It seems like every day that I am hating on the field I have chosen to take a career in.
There is a ton to love about the fitness industry.
I love working with the people I work with, getting people the results they want, and constantly learning to perfect my craft.
Just as often as I learn something new, I am befuzzled by dinosauric aspects of the industry. It even makes me use two fake words in one sentence.
I am very happy with the path I chose but part of my mission is to make smart training available to everyone.
Today I want to discuss some of the more archaic things that I hear about and why they need to be left behind.
Situps and Crunches for Abs
90% of people that go to the gym want to look better in some way. Some people want to get bigger and others want to look smaller and leaner.
Getting a six pack seems to be on the pedestal of goals.
Situps and crunches are not the best strategy to have defined abs.
They are extremely damaging to the spine, don’t actually train the right muscles, and are misguided.
The amount of compression and strain put on the spine due to situps is enough to damage the vertebral disks.
With the amount of sitting that occurs in our daily lives, we do not need to reinforce the bad pattern when we train.
Situps and crunches also train the hip flexors more than they train the abdominals or obliques.
Training the hip flexors is also damaging to the back but can also cause limitations with your movement.
Movement restrictions are like driving a Ferrari over speed bumps.
Lastly, everyone has abs. They are often just covered by fat. Reduce the fat and the abs will surface.
You can work on fat loss by combining nutrition with metabolic resistance training.
This is the best strategy to lose fat and preserve muscle mass.
The Toe Touch
Being able to touch your toes from standing is basically a meaningless test.
I cannot think of one benefit there is to a standing toe touch with the palms on the floor.
This actually can be of a concern for someone. A palms on the floor toe touch is one of the 5 tests for hypermobility.
Hypermobile people should not be doing a ton of static stretching because they are already very loose to begin with.
Someone who is hypermobile should be training in a way to promote stability.
The toe touch is also not a measure of hamstring flexibility. It is combined with low back flexibility.
Low back flexibility is not a desirable trait. The back should be stable, not mobile. A mobile back is subject to injury.
I will use myself as an example of why I toe touch does not mean a whole lot in the big picture.
I cannot touch my toes.
I can also deadlift with any variation I want, hit a full overhead squat, and perform unrestricted single leg work.
If we were to assume I had no mobility because I could not touch my toes it would be faulty logic.
Instead of performing the toe touch focus more on movements. Are there any movements you cannot perform?
Work on the mobility necessary to complete the movements you want to do.
Aerobic Conditioning Tests
Multiple mile runs are not good measures of how fit someone is.
It is usually a good way to see how fast someone can run a certain distance.
If you are a runner then that is valuable information but other athletes should be tested on things more specific to their sport.
I am all for conditioning tests. They are a good way to see who has been training and who has been sitting on their butt.
We cannot use a 2 mile test for sports that involve 10 second sprints, followed by 30 seconds of jogging/gliding, and finishing with a rest.
Aerobic tests and training do not make a ton of sense when looking at sports. They train athletes to be slow when they need to be fast and explosive.
They also are not a good indicator of who is good at their sport.
Again, if running is what you do then by all means run. If you hate running, no one said you had to and how fast you can run a mile is not a meaningful measure of fitness.
These are just three of the updates that exist in the fitness industry.
We are stuck in outdated information even though there are tons of qualified individuals who are changing the shape of the industry.
If something does not sound like it makes sense it very well may not.
Here’s to avoiding the above mistakes in order to get good results.