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Muscle Fiction

If you'v been training, here's a short list of bodybuilding fiction.

  1. Myth of 12 Repetitions While many training programs recommend twelve reps for muscle gain, this number does not always provide enough tension for optimal growth. Heavier weights with fewer repetitions can create greater tension and substantial muscle size increases, enhancing strength. Conversely, lighter weights with more repetitions can improve endurance by extending the tension duration, which helps develop surrounding muscle fiber structures. For comprehensive muscle development, it's beneficial to vary the rep count and adjust weights accordingly.

  2. Three Set Standard Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with performing three sets, it’s also not particularly remarkable. The optimal number of sets depends on your personal fitness goals rather than adhering to an outdated standard. If you increase the repetitions for a particular exercise, consider reducing the number of sets to balance the total workout volume, and vice versa.

  3. Excessive Exercises Per Muscle Group Limiting yourself to three or four exercises per muscle group, each with twelve reps across three sets (totaling 144 reps), can be excessive and ineffective. Rather than overwhelming a muscle group with numerous exercises, aim for a total of 30 to 50 reps per muscle group. This could mean performing fewer sets with more reps, such as 2 sets of 15 reps or 5 sets of 10 reps, to optimize growth and efficiency.

  4. Knees Over Toes Myth The common gym advice to "never let your knees go past your toes" has been debunked. Research from Memphis University in 2003 showed that while knee stress increases by about 30% when the knees pass the toes during a squat, restricting this movement can cause hip stress to skyrocket by nearly 1000%. This is due to the body compensating with a forward lean, shifting the strain to the lower back. Instead, focus on maintaining an upright torso during squats and lunges to minimize hip and back stress. Keeping your shoulder blades squeezed and forearms perpendicular to the ground can help maintain this posture.

  5. Drawing in the Abs While Lifting It’s a misconception that focusing solely on the transverse abdominis, the deep abdomen muscle, during exercises will adequately support the spine. In reality, the muscles that stabilize the spine vary and activate automatically depending on the exercise being performed. Overemphasizing the transverse abdominis might lead to improper muscle engagement, increasing the risk of injury and limiting the amount of weight you can lift.

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