On the surface, bodybuilding looks easy. All you really need to do is pick up something heavy, hold it for a set amount of time, and then put it down, repeating several times. However, just as a recipe is more than a list of ingredients, your workout regimen should not be just a matter of raising a weight into the air and lowering it. In fact, there are five erroneous ideas that many body builders continue to subscribe to simply because that is what they were taught. Now that we are well into the 21st century, isn’t it time to update and correct your routine to maximize results and to reflect the newest research findings? Below are the five top muscle building myths, as well as the reality as we currently understand it.
Muscle Building Myths
1. Myth: eight to 12 repetitions is ideal. In fact, it is preferable to vary your workout, changing your number of repetitions and adjusting the weight accordingly. For the next month, do three full workouts a week. Do five repetitions per set in the first, ten repetitions per set in the second, and 15 reps per set in the third.
2. Myth: you should always do three sets. In reality, there is nothing magical about doing three sets. In general, the more repetitions you do, the fewer sets are needed, and vise versa. So if you’re doing eight or more reps, only three sets are necessary. If you’re doing three reps, do at least six sets.
3. Myth: you must do several exercises for each muscle group. In reality, you should focus on the number of repetitions. If you do a total of 25 to 50 reps, that particular muscle group should receive its maximum exercise benefit. If you find this too easy, it’s time to increase the weight you’re lifting.
4. Myth: allowing your knees to move too far forward during exercise is dangerous and can cause injury. In fact, if natural forward movement of the knee is restricted, a tremendous amount of stress is put upon the hips and lower back. So make sure you stay as upright as possible, especially when it comes to maintaining a straight upper body.
5. Myth: when you lift weights, tighten your abs. A better solution is this: when you’re about to lift, brace yourself in the same way you would if someone were about to punch you in the stomach. This engages all three sets of abdominal muscles and supports the spine.
Overall, the most important thing to remember about building muscle is that many sports medicine experts are studying the best and safest ways to make it happen. What was Gospel in the 1970’s is no longer the case today, just as the 2010 standard will be a thing of the past in decades to come. The key is to view your workout regimen with the same intelligence and skepticism you use to think about medical innovations or diet fads. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. On the other hand, if it makes intuitive sense to you and still requires you to put time and work in, it might be worth investigating further.