If you're not aware of the misconceptions surrounding training, you could be holding yourself back from the health gains you deserve. So pay close attention, and be sure that you avoid these habits.
1. Dropping The Weight
So you're on the bench press - repping out a certain weight - and as your energy levels become depleted, and your muscles fill with glycogen, you suddenly feel an intense burning sensation in your muscles.
You're very tired at this point, and then, you begin to get sloppy! Do not drop the weight! You bring the bar down to your chest and press all the way up, but then let it fall quickly back down to your chest - almost in free fall. This is a terrible mistake to make.
Not only are you doing half a rep - slowing down your gains - but you’re also skipping the most important part of the rep. The negative portion of the rep is where you cause the most muscle damage. Skipping this portion is going to slow down your gains!
2. Cheating Is "Bad"
One time I was finishing up an exercise when somebody walked over to me and commented, "Hey man, you know you're swinging an awful lot on those bicep curls, and that's not how you should curl.”
Fortunately for this guy, he chose to make that comment, and within a few minutes, I explained why cheat reps actually help you gain muscle faster.
When you're doing a bicep curl, for example, as you get to the end of the set, you may notice that you can't curl the weight up anymore, but you can control it on the way down. This is because your positive strength is depleted, but you still have power on the negative portion of the rep.
So in order to fully tear down the muscle fibers - once that positive strength is gone, and you can't curl the weight up anymore - use your body to swing the weight to the top, and then slowly control it on the way down.
Be sure to remember that when you swing the weight up, you do so in a controlled manner. Don't be careless. Pay attention to your bicep, and feel it pulling. This is called "Proper Cheating.”
3. A Pump Is All I need
One of the biggest misconceptions is, that if you feel a pump in the gym, you're having a great workout. A pump is not necessarily indicative of a great workout. A pump is great, as it helps expand the muscle fascia, but what you really want to do is tear down the muscle tissue so that it recovers bigger and stronger.
So to make sure you're training to your absolute best, you need to turn that switch on BEAST MODE. You may spend time talking to people in the gym, but when it's time for your set, you BETTER be going all out to ensure that you're actually tearing down the muscle fibers, not just getting a pump.
4. I Only Have To Stretch
Although stretching is great and very important, you should not rely on it alone to aid your muscle recovery.
Stretching helps expand the muscle fascia so there is new room for muscle to grow, but also turning to the foam roller can be of more significant help. When you apply the foam roller, for example, on your back or leg, the amount of force you can exert is far greater than stretching because you're using your full body weight.
This provides concentrated pressure on a targeted muscle group, helping to roll out those tight areas and make room for new growth, as well as preventing injury.
5. The Faster, The Better
You may see a lot of people in your gym going through a set like it's a race. They do the set as fast possible. I urge you NOT to do this because chances are you're not concentrating on the contraction of the muscle.
Anyone can move weight, but it takes concentration to selectively choose the muscle groups you wish to use, which makes all the difference. Through practice, you will notice that you have an easier time activating certain muscle groups on command. You may easily be able to flex your bicep, but can you flex your lower laterals, or your hamstrings?
It's very important to have contact with all muscle groups; otherwise, there is no guarantee that you will be satisfied with your results.
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