Even to this day, if you walk into any gym, you will almost always see someone performing long, static stretches prior to their gym session in the belief they are warming up. Although it might feel like your priming your muscles for your session, you might actually be doing more harm than good.
Long bouts of static stretching change receptors in the muscle and tendons which are responsible for relaying important sensory information and force production. As a result, static stretching can actually decrease performance.
So how do you warm up then? Simply modifying the way you stretch is a great way to prime the body prior to the gym. This evolves more dynamic movements that will best prepare your body to move.
Key stretching modalities might include dynamic, ballistic or even proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), a fancy way of integrating muscle contractions into stretching. These are all methods that your physiotherapist can help guide and recommend specifically for you. Continue reading to learn more about common gym myths.
2. Lifting weights will make you bulky
Another great one is the belief that lifting weights, or heavy weights will somehow turn you into a bicep bulging bodybuilder. This is not true. Research has shown that lifting weights is actually equally as effective as endurance-based training when it comes to shifting body composition and weight loss. This is due to an increase in lean muscle tissue, which is associated with higher levels of metabolic activity, which means it uses more fuel (energy) to maintain when compared with fat. Not to mention, the overall caloric intake (Energy in vs energy out) will be the biggest overriding factor to whether you are gaining or losing weight, so don’t be afraid to go and pick up a barbell or set of dumbbells!
3. No pain no gain
Unfortunately, mainstream media and popular shows have painted this idea that blood, sweat, and tears are the only way to get the results you’ve always desired, and if you’re not willing to commit to that, there’s no point trying. This couldn’t be further from the truth! When it comes to the gym, and movement in general, the quality will always be more important than the quantity. It’s really important to establish healthy movement patterns and not compromise them to lift heavier or complete things faster. Pushing through pain and agony on a regular basis is a sure-fire way to end up in trouble later down the track, so contact your physio to help understand ways to work around it or better yet prevent it altogether.
If you would like to learn more about common gym myths, or would like more direction in the gym, come check out our amazing team at Pivotal Motion Physiotherapy. With a wealth of knowledge and a friendly smile, we will happily get you back on track.