If you’re looking to build muscle, gain strength or simply get the most out of your workout, you don’t want popular misconceptions holding you back. So, we’re tackling four muscle myths to give you the information needed to make the appropriate adjustments to your routine to help you achieve greater success.
Myth #1 – Stretching before you exercise will prevent injuries.
Reality - Stretching has its benefits, but many people often confuse warming up with stretching. The key to preventing injuries is with a warm up period. It gives your muscles the chance to prepare for your workout by gradually increasing the bloodflow. It’s a valuable step that you won’t want to skip. Instead of starting out with stretches, save them for after you’re already warmed up.
Myth #2 – Sore muscles mean you should forget your workout that day.
Reality – Sore muscles can be a good indicator that you need a break but it doesn’t always signal that. It depends on the type of pain. If it’s impacting your full range of motion or it feels sore to the touch, then a recovery day is best. Otherwise, light activity at the gym can be tolerated, and even help alleviate some of the soreness by stimulating the bloodflow through the muscles and encouraging the healing process.
Myth #3 – Free weights are all you need.
Reality – Machines are just as valuable. They can isolate muscles when recovering from an injury. They also help beginners build up the strength needed to perform exercises with free weights. They even provide novice lifters with similar results that machines yield. It’s not until a lifter becomes more advanced that free weights should receive more attention. While free weights are better for gaining muscle mass, machines still have their place, especially with those who are just starting to lift.
Myth #4 – Slow lifting produces better results.
Reality – Slow lifting will only prolong your workouts. The speed of the up phase does not need to be as slow as some believe. Lifting the weights can be done fairly rapid, while it’s more important to go slow with the down phase. In addition, lifting with focus and control is what really matters in gaining strength and preventing injuries.