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Some Fitness Myths

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
These are the probably less-questioned of the nine myths listed in "Fitness Myths are Bad for Your Health," an article in the Autumn issue of Men's Style (Australia).

Quote:
1. Myth: Doing sit-ups will protect you from hurting your back.
Fact: Wrong. Your abdominal muscles are divided into four groups: Rectus abdominus, or your six pack; external obliques, located on the side of your stomach, below your ribs; internal obliques, under your external obliques; and Transverse abdominus, which are wrapped around your stomach like a girdle.

Of these four the six pack is the least supportive of your back; its job is to bring your ribs closer to your hips.... In contrast your obliques and Transverse abdominus are the ones that contract and support your lower back when it is put under pressure.

One of the best ways to work these muscles and protect your back is by doing the plank exercise, where you lie on your stomach and bring your taught body onto your elbows and feet. Hold for 30 seconds. Four sets.

4. Myth: You burn more fat by exercising gently.
Fact: At a low intensity (slow walk) you do burn a high percentage of fat. However, your calorie expenditure is very low. As you increase the intensity of the exercise (fast walk or job) you decrease the percentage of fat that you burn but the total amount of calories that you use increases significantly. The result is that the higher intensity exercise burns a greater amount of body fat....

5. Myth: You only start burning fat after 20 minutes' exercise.
Fact: This is a very bad message to send out to people as they get the impression that short bouts of exercise are not beneficial. Our metabolism does not have an on or off switch. Except in very extreme circumstances, you are always burning a combination of fat, carbohydrate and protein, whether you are running for a bus, strolling on the beach or moving furniture. Breaking your exercise into smaller bouts (between 10 and 20 minutes) can be more beneficial for weight loss as you can exercise at a higher intensity for that time. Fifteen minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night is a great way to start dropping the kilos. Remember: Any amount of exercise is a good amount.

6. Myth: If you don't lose weight, there's no point exercising.
Fact: Unfortunately, most people merely take up an exercise program to lose unwanted body fat and stop exercising if the kilos don't start to drop off. While physical activity can help you become leaner, the benefits of exercise do not stop there.

Improving your fitness level has been shown to reduce your chances of dying from a chronic disease. People who exercise have a reduced chance of having conditions such as high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, osteoporosis, and arthritis.

This benefit of exercise is seen irrespective of what your diet is and how much body fat you are carrying. A recent study in Dallas showed that men who were skinny and unfit had a greater chance of dying early than those who were overweight and fit.

7. Myth: Light weights on your arms or legs increase the exercise benefit.
Fact: People who power-walk with small hand-held weights or weights strapped to their ankles are kidding themselves. "Don't bother!" says exercise physiologist Christine Amarego of the Heidelburg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne.

"A recent study in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness showed that adding ankle and hand weights did not significantly add to people's fitness or strength levels," Armarego says. "The extremity weights will only slow you down and make your exercise uncomfortable, and they don't add enough weight to give you the benefit of strength training."

Remember: Weights when walking is uncomfortable. And you look like a wiener.

8. Myth: Carbohydrates make you fat.
Fact: Not true. Carbohydrates are an essential part of our diet and give us energy to perform during the day. If you try to cut carbohydrates out of your diet completely you may find that your energy levels suffer during the day, as your brain and red blood cells rely on carbohydrate intake for glucose. Also, carbohydrates are an excellent source of B group vitamins, which are essential for proper metabolic health.

The reason carbohydrates have received such bad press lately is because for many years we have eaten too much of the wrong sort of carbohydrates, causing us to get fat.

Simply, avoid refined sources of carbohydrates, such as soft drinks, desserts, lollies, white bread, white flour and sugar.

Remember: No more danishes. Increase your intake of unrefined sources of carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole-grain products.
post #2 of 22
Good post.
post #3 of 22
Quote:
7. Myth: Light weights on your arms or legs increase the exercise benefit.
Fact: People who power-walk with small hand-held weights or weights strapped to their ankles are kidding themselves. "Don't bother!" says exercise physiologist Christine Amarego of the Heidelburg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne.

"A recent study in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness showed that adding ankle and hand weights did not significantly add to people's fitness or strength levels," Armarego says. "The extremity weights will only slow you down and make your exercise uncomfortable, and they don't add enough weight to give you the benefit of strength training."

Remember: Weights when walking is uncomfortable. And you look like a wiener.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Pope
A little learning is a dang'rous thing.

I guess the 2002 paper Armarego refers to is "recent", but it does not allow her to reach the conclusions that are attributed to her. The study she quotes looked at extremity weghts in the context of bench/step training only. Many other studies have demonstrated the efficacy of extremity weights - but you will still look like a wiener.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
1. Myth: Doing sit-ups will protect you from hurting your back.
Fact: Wrong. Your abdominal muscles are divided into four groups: Rectus abdominus, or your six pack; external obliques, located on the side of your stomach, below your ribs; internal obliques, under your external obliques; and Transverse abdominus, which are wrapped around your stomach like a girdle.

Of these four the six pack is the least supportive of your back; its job is to bring your ribs closer to your hips.... In contrast your obliques and Transverse abdominus are the ones that contract and support your lower back when it is put under pressure.

One of the best ways to work these muscles and protect your back is by doing the plank exercise, where you lie on your stomach and bring your taught body onto your elbows and feet. Hold for 30 seconds. Four sets.

Can you show me, or more clearly describe this exercise? I'm having trouble visualizing it. And by four sets, they mean four times? I do crunches and I'd like to add more exercises to strengthen my lower back so I don't unbalance myself.

