performance in elite athletes. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism. 2011 Apr;21(2):97-104.

2. https://ylmsportscience.com/2015/10/13/strength-conditioning-how-young-is-too-young-to-start-training-by-ylmsportscience/

 

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