Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Years false truths...

It is amazing how in the new year, so called "fitness guru's" are advertised by the newspapers as being London's top experts in the field. Yet, so many of these people are pedalling myths and false truths in an effort to promote their 'system' and guess who/what it is usually at the expense of - yes, weight training.
Today's Daily Mail had a body scuplting "expert guru" who tells us that her method does the following....

"Unlike gym-based exercise, it lengthens, as opposed to contracting muscles, making them lean not bulky. Pilates-devotees looking for a new challenge will love it"

Yup, how many times have we seen that one?

O.k, so just for a bit of fun, let's expose this ridiculous saying for the COMPLETE RUBBISH that it is!!

ANY muscle action involves contracting muscles, in fact we can't move without a muscle contracting....even stretching a muscle involves contracting another. These relationships are how are joints manage to stay in one place..if every muscle was long and loose then we'd end up with slack muscles everywhere and we wouldn't be able to move at all!
This long-touted belief that weight training leads to bulky, unattractive, inflexible muscles is one still held by many teachers of systems that have actually (in the case of Pilates) been born from strength training. It also shows a total ignorance of the wide range of exercises and outcomes that a well-designed weight training programme can address, choosing instead to focus on an outdated stereotypical idea of the overdeveloped and inflexible individual that is far from the reality.
While Pilates and it's associates do have many excellent benefits, it is essentially a system of training like any other. It is a shame that people have decided to take credible work and try to gain a commercial edge by using nothing short of "quackery" to sell their services.
It also betrays an inherent lack of understanding of exercise and muscle physiology. The fact is that ANY exercise done poorly can be detrimental to health. Perhaps the main problem with weight training is poorly performed exercises through incomplete ranges of movement leading to a loss of flexibility probably via muscle memory (thrixotropy). To avoid this simply ensure you work through a complete range of motion on each exercise.

A well-designed weight training programme can also do the following, many to far greater effect than other systems of exercise...

"sculpt" muscle
improve flexibility - YES I said IMPROVE flexibility
Strengthen bones, joints, and connective tissue as well as muscle
CORRECT imbalances
IMPROVE posture
Improve body composition
Develop fitness
Reverse disease
Maintain strength, power, range of movement, and muscle mass
Prevent many age-related declines in fitness...

and much, much, more....

Some food for thought....


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