-Jake
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Here's an illustration.

Yes, four times.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aus_MD
I guess the 2002 paper Armarego refers to is "recent", but it does not allow her to reach the conclusions that are attributed to her. The study she quotes looked at extremity weghts in the context of bench/step training only. Many other studies have demonstrated the efficacy of extremity weights - but you will still look like a wiener.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Do you know where to find the studies? If you like, send a PM.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant
Thanks for pointing that out.

Do you know where to find the studies? If you like, send a PM.

The citation and abstract are below.

Quote:
J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2002 Mar;42(1):71-8.


Bench/step training with and without extremity loading. Effects on muscular fitness, body composition profile, and psychological affect.
Engels HJ, Currie JS, Lueck CC, Wirth JC.
Division of HPR--Exercise Science, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA. Engels@wayne.edu

BACKGROUND: To study the effect of bench/step group exercise with and without extremity loading on muscular fitness, body composition, and psychological affect.

METHODS: Experimental design: a prospective training study.

SETTING: general community fitness center.

PARTICIPANTS: 44 healthy adult females (age: 21-51 yrs). Interventions: 12 weeks of bench/ step exercise (3 sessions/week, 50 min/session, 60-90% HRmax). Subjects were randomly assigned to groups that trained with (WT, n=16) and without (NWT, n=16) 0.68 kg/ankle and 1.36 kg/hand weights while 12 subjects served as non-training controls (NTC).

MEASURES: Pre- and postintervention muscular strength and endurance for knee and elbow flexion and extension, and for shoulder abduction and adduction were examined by isokinetic dynamometry. Body composition was assessed with hydrostatic weighing and psychological affect by questionnaire.

RESULTS: Thirty-two subjects completed the study. ANOVA revealed that pre- to postintervention changes for body fat (2.6%), fat-free weight (+0.7 kg), fat weight (-1.9 kg), and knee flexion peak torque were significantly different in the bench/step exercise trained (WT+NWT) compared to the NTC study group. Specific comparisons of muscle strength and endurance change scores of WT+NWT relative to NTC, and of WT relative to NWT revealed no other significant differences between groups. Positive and negative affective states were similar among study groups before and after the intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: Participation in bench/step group exercise improved body composition but was of limited or no value as a modality to change muscular fitness and psychological affect in healthy adult females. The use of ankle and hand weights failed to enhance training adaptations.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks.
post #9 of 22
Thanks for a good post. I've been looking for a way to exercise my transverse abdominus (really!) and didn't realize the plank would do it.

Aus_MD, thanks for confirming my suspicions when I read the "myth" about extremity weights. Do you know of any studies about using extremity weights to improve sports performance (e.g. to improve my vertical jump for basketball)?
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by thinman
Thanks for a good post. I've been looking for a way to exercise my transverse abdominus (really!) and didn't realize the plank would do it.

Aus_MD, thanks for confirming my suspicions when I read the "myth" about extremity weights. Do you know of any studies about using extremity weights to improve sports performance (e.g. to improve my vertical jump for basketball)?

I think heavy squats and power cleans can do wonder for your vertical leap. The power cleans are especialy useful because they stimulate your CNS and train your body to work as a whole when doing an explosive power movement.

Also, I have friends that have found that doing weighted squat jumps (with dumbells) has helped their vertical leap, but for me personally, I feel that this does tremendous damage to my knees so I avoid it.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by odoreater
I think heavy squats and power cleans can do wonder for your vertical leap. The power cleans are especialy useful because they stimulate your CNS and train your body to work as a whole when doing an explosive power movement.

Also, I have friends that have found that doing weighted squat jumps (with dumbells) has helped their vertical leap, but for me personally, I feel that this does tremendous damage to my knees so I avoid it.

Thanks odoreater. I'm doing squats now, but avoid jump squats because I, too, am concerned for my knees. Any other ideas?
post #12 of 22
I never heard of these "Myths" before.

Not that I would believe a word of it, even if I did.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant
Here's an illustration.

Yes, four times.

I tried this exercise, and you can really feel your abs.

Jon.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by odoreater
Also, I have friends that have found that doing weighted squat jumps (with dumbells) has helped their vertical leap, but for me personally, I feel that this does tremendous damage to my knees so I avoid it.

Getting a high leap also involves coordination of your muscles and getting your body in proper alignment: you can have really strong legs, but if you don't know how to use them properly, then you won't really be using your muscles to their fullest potential. Other than taking a performance dance class (ballet, jazz, some forms of modern), I'm not sure who else teaches these skills. Erik Franklin's Conditioning for Dance lays out the basic mechanics of it, too.

--Andre
post #15 of 22
1. Myth: Doing sit-ups will protect you from hurting your back.
Fact: Wrong. Your abdominal muscles are divided into four groups: Rectus abdominus, or your six pack; external obliques, located on the side of your stomach, below your ribs; internal obliques, under your external obliques; and Transverse abdominus, which are wrapped around your stomach like a girdle.

Of these four the six pack is the least supportive of your back; its job is to bring your ribs closer to your hips.... In contrast your obliques and Transverse abdominus are the ones that contract and support your lower back when it is put under pressure.

One of the best ways to work these muscles and protect your back is by doing the plank exercise, where you lie on your stomach and bring your taught body onto your elbows and feet. Hold for 30 seconds. Four sets.


_________________________________________________________________



Planks > situps then for getting a 6 pack?
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