highreps

Swim right after a meal and you’ll sink like a rock. Shave often and expect to grow back a beard thicker than ZZ Top’s. Put a jacket on when it’s cold out or risk catching deadly pneumonia. Size matters.

OK, maybe the jury is still out on that last one, but the truth is there’s a whole lot of good-intentioned advice out there that is completely unfounded, especially when it comes to weight training. In an effort to clear the air of weightlifting whoppers, we’ve debunked 3 common training myths that have no place in the weight room or anywhere else for that matter. Let’s start off with the granddaddy of muscle defining misconceptions: 

Myth #1: Higher reps are the best way to get greater definition

Whatever sound that buzzer makes when someone gets the wrong answer should go off now. At some point in your training career you’ve likely stepped into this crock of myth. Even today, many personal trainers and so-called “experts” in the fitness industry love to toss this concept around. 

Truth is, doing high reps with a light weight is a waste of time, and won’t make your muscles more defined. The lean and cut look that most strive for is a result of having muscle that isn’t buried beneath fat. If you want greater muscle definition then you need to lower your body fat levels. Cutting calories and adding a consistent cardio regimen to your regular weight-training regimen should do the trick. 

 

NEXT: Myths 2 & 3 >>

crunches

Myth #2: You can get a shredded 6-pack doing specific ab exercises 

If you buy this one than you probably also bought the shake weight, and that contraption you fit around your waist to magically chisel your abs while you sleep. Come on, abs of steel are not created by sit-ups alone. This myth suggests that by solely doing specific exercises that target your midsection, you’ll be able to get the same chiseled abs as the models pedaling all those infomercial gadgets. Wrong! Those TV infomercial models maintain those rock hard abs by maintaining a calorie deficit through a combination of strict diet, cardio and total body weight training, not by pulling out something from under their bed 15-minutes every other day that simulates a sit-up.  

Myth #3: The more you sweat during exercise, the more fat you lose 

Cue buzzer sound. Yes, sweating is usually a good thing whenever working out, but how much you sweat does not necessarily indicate how hard you’re working, or how much fat you will lose. There are a variety of factors that determine how much people sweat, such as obesity, level of conditioning, genetics, clothing material, and of course climate and temperature. As a result, some who are just one minute into their workouts could be sweating more than others who are wrapping up their first hour. 

When it comes to losing fat, it’s not about the sweat you put out, but rather the effort you put in. The harder you work, the more calories you’ll burn within a given period and thus the more fat you stand to lose. So feel free to sweat the small stuff—just know that it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re burning more fat while doing so.