The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ricochet_kid's Avatar
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    burn, pump or what??

    What is the prevailing wisdom in these parts about how to know when you've worked a muscle well/properly. I have been presented with a number of different theories over the years, and I was wondering how consistent the wbb ppl are about it.

    Lift for the burn: This was told to me years ago, the burn is the goal and if you could get a good deep, bright burn, you've worked your muscle well and done your job in the gym. The problem with this theory is that the best way for me to achieve a burn is to start out with some heavy weight on the first set, and then keep stepping down the weight, and increasing the reps on successive sets, until I am working with 20% of my initial weight and doing 15+ reps. This makes a muscle burn like wildfire. I don't think that it is the most beneficial to mass-building though, because of the lighter weight and higher reps that you invariably finish off with.

    Lift till you can't lift no more: This was another theory that I've come accross where you set your weight, and lift it until you can't really lift it any more. But the problem here is that I've read (on this site recently) that you shouldn't lift till exhaustion. (why is that anyway?) I mean if you either have a spot or are in a position that does not jeopardize your safety, why not lift till exhaustion and totally wring out your muscle?

    Lift by the books: This theory is that you just write down your reps and sets and then methodically increase the amounts and don't primarily determine the qty or weight by means of a sense or feeling. I wonder if this would work?

    I've also been harboring the perception that if you are sore/stiff the next day (where you've targeted) then you've worked it alright, and done your job in the gym. If you don't feel it the next day then you've slacked off and should work harder next time. Is there any merit to this perception?

    I have a feeling this is one of those questions that people wonder, but never really ask. That's how it's been for me anyway.

    Thanks for any insights.

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  3. #2
    Seen yer member? shansen008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricochet_kid
    What is the prevailing wisdom in these parts about how to know when you've worked a muscle well/properly. I have been presented with a number of different theories over the years, and I was wondering how consistent the wbb ppl are about it.

    Lift for the burn: This was told to me years ago, the burn is the goal and if you could get a good deep, bright burn, you've worked your muscle well and done your job in the gym. The problem with this theory is that the best way for me to achieve a burn is to start out with some heavy weight on the first set, and then keep stepping down the weight, and increasing the reps on successive sets, until I am working with 20% of my initial weight and doing 15+ reps. This makes a muscle burn like wildfire. I don't think that it is the most beneficial to mass-building though, because of the lighter weight and higher reps that you invariably finish off with.

    Lift till you can't lift no more: This was another theory that I've come accross where you set your weight, and lift it until you can't really lift it any more. But the problem here is that I've read (on this site recently) that you shouldn't lift till exhaustion. (why is that anyway?) I mean if you either have a spot or are in a position that does not jeopardize your safety, why not lift till exhaustion and totally wring out your muscle?

    Lift by the books: This theory is that you just write down your reps and sets and then methodically increase the amounts and don't primarily determine the qty or weight by means of a sense or feeling. I wonder if this would work?

    I've also been harboring the perception that if you are sore/stiff the next day (where you've targeted) then you've worked it alright, and done your job in the gym. If you don't feel it the next day then you've slacked off and should work harder next time. Is there any merit to this perception?

    I have a feeling this is one of those questions that people wonder, but never really ask. That's how it's been for me anyway.

    Thanks for any insights.

    Being sore is not an indiciator of having worked a muscle. Some people just have parts of their body that refuse to get sore. As an example for me it is shoulders. No matter what i lift i never get sore in my shoulders, biceps rarely get sore either. Legs and chest/back on the other hand are always sore.

    As far as mass building goes, your first scenario may work for a complete noob lifter, but only for a month or two. A combination of your second and third scenarios is what most people do to build mass. Lift to failure (low volume), and keep a track of your progress so that you continually overload your muscles.

    Lift hard, Sleep harder, Eat harder...er.
    "Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."
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  4. #3
    Senior Member CiteCollegiale's Avatar
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    Lift close to failure this will make them heal faster than going all out past failure with drop sets negatives etc.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricochet_kid
    What is the prevailing wisdom in these parts about how to know when you've worked a muscle well/properly.
    When you get stronger and/or bigger, then you know you're training properly.

    Lift till you can't lift no more: This was another theory that I've come accross where you set your weight, and lift it until you can't really lift it any more. But the problem here is that I've read (on this site recently) that you shouldn't lift till exhaustion. (why is that anyway?) I mean if you either have a spot or are in a position that does not jeopardize your safety, why not lift till exhaustion and totally wring out your muscle?
    You can lift until failure, but if you do this every week you'll eventually burn out and probably start to go backwards. This is one reason why a lot of lifters switch their main lifts every few weeks (squats / box squats / good mornings / etc). Similar movement/muscles being worked, but hits the CNS in a different manner.

    Lift by the books: This theory is that you just write down your reps and sets and then methodically increase the amounts and don't primarily determine the qty or weight by means of a sense or feeling. I wonder if this would work?
    Yes and no. Have goals, but allow for flexibility. Why limit yourself if you're having a great day? And vice versa, why kill yourself if you're having an off day?

    I've also been harboring the perception that if you are sore/stiff the next day (where you've targeted) then you've worked it alright, and done your job in the gym. If you don't feel it the next day then you've slacked off and should work harder next time. Is there any merit to this perception?
    Common misperception. Soreness means nothing. Progress means everything.
    Last edited by Anthony; 07-22-2005 at 12:52 PM.
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  6. #5
    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricochet_kid
    I have a feeling this is one of those questions that people wonder, but never really ask. That's how it's been for me anyway.

    Thanks for any insights.

    Oh it gets asked. Use the search engine and you'll see how many times it gets asked.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member DNL's Avatar
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    yeah.. people asked the same questions soo many times that they created a sticky mainly about what to do before posting a question

    http://www.wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?t=65843

  8. #7
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    It just sucks that this question even needs to be asked. I snicker inside and also get upset when people talk about the importance of the "burn".

    Should you lift til you can't lift anymore? Probably not, I know I don't. During my sets I only go til failure some of the time (which really isn't that necessary) and I never go til failure with regards to an actual workout. If during a workout you keep working your muscles and after a while have problems lifting a respectable weight then you are making a mistake (at least if you are working on strength or hypertrophy). When your muscles can't lift a high amount of weight less muscle fibers are recruited and subsequently less muscle fibers are giong to grow larger. You also definitely have to worry about overtraining also.

    Lifting by the book? I'm not quite sure exactly what you mean by this but this is pretty much how I do it. I'm one of those people in the gym with a little journal and when I see that the way that I am lifting is getting me where I want to go then I keep on doing it.

    There is no actual way to physically "feel" when you are training correctly (at least for most of the time). This is one thing that your average gym-goer does not understand and will hinder his/her gains and eventually frustrate them. When I leave the gym I don't give a sh!t how I feel because I know that the way that I lifted on that day has worked for me 100 times in the past and only when it stops or slows at working will I make a big change to my routine.

    At least you were smart enough to ask this question instead of going on trying to feel the burn. God I hate my friends who are obsessed with the burn. OK I don't hate them but I hate their ignorance.

  9. #8
    Senior Member DNL's Avatar
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    When I leave the gym I don't give a sh!t how I feel because I know that the way that I lifted on that day has worked for me 100 times in the past and only when it stops or slows at working will I make a big change to my routine.
    =)

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