First and foremost, the ideas that I am about to poke fun at are things that I used to do. All three myths are things that I used to strongly believe.
The point of this post is not to simply just bash on general fitness things and be grumpy about it. I want to let everyone know why they are poor and what to do about them.
Information in this industry is everywhere. Anyone can have a platform if they really want it (see: this blog). This allows a lot of unqualified people to get on their soapbox and start talking about god knows what.
There are some people that are also innocent bystanders to this. These people follow what they are told based on media, magazines, or other sources of information. Unfortunately, a lot of people in the 70’s and 80’s did things a certain way and their methods are being held sacred today.
But we also have laziness that comes into play. Two of these myths are going allow the user to make excuses about their training. Many people like the idea of working out but when it actually comes down to doing it, the reasoning begins.
1. Leg Press and/or running is the same as squats
First we get the cop out of actually training leg strength. Most gym goers will admit that they have to train their legs. Everyone sees the guy with a huge upper body and then chicken legs that may snap after that 15th set of bicep curls.
Training legs is really important for creating balance in the body, losing fat, and maintaining lean muscle. But the leg press does not count as good lower body training. Neither does running.
Hitting the treadmill or sprinting are not the same as lower body strength training.
The reason the leg press is popular for healthy individuals is that squats, lunges, and deadlifts are hard. Most people do not want to go through those exercises when an easier alternative is available.
The leg press allows you to lay down while you exercise, put a ton of weight on the machine, and not really do a whole lot of work. Squats on the other hand require the whole body to work, take decent technique to perform effectively, and are really uncomfortable. This is what makes them essential for good training programs.
The same goes for lunges and other lower body exercises that involve free weights. You must be able to stabilize the whole body while taxing the legs. These exercises are insanely more effective than machines for strength training in the general population.
So if you are really not willing to get in the rack and squat, grab a dumbbell and goblet squat it. These are good to perform because the learning curve is smaller and they are really effective.
2. Shoulders need a dedicated day
Depending on your schedule, most Thursdays are shoulder day at the gym. Monday is bench day, Tuesday is rest from that strenuous 3×10 the day before, Wednesday is arms, and here we are at shoulder day. I guess we wont talk about legs, O wait is the leg press open?
Most people at the gym do way too much shoulder work. Most people cannot reach overhead without compensation yet shoulder presses are a top 3 exercise. This is part of the reason that most people are walking around with labral tears.
I once heard at a college gym two kids talking about their shoulder day. They did overhead presses, dumbbell lateral raises, cable front raises dumbbell front raises, cable front raises, dumbbell rear flys, cable rear flys. By my count they did 15 sets of exercises. By the way, both of them had very small shoulders. Their shoulder day was doing nothing for them.
Now, I am all for shoulder work if that fits into the goals of your program. It does not need its own day. If you strength train 3 days per week all workouts should be total body in nature with overhead work sprinkled in. A 4 day plan would see shoulders on upper body days.
If overhead pressing bothers your shoulders, use landmine variations. These train the same pushing pattern without putting the arm in a compromised position.
3. Hell freezes over when you miss your window
This comes down to protein shakes. I remember in college when I didn’t go back to the dorm after the gym and therefore wasted my workout because I didn’t get my protein in.
Here are two things. The workout was not a waste without a protein shake after. Protein powders can be consumed at any time of the day even if you didn’t workout. Blasphemy.
After a workout there is a 30 minute window to get some good calories in to promote recovery. Typically we want protein and carbs. Most people are not at a shortage for protein but I do still like supplementing it.
So in an ideal world we would have a decent shake or meal within 30 minutes of working out to help start the recovery process. You can still workout without protein powder, and you do not necessarily need to workout to have a shake. And if you were going to be sore from the workout there is no magic shake combination to prevent that.