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
    Wannabebig Member
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    High reps low weight??

    Hello!! I'm new to this forum and I need some quick answers about lifting please! I have been into distance running for a few years and recently wanted to add weight training to my routine to gain strength and perhaps a little muscle definition. All the running coaches I talk to preach this "high reps low weight" business. They say lifting heavy will ruin endurance and make you bulk up. After 6 months of this high rep routine(20 reps) I didn't feel like I was gaining anything. I only could increase weight by very little over the 6 month period. I went ahead and tried a 12 rep routine with a weight that tired me by the 12'th rep. Within 6 weeks I noticed I was gaining muscle mass and I put on 5 lbs. I was also making improvments in strength as I was progressing much faster than the former. I held the same eating habits which is a typical runners diet of high carbs, protiens, fats etc.. I run 7 days a week and most days cycle or elliptical along with it so I do huge amounts of aerobic exercise with only 2 days of weight training(full body each day).

    Anyways, my goal is to gain STRENGTH but not all that much muscle mass and no fat at all. I'm just looking for a more healthy looking physique. Today I stand at 5'7" 122 lbs male(thats with the 5 lb gain) and just look kinda thin and dorky. I'm aiming for muscle definition without all that bulk and I don't want it to negatively effect my running times. I'm currrently is a base buidling phase of my running so I must limit the amount of anaerobic activity. Is their a possible weight training method out their that will help me achieve this? Is this 20 rep business the only way for me to go?

    Thanks in advance, I appreciate anyone who takes the time to help.

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  3. #2
    I Piss Excellence DeHartD's Avatar
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    what weight training exercises are you currently doing? 5 pounds in 6 weeks good. Do you know your current BFP?

    Are you saying you have no muscle definition at all right now?

    Any pics?
    Last edited by DeHartD; 12-09-2006 at 01:08 PM.
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    *on the shelf*

  4. #3
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    8% Body fat. I am doing just general exercises trying to target each muscle group. Banch press, rows, squats, legcurls, calf raises, upright rows, and tricep bench dips and in that order too. I also do core work about 5x per week, have been doing that for years. I figure one exercise per body part 3 sets 2x per week would be a good place to start. I worked this with the 20 rep scheme than with the 12 rep scheme is when I gained. I swear my chest just buldged out. I don't really target my biceps their just worked in with the rows but they seemed to get big as well. I always thought of myself as a hard gainer but I'm starting to wonder.

    Another thing many runners preach is the sport specific weight training but this leaves me with only a few exercises and really doesn't target all my muscles. That doesn't make sense to me at all, just to have strong legs and shoulders and neglacting all the other muscle's. I know you don't use your pecs to run but they must play a role in the grand scheme of things right.

    Either way I guess I'm just looking to look better(healthier) without sacrificing(much) running endurance. Is this possible or can I only play one game?

    Thanks

  5. #4
    Eat Chicken Chris686's Avatar
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    Ha, hardgainer? You run 7 days a week, of course it's going to be hard to gain. If you put on 5 pounds of solid weight (Not water weight) while running long distances 7 days a week, you bulk up pretty easily.

    And I don't see why lower reps (Though I don't consider 12 low by any means) would hurt endurance. Have you asked them why?

    As long as you're running every day and not overtraining with the weights I don't see any plausible way that lower reps would hurt running endurance.
    Last edited by Chris686; 12-09-2006 at 03:28 PM.
    Forever Goal: Strength

    Weightlifting sucks. I just like to lift heavy things.

  6. #5
    Banned bjohnso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumbo11103 View Post

    Anyways, my goal is to gain STRENGTH but not all that much muscle mass and no fat at all. I'm just looking for a more healthy looking physique. Today I stand at 5'7" 122 lbs male(thats with the 5 lb gain) and just look kinda thin and dorky. I'm aiming for muscle definition without all that bulk and I don't want it to negatively effect my running times. I'm currrently is a base buidling phase of my running so I must limit the amount of anaerobic activity. Is their a possible weight training method out their that will help me achieve this? Is this 20 rep business the only way for me to go?
    You say you want a healthier looking physique while gaining strength, but you don't want to gain weight. This makes no sense as muscle does not weigh 0 pounds. It's also pretty difficult to gain muscle without gaining fat, but you can minimize it. 12 reps is high by bodybuilding standards, most people on here will tell you to stay in the 5-8 rep range. I've gone as low as 3 reps per set and was pleased with both the size and strength I gained from it. Ditch the core work 5 times a week, once a week is more than enough if you keep it in the 5-12 rep range (or thereabouts).

    Also, how big you get is based purely on how much you eat. Eat more and get bigger. Eat the same and go nowhere.

  7. #6
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    Hang on, muscle doesn't come out of nowhere.

