Muscle Fiction and Muscle Truth

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

1. 12 Rep rule

Your average training regimens feature twelve repetitions, the theory being being that this is somehow the "magic number" of repetitions for building muscle. The truth be told, this does not adequately work the muscles enough to build mass.Heavier weights provide the maximum gains in strength and muscle mass. Longer tension means more muscle growth. This is because it promotes the strengthening of the muscle fibers (which also increases endurance).

Eight to twelve reps does not give you the tension levels that can be achieved by less reps with heavier weights, or the longer tension that comes from light weights with more reps. To create all types of muscle growth, change up your routine - both in terms of repetitions and the weights you use.

2. Three Set rule

While three sets is perfectly fine, it is also not a magic number for weight training. The number of sets to do should have more to do with what you hope to accomplish, and not an old rule which may or may not work for you. Just keep in mind that the more reps you do in a set, the fewer sets. The converse is also true; the total number of reps should remain equal.

3. Three to four exercises per group

There is really no basis for this myth. It is better to do more reps of one exercise than lose focus by trying to do too many different exercises per group. Try upping the number of reps (say 30-50, somewhere in there). Obviously, break this up into sets.

4. My knees, my toes

An adage of the gym with some basis, though it is more common to be injured as a result of leaning forward too far during an exercise. Memphis University researchers have found stress on the knees increases approximately one third when the knees go past the toes during squats.

However, stress on the hips goes up ten times when the knee is held back from passing the toes.The strain is merely shifted from the knees to the lower back, which can cause worse injuries than can having ones knees pass the toes.

Try to think more about the position of your torso, and not so much about your knees. Keep your torso as upright as you can during lunges and squats. This means less stress on your back. A tip for staying upright: prior to squatting, press your shoulder blades together and keep them there. While squatting, try to keep your forearms at a right angle to the floor.

5. Lift weights, draw abs

What is the most important muscle group? The transverse abdominis? That all depends. The answer depends on what exercise you are doing. In most cases, the body already knows which muscle group to call into action to keep the spine supported. Focusing on the wrong muscle group (in this example, the transverse abdominis again) can work the wrong muscles while holding back the correct ones, which raises your risk of injuries and lowers the weight you can lift.