In a post last week, I discussed how there are still a lot of things about the fitness industry that are behind the times.
Here are some more notions that need to be dismissed.
The habit for most people that are tight, sore, injured, etc. is to instantly stretch the muscle out.
This is a tough call to make because pain is indicative of some kind of issue.
There are a couple of ways that we injuries can happen.
Weak muscles can become painful when they are subject to more load that they can handle. This will result in a muscle strain.
When a muscle is strained, stretching will not help.
A muscle can also become painful when it is short, and becomes overstretched.
An overstretched muscle will not feel better from more stretching.
Now when it comes to tightness, again stretching is not the best strategy.
When a muscle becomes tight from overuse, trigger points will develop.
Trigger points are parts of muscles that are stuck in contraction. In order to release this muscle, pressure must be applied to the area.
This is the basis for massage and other manual therapy.
Stretching something that hurts is only going to make things worse.
So far I have addressed how muscles can become hurt. Some people have joint pain and try to stretch out in relief.
The only problem is that it is impossible to stretch out a joint. Bones, ligaments, and tendons do not stretch. They tear, sprain, and break.
Some joints and the surrounding musculature are not supposed to have a lot of range of motion as it is.
The back is culprit number one when it comes to this. People with back pain will stretch for relief.
Stretching the back reinforces the bad habits that can cause back pain.
If stretching the back feels good then we are looking at extension intolerance. An extended spine (think big arch) can be painful to those with that bias.
Addressing the issue of extension by adding in more anterior core control will be much more helpful in addressing the problem.
Machines= Free Weights
A leg press is not a squat, a smith machine is not a bench press, and the lat pulldown is not the same as a pullup.
Free weight exercises require total body stability and more demand on the individual muscles.
This means that you work more muscles and each muscle works harder. This is an equation for progress.
Building stability throughout the body is also helpful for injury prevention. Strong muscles surrounding weak joints is a recipe for disaster.
Machines are not the same thing as free weights and you do not get the same workout.
Bodybuilders will benefit from the isolated exercises but the average person needs to perform free weight exercises.
Squats are bad for the knees, deadlifts are bad for the back
Exercises performed poorly are bad for many joints.
When they are done correctly, properly progressed, and adequately loaded they are helpful for our health.
Squats and deadlifts take a beating among the pink dumbbell crowd.
People who don’t lift anything more than 5 pounds have a huge influence on fitness perception.
People have done the big exercises like squats and deadlifts for years. Most of the time injuries occur from poor technique.
Perform the exercises with the right technique and there is nothing to worry about.
I hope shedding light on these subjects helps us progress into training that will get people better results without injuries.
When we train smarter, we don’t have to train harder to get the same progress.