1. Crunches will flatten the stomach – You can not spot reduce fat by exercising a specific area. Situps and crunches can not widdle away abdominal fat. In fact crunches put a lot of stress on the lumbar spine (about 674 lbs. Of force) and may open you up for injury. Excess fat storage around your midline has more to do with hormonal imbalances and overall fitness than either or not you can do a million crunches. There are better ways to train the abs then crunches.
- Proper clean eating habits and core stabilization exercises will do a lot more for flattening your stomach than a crunch will ever do. If you are properly doing squats, deadlifts and other Olympic lifts you probably do not need to specifically work your abs.
2. Pronation and “over-pronation” of the foot is bad – This is a normal and healthy function of the foot which refers to the multi-plane ankle joint action ( everts , abducts and dorsiflexes) that companies periodic rotation of the knees and hips during the gait cycle. During a normal gait cycle the foot rolls inwards and the subtalar joint everts (the heel rotates slowly outwards), and the arch flattens with weight being transferred to the inside edge. This is pronunciation and the foot is very loose at this time. It is considered 'unlocked'. Some over-pronation moments can be excessive but simply there is no criteria that actually defines it and no simple way of measuring the movement. You may pronate more than others but that does not mean its a bad thing because there are no studies that state controlling pronation leads to fewer injuries.
- Many athletic shoes are made with stiff medial posts which are designed to prevent pronation. In other words, many sneakers are made to prohibit the human foot from doing what it naturally is supposed to do.
3. Pilates, Yoga and Stretching lengthens muscle – Simple understanding of human physiology dictates that all muscle have a predetermined length. Muscles shorten when contracted and lengthen when relaxed … their relevant insertions and origins do not change. Viscoelasticity may increase after hard stretching but this is only temporary. Static stretching will only increase your tolerance to the pain of the stretch – not actually change the length of the soft tissue.
- Better posture (more upright) will give you the appearance of 'longer' muscles and even make you seem more confident, although to actually lengthen muscle would require either surgery or an accident resulting in a complete tear. The origin and insertion points are set not long after conception.
4. Stretching is necessary – There is no research providing the need for a separate stretching session to improve performance or safety. The greater degrees of flexibility garnered with stretching are likely the result of boosted tolerance to the pain of stretching, not actual lengthening of tissue. In other words you get used to the pain and can go farther in the stretch.
- Simply participating in a smart exercise program will actively move all your joints though their normal safe range of motion; this may be enough.
5. Lifting 'heavy' weights will make women bulky – The word 'bulky' means different things to different people. That being said, lifting heavy weights will certainly increase lean muscle mass just not that much in a low testosterone environment (like a woman's body with 15-20 times less testosterone). It takes lots of dedication, time and effort (not to mention crazy genetics) to develop thighs like Serena Williams.
- When you pick up heavy things, your muscles get STRONGER (but not unnecessarily bigger). If you pump yourself full of testosterone and eat way more calories than you are burning every day, you will get bigger … otherwise do not worry bout it.
6. Soreness after exercise is because of lactic acid buildup – Simply not true. Lactic acid is not the demon it is made out to be. In fact, lactic acid does not exist in the human body … lactate does. Delayed sunset muscle soreness ( DOMS ) is not fully understood. However it is believed to be the result of eccentric exercise which in turn causes micro-tears within the muscle cell and localized inflammation from the stress of training. It has nothing to do with lactate. Lactate is a fuel released from the muscle and converted in the liver to glucose, which is then used as an energy source. So rather than cause fatigue or burn it actually helps to delay a lowering of blood glucose concentrations and slows down the rate at which the cells become acidic.
- You do not need to experience soreness in order to benefit from workouts. Studies have shown that soreness itself (using a scale from 0 to 10 to assess the level of soreness) is poorly correlated as an indicator of muscle adaptation and growth. DOMS is multifactoral and in many cases can alert the individual to an overtraining incident.
7. Cardio training is necessary for weight loss -Weight loss, particularly fat loss is a multifaceted phenomenon in the human body caused by several factors. First let me say individual sustained body-fat loss (which is different than weight loss) is a complicated topic which is not fully understood by science. Rather than delve into the overwhelming multitude of variables, I will keep the scope of this article focused on a simple question: is resistance training better than steady state cardio for fat loss? Maybe. This is the truest answer you'll ever get. If you have to choose, I believe weight training is a more efficient way for most people to lose body fat than steady state cardio.
Side Note: The fat loss evidence is much stronger for high intensity interval training than steady state cardio.
Let me be clear, cardio is great for a whole host of things (even weight loss) – its just not an efficient way to decrease body fat. Do not believe me? Look at the majority of people at the gym who only do cardio. Their bodies do not change. Moreover, stand at the finish line of a marathon and after the winners zoom by take a look at how many overweight runners there are. Marathon training requires a lot of cardio, so why are so many runners still overweight? Simple: Cardio makes you hungry by directly affecting hunger hormones (grhelin and insulin). Many people feel it is a license to eat more. “I ran 8 miles today because I deserve some ice cream cake!” Some evidence shows chronic cardio stresses your endocrine system and increases water retention (due to the gross soft tissue / joint inflammation). In the end you can not run run a bad diet. Do you know how hard it is to burn 500 calories with cardio? It'll take about 1 hour of punishing work on a treadmill or rowing machine to barely eek out 500 calories. And you know what? Four slices of bacon or a bagel with cream cheese or one slice of pepperoni pizza will instantly negate all that hard work.
8. The upper and lower abdominals (rectus abdominus) are independent – The 6 pack muscle is called the rectus abdominus and is one muscle that extends from the ribs to the pelvis. When one area of this muscle is contracted the whole unit contracts. It is called the “all or none principal.” Muscles do not contract partially. Getting 6-pack abs is 90% about reaching low bodyfat levels and 10% about having muscular abs.