    5ft 7 125lbs is ridiculously skinny.. I know- I've been there myself. You're not going to turn bulky overnight. I've been busting my ass for over 2 years and I'm only at 5ft7.5 180.. not bulky by any extent. I'm also fitter, healthier and more athletic than every before.

    I want you to erase the idea of being too big and bulky out of your mind right now!

    Also the endurance running and gaining weight aren't that compatible to be honest. But like I said there's no reason you can't be bigger AND healthier/more athletic.

    Anyways:
    Here is your new routine:
    http://www.wannabebig.com/printarticle.php?articleid=25

    Look up any exercises you dont understand here:
    http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html

    Track your diet on:
    http://www.fitday.com

  8. #7
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    thanks for the replies everyone.

    Chris686- Yeah, thats why I'm starting to think I'm a easy gainer. 5 lbs is pretty good considering my diet didn't change much and all the running/cycling. I read somewhere that 12 reps is a good balance for strength/hypertrophy/endurance gains, is that wrong? I guess the theory behind not lifting heavy for distance runners is that it tears down aerobic enzymes and will make bigger muscle gains and of course bigger weight gains.

    bjohnso- Yeah I guess that doesn't make much sense gaining strength without muscle mass or does it. Why is it I see these power lifters at the gym whom appear just as slim as myself(yet ripped)lifting like 4x their body weight while some of the huge dudes can't lifting as much. Sometimes I will even see some pretty scrony looking guys lifting some pretty heavy weight, even more than the big gyus.
    I will accecpt some weight for added muscle but I'm looking for strength in greater porportain to size. Is this possible to make strength gains with little mass gains?

    Davidelmo- "But like I said there's no reason you can't be bigger AND healthier/more athletic."

    I think thats what I'm after. Perhaps 15-20 lbs will not effect my race times too much and I still won't be considered overweight for my size. But it's not just 15-20 lbs of good, healthy looking muscle I'm after. It's increased strength. Man, I swear I am the weakest person ever to join my gym. My legs are strong but thats about it.

  9. #8
    rampage don't squat bloodninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris686 View Post

    And I don't see why lower reps (Though I don't consider 12 low by any means) would hurt endurance. Have you asked them why?
    They just assume that he'll blow up and have a lot of extra muscle to carry around. There's some truth to that, marathon runners are sticks for a reason.

  10. #9
    ANVIL POWER Detard's Avatar
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    the only way you'll get big and bulky is if u want to.
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  11. #10
    Eat Chicken Chris686's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bloodninja View Post
    They just assume that he'll blow up and have a lot of extra muscle to carry around. There's some truth to that, marathon runners are sticks for a reason.
    Marathon runners are sticks because they run marathons.

    But I do see what you're saying.

    However, I think everyone here can agree a marathon runner isn't going to put on enough muscle mass to lose overall stamina. It would require crazy amounts of food.

    -TC
    Yes, that's a good balance between stamina, hypertrophy, and strength.
    12 reps is probably the maximum that most people here would ever do though. In your situation though, I think it makes sense to use that rep range.
    Forever Goal: Strength

    Weightlifting sucks. I just like to lift heavy things.

  12. #11
    Just watch me ... Built's Avatar
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    I'm curious why you'd think the 12-rep range would be appropriate - he's doing the super high-rep stuff when he runs. Wouldn't a rep-range more in line with strength be more appropriate than one more dialled in for hypertrophy?

    To the OP - no matter what rep range you use, you can't "get bulky" unless you eat more than you need to maintain.

    It's funny how that works.


  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumbo11103 View Post
    thanks for the replies everyone.

    Chris686- Yeah, thats why I'm starting to think I'm a easy gainer. 5 lbs is pretty good considering my diet didn't change much and all the running/cycling. I read somewhere that 12 reps is a good balance for strength/hypertrophy/endurance gains, is that wrong? I guess the theory behind not lifting heavy for distance runners is that it tears down aerobic enzymes and will make bigger muscle gains and of course bigger weight gains.
    Honestly, in your current situation you dont need to be worrying about rep ranges. To be honest it doesn't make a huge difference anyway. Either way you cause damage to your muscles and then feed them to make them bigger and stronger. Whether or not you used 6 or 12 reps really makes very little difference.

