Workout Tips

10 Misconceptions About Getting Stronger Trainers Hate

Stop planning your strength-training program based on weak intel.


Man Screaming With Dumbbells

7. Strength training is really complicated

On the flipside, strength training doesn’t need to be overly complicated or involve special equipment. “Work on foundations of form and function before you start getting fancy with chains, bands and other accessories,” says Mentore. “There are only a handful of movement patterns: squatting, hip hinging, push, pull, gait, and core work,” Kelly says. “Variety comes in terms of loading, rest periods, volume, density of training, and speed of movement.”

8. You're too tough to rest

You might feel like the stars aligned in that kickass deadlifting session, but it’s the rest time—between sets and between workouts—that’s when the muscle-building magic actually happens. If you don’t rest enough between sets, your muscles won’t be recovered enough to tackle the next go-round. Rest too long, and you reduce the cumulative effect of your session. Hard-worked muscles also need time off between workouts. “Research shows that advanced strength trainers need at least 72 hours recovery for a given muscle to build to a higher level of strength,” Westcott says. That doesn’t mean you have to take three days off from the gym—it means you should work in some cross training or active recovery instead. 

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9. Sleep doesn't impact your gains

Hand in hand with rest is recovery, which happens most optimally for muscles while you’re off in dreamland. “Sleep is when the body produces muscle growing hormones like growth hormone and testosterone used to repair muscle proteins,” McCall says. That repair process is when the muscle fibers that haves been micro-damaged from your lifting session rebuilds, stronger than ever. So get your zzzs—aiming for 8 hours a night.

10. Isolation exercises are better than multi-joint moves

If your workouts are designed around a body part a day, you’re doing a hypertrophy routine—building muscles for size, but not necessarily for strength and generally not for function. “Time is the most precious commodity we have, and we can maximize our time in the gym by doing movement-based routines or exercises for the entire body in the same workout,” McCall says. “So if you work out three days a week, you'll be using your muscles three times as opposed to one or two times as in a traditional split routine program. Most professional strength coaches use movement-based programs for a reason—they work.” If you do like to add some isolation exercises, like curls, in, that’s fine. Just do them after you’ve done your multijoint work, like bench presses, squats, and pullups. 

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