Thereís many times throughout the day where Iíll just sit and read training articles and books. Iíll thumb through a few magazines or visit a few websites with my jaw to the floor. There are so many unrealistic training recommendations out there that it is no wonder why people arenít growing. The worst part is when I go into the gym and actually see these people following this misguided advice.
B.S. Muscle Building Advice #1-The Safety Of The Smith Machine
The most common piece of misguided training advice that I have ever seen is to use the smith machine because it is safer than barbells or dumbbells. The thought is that using the Smith machine will allow you to safely handle heavy weight since the machine is locked in on two columns. While this is good in theory, it does nothing at all to help save us. The advantages of a barbell or dumbbell is individual characteristics are taken into account.
Spend five minutes watching the Smith machine. Youíll see a 5Ē4 woman going to use it for squats then youíll see a 6Ē2 220 pound guy go and use it to squat. This should clearly illustrate that the machine doesnít account for any differences. That isnít safe!
Barbells and dumbbells account for individual muscle tightness factors as well. Someone who works at a computer all day has different muscular restrictions than a mechanic. Plus, itís also actually harder to lock the machine into place when you are training with a heavier load since you have to force your wrists into a awkward position. Just showing more benefits of dumbbells and barbells
B.S. Muscle Building Advice #2- You must always stay with higher reps to build muscle
Yes, higher reps are better for building muscle since they cause more muscle tissue breakdown All things considered, you should train with higher reps. However there is a big backlash for anyone who advocates the need to go with lower reps. Lower reps donít cause as much damage as higher reps but they still have a place.
If you donít train to get stronger, you wonít increase your muscle size. You must push yourself past your current limits. By pushing yourself, Iím talking about increasing your ability to handle greater training loads. This will then allow your higher rep work to cause more muscle damage and growth. Too many psuedo-trainers advocate going to failure as the only way to grow. Theyíll point to years of professional bodybuilders having success with this type of training.
That is an awful argument for higher reps. Sure, higher reps will cause you to grow but there is a direct relationship to higher rep training and steroid usage. As drugs became more popular so did higher rep training. Higher rep training is just another tool in the toolbox.
B.S. Muscle Building Advice #3- Never Train Your Core First
This is another piece of misguided training advice. Most people leave ab or core training to the end of the workout and think that they need to leave it there. The common thoughts are that you need to do bigger muscles first. That is false. What if your core is weak? What if you have low back pain which hurts you every time you squat?
What if your workouts are more productive if you activate your core before you train? There are specific circumstances that do require your core to be worked first. Provided that you donít do too much work then youíll be fine. Look at people who struggle squatting. Youíll see that they end up bending in their upper body as they continue to go higher in reps. This isnít going to happen if you do some core activation work first. Ensure stability then take it from there.
B.S. Muscle Building Advice # 4- Always Advocating High Intensity Training
No one ever looks at the drop off rate during muscle building programs. The mind is ready before the body is ready when most people go to train. If you want to get the most out of your training, you go into the gym with the intent to really have a good workout.
That, however, can be a problem. If we consistently go into the gym and train at a ď10Ē, like most people do, the chances of us having sustainable progress isnít going to be as good as it is going to be. We need to train at lower intensities in terms of our mental capacity to allow ourselves to consistently go into the gym and hit it hard.
This is more important than you think. Do you ever feel like you fade as your training week goes on? This is due to continually training at high intensities. Itís better to go at an ď8Ē four to five days a week than a ď10Ē for two days.
Jimmy Smith is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness , and Best Body magazines.
His "The Muscle Bible" workouts have been featured multiple times in Menís Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines and all over the Internet on t-nation.com and bodybuilding.com and his workouts have help thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, and gain muscle. For information on the The Muscle Bible visit www.ineedmuscle.com