    Also sorry if this bursts your bubble but I very much doubt you gained 5lbs of muscle. That is a few months work for most people. 5lb could be anything - fat/water/muscle. Some peoples weight fluctuates that much depending on what time of the day they weigh themselves.

    bjohnso- Yeah I guess that doesn't make much sense gaining strength without muscle mass or does it. Why is it I see these power lifters at the gym whom appear just as slim as myself(yet ripped)lifting like 4x their body weight while some of the huge dudes can't lifting as much. Sometimes I will even see some pretty scrony looking guys lifting some pretty heavy weight, even more than the big gyus.
    I will accecpt some weight for added muscle but I'm looking for strength in greater porportain to size. Is this possible to make strength gains with little mass gains?
    Those guys are usually gifted to be naturally strong or they have spent several years training. Usually the guys moving big weights will be big guys. The skinny but freakish strong guys aren't that common. That's why they have weightclasses for powerlifting. A 140lb guy will rarely be stronger than a 200lb guy.

    You CAN work on your strength without gaining size if you wanted to. That's all down to diet. If you dont eat enough, you won't grow. Simple as that.

    Davidelmo- "But like I said there's no reason you can't be bigger AND healthier/more athletic."

    I think thats what I'm after. Perhaps 15-20 lbs will not effect my race times too much and I still won't be considered overweight for my size. But it's not just 15-20 lbs of good, healthy looking muscle I'm after. It's increased strength. Man, I swear I am the weakest person ever to join my gym. My legs are strong but thats about it.
    That 15-20lb of muscle would also make you much stronger. Strength really boils down to two things:
    The number of muscle fibres - ie how much muscle/ how many contractile fibres you have
    How well you recruit them - how many you can fire at once. That's how you get guys with less muscle who lift more. If they have 50lb of muscle but use 100% of it at once they would be stronger than a big guy with 100lbs who only uses 25%. Get it?

    Like I said, trust me, you're NOT going to get anywhere near big any time soon. It takes YEARS of bloody hard work. You want to improve your strength? Lift heavy weights and start to eat more - it's as simple as that.

  14. #13
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    Thanks for the replies everyone! So than it really boils down to what I eat. This can be hard to monitor because some days(long run) I need to eat everything in sight, while lighter workout days I concentrate on carbo loading so again I'm eating everything in sight. I guess in my case I would have to drop some of my cardio activity to make gains or concentrate on eating even more. I think I'll go with the latter.

    I'm going to stick with the 12 rep range for a bit to see what happens. Can anyone critique my routine that I posted in my seconed post? I will be doing 2-3 sets 2x per week of that. With limited time in the gym it's just something I came up with to target my whole body. I like the routines here on this site but they will take up 3 days and more time per week.

    thanks

  15. #14
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    If you're only working out twice a week you should make it more challenging.

    Nothing wrong with full body workouts twice a week - you just might want to increase the volume over what you're doing.

    A better full body would be:
    Bench
    Squat
    Bent over row
    Stiff-leg deadlift
    Calves
    Overhead presses

    Upright rows are bad for your rotator cuffs - you dont want to injure yourself. Overhead presses are better.

    As a runner your lats and hamstrings and whole posterior chain are very important. Stiff-leg deadlifts will hit them better than leg curls, once you've figured out how to do them properly.

    Consider adding good mornings if you have enough energy.

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davidelmo View Post
    If you're only working out twice a week you should make it more challenging.

    Nothing wrong with full body workouts twice a week - you just might want to increase the volume over what you're doing.

    A better full body would be:
    Bench
    Squat
    Bent over row
    Stiff-leg deadlift
    Calves
    Overhead presses

    Upright rows are bad for your rotator cuffs - you dont want to injure yourself. Overhead presses are better.

    As a runner your lats and hamstrings and whole posterior chain are very important. Stiff-leg deadlifts will hit them better than leg curls, once you've figured out how to do them properly.

    Consider adding good mornings if you have enough energy.
    Yeah I plan on adding as time goes on. It's hard fitting it in between long runs and interval sessions. I can't be too fatigued from weight lifting that it's gonna drag down my runs. I'm slowly adapting to lifting weights, at first I was really breaking down but as I got used to it it actually feels good. I tried good mornings and SL dead lifts and they just killed back, I'm sure I wasn't doing it right. I was thinking about switching the upright rows for DB military press and Lat pull downs instead of the rows. I didn't think good mornings/SL dead lifts did anything for your Lats.

  17. #16
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    Sorry I didn't make it 100% clear- the SLDLs are for your hamstrings and the GMs are for hamstrings, spinal erectors.. in fact your whole posterior chain.

    Personally I prefer bent over rows to pulldowns, but it's up to you.

  18. #17
    Eat Chicken Chris686's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Built View Post
    I'm curious why you'd think the 12-rep range would be appropriate - he's doing the super high-rep stuff when he runs. Wouldn't a rep-range more in line with strength be more appropriate than one more dialled in for hypertrophy?
    Well, he basically said he was more interested in a good physique than anything if that answers your question.
    Last edited by Chris686; 12-10-2006 at 04:36 PM.
    Forever Goal: Strength

    Weightlifting sucks. I just like to lift heavy things.

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