Home Posts tagged "Fitness Myths"

Mythbusters Vol 1

Let me be clear about one thing: with the possible exception of anything that comes out of Larry King's mouth, there are no unimportant interview questions. Every question or comment serves a purpose, whether it's to get the interviewee to open up, show emotion, unleash new information, or just get back on track. Everything matters. But I recently learned that sometimes I should just let the guy ramble. If he wants to rant, my job is to shut up and make sure the tape recorder keeps rolling. Most of the guys I interview are great at going off on tangents. And while the resulting transcript is often a jumbled mess of opinion, applied research, and hard-earned experience, occasionally I get something unexpected: an idea for a completely different article based on the unrelated information or opinion. To paraphrase Rod Stewart, every tangent tells a story. This is a collection of those tangents and tidbits from Dave Tate, Chris Bathke, Matt McGorry, Eric Cressey, and Craig Weller. Continue Reading...
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Two New EC Contributions from Yesterday

Two pieces on which I contributed were published yesterday.  Check them out: The World's Best Trainers and Coaches Share Their Best Tips and Resources to Make You a Better Professional Mythbusters
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Coming To a CP Near You: The Nightingale Excrement Facial

The other day, while doing some online reading, I accidentally happened upon an article with the following introduction:

“Forget avocado, evening primrose oil or other exotic ingredients, the latest facial to hit New York is a mask made with bird excrement. The Geisha Facial, available at Shizuka New York for $180, about $100 more than the shop's other facials, contains nightingale excrement.”

The message is that you can sell people on any kind of crap (pun intended) that you want.

Research on the repeated exposures effect in marketing shows that the more people see something (to a point of limited returns), the more they accept it as not only as fact, but as convenience – or even gospel – as well. It’s the reason so many people “Xerox” rather than photocopy – or grab a Kleenex rather than a tissue. While making some photocopies, blowing your nose, or even rubbing bird crap on your face is a far cry from lifting heavy stuff, you’d be surprised at the messages you can glean from this introduction.

If I told you in a Monday T-Nation article that my nightingale excrement protocol would add 50 pounds to your squat in two weeks, would you buy it? Probably not. But, if Christian Thibaudeau chimed in on Tuesday and said that he’d added one inch to his biceps over the course of a month by simply massaging bird poo onto his upper arms, you’d probably raise an eyebrow and read on.

Then, Mike Robertson chimes in on Wednesday to tell you that, “as demonstrated by an independent laboratory study” (which, incidentally, was funded by the American Society for the Advancement of Bird S**t), nightingale dung reduces knee pain in arthritis patients. Thursday, Chad Waterbury tells you that ten sets of three minutes of bird s**t on your face works better than three sets of ten minutes. Friday, TC admits he sniffs nightingale doo-doo to gain inspiration for each Atomic Dog column.

You’re sold.

There are no peer-reviewed studies displaying quantifiable results, or even a good amount of anecdotal, subjective evidence to support the aforementioned notions.

The point is that no matter how informed a consumer you think you are, you’re also (likely) outside your realm of expertise when it comes to exercise physiology if you haven’t made a career out of it. It’s why I go to an accountant to get my taxes done or a lawyer to have a contract drawn-up – and it’s why there are a lot of people out there obliviously getting suckered into false information that often separates them from their money.

A few years ago, I wrote a series called “Debunking Exercise Myths.” In hindsight, I probably should have called it “Stupid Stuff You Shouldn’t Believe” – especially since I’m a few years older and a bit more cynical now. These were two of my more popular articles to-date, so I thought I’d throw it out there to get some reader input: would you like to see more?

And, if so, feel free to drop us an email with your suggestions on topics to cover. You can send an email to ec@ericcressey.com with the subject line “Debunking Exercise Myths Suggestion.” I’ll either cover it in future newsletters and/or blogs, or make a new article out of it altogether.

Speaking of T-Nation

I had a new article published there yesterday; check out First Person: Cressey .

New Blog Content

And, speaking of blogs, check out some of our latest content – including two recent audio interviews with me:

EC on Superhuman Radio

Random Friday Thoughts

Maximum Strength Feedback from the Medical Community

EC on The Fitness Buff Show

All the Best,


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Debunking Exercise Myths, Part II

In Part I, our first five adages focused predominantly on the lower body. Now, in Part 2, we’ll look closely at some commonly maligned upper body exercises. Continue Reading...
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Debunking Exercise Myths: Part 1

We live in a society that doesn't want gray areas. People want right or wrong, up or down, and left or right. This mindset carries over to the gym, too; lifters want to be able to say that Exercise A is evil, and Exercise B is safe. Unfortunately, it's not that simple, so with that in mind, I'm devoting this article to killing off some myths, establishing some more well-defined gray areas, and making recommendations on who can do what. I'm going to come right out and say it: in the absence of musculoskeletal pathology, no movement is fundamentally bad. Sure, there are exercises like kickbacks and leg extensions that don't give you as much bang for your buck as their multi-joint counterparts (e.g. dips and squats), but that's not to say that these pansy exercises are "bad" for you. Likewise, it's rare that I write any sort of machine lift into my programming, but there are rehabilitation patients that benefit greatly from certain machine training. In my opinion, there are only five scenarios in which exercise is ever truly bad for you from a health standpoint: 1. When that exercise is performed in excessive volume. 2. When that exercise is performed with poor technique. 3. When that exercise is performed in a manner that puts it out of balance with the rest of the programming that is in place. 4. When that exercise irritates an existing injury or condition. 5. When that exercise is performed with excessive loading (relative to the lifter's capabilities). Now, it's not feasible for me to outline every specific instance where every exercise is safe or unsafe, but I can address some common adages we frequently hear in our gyms. Continue Reading...
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5 Relative Strength Myths

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. There's a very simple way to improve your maximal strength almost effortlessly. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with periodization, sets, reps, intensity, rest periods, exercise selection, neuromuscular coordination, or anything else in the gym with which you're concerned. You won't find it on an infomercial, either. Continue Reading...
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