Exercise Myths Busted – Part 2

There are dozens of exercise myths.  And some myths go on and on
without being challenged.  I covered 3
exercise myths in my first article.
In this second article in the series, I’ll address 3 more popular myths.

Exercise Myth #4 - Sore Muscles Means Progress
I have to admit that I fall prey to this one from time to time.  After I have
ignored a certain muscle group for a while, I over-work it and I'm sore the
next day.  It's very tempting to think that I've done something extra good
because I can feel the muscle soreness.

That's not necessarily true!  It's not that I've done anything bad but I
have to remember that muscle soreness is due to tissue damage and

Tissue damage might sound like a bad thing but that is how we build
additional muscle.  We stress the existing tissue which prompts the body
to create more muscle and a little muscle soreness happens sometimes.

The point is that muscle soreness after a workout only means that you
lacking in conditioning before the workout.  Properly conditioned
muscles do not get sore when worked to complete fatigue.  

However, for a beginner, you can use muscle soreness to your advantage.  
My rule of thumb is that the length of time between workouts should be
twice the time of the soreness.  For example, if you are sore for 2 days,
you should wait an additional 2 days after the soreness is gone before
working those muscles again.  They need time to completely recover from
the previous workout.

Exercise Myth #5 - If You Are Not Sweating, You're Not Working
Hard Enough
Make no mistake, if you work hard enough and long enough, eventually
you will work up a sweat.  Also, if it's 90 degrees and you pick up some
weights, you will sweat.

However, don't use the amount of sweat to gauge your intensity.  For
example, in the winter I keep my house below 65 degrees and I can
workout for 30 minutes and not break a sweat.  That does not mean that
I did not work hard enough.

Remember that your body sweats to cool down.  If the air is cool, you do
not need to sweat to cool off.  Only when your internal temperature goes
above a certain set-point will you body determine that some cooling is

Exercise Myth #6 – Rapid Exercise Builds Muscle Better
Why are some people so intent on a minimal rest between sets?  Why does
it have to be so fast?  Seems to me that this just leads to a higher chance
of injury.

Let me make a proposal... If you bench press a total of 10,000 pounds per
workout this month and then you bench press a total of 12,000 pounds
per workout next month,
you are going to get stronger!

It does not matter if you finish all of your sets in
10 minutes, 30 minutes,
5 hours.  If you do the work, you will see the gains!

Here is the basic formula for gaining muscle:
Continuously increase the
amount of weight lifted in a given amount of time

Nowhere does it say that the given amount of time has to be short or that
one exercise has to be limited to just a few minutes.  Your body is smarter
than that.  It knows when it's being worked harder day by day - not just
minute by minute.

Here's a concept for you - think of your workout schedule in units of days.  

For example, if you workout on Monday and Friday, give yourself the entire
day to finish the daily workout.  Do a few sets and go mow the lawn.  Do a
few more sets and eat some dinner.  Etc, etc....

Think about how that might help you increase your gains if you had ample
recovery time between sets.

Personally, I take about an hour to 90 minutes to do a weight routine
that I could finish in 20 minutes if I hurried.  I do a set and then read a few
e-mails.  Then another set and a few more e-mails.  It works out great.  
(Hint: I also keep detailed records of my lifting progress in a spreadsheet)

If you work out at a gym, purposely build in some down time between
sets.  You could do 1 set of all your exercises and then enjoy a 30 minute
break with a protein shake before the next round.  Whatever works for you
but build in rest time.  It will definitely help prevent you from hitting the wall
with your progress.

Exercise Myths Busted
So, a few more myths put to bed.  I plan on doing at least one more article
on this same topic sometime soon.  So, stop back soon for another
common sense update.  Or, click on the RSS feed for instant updates.

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