Top 5 Exercise Myths

With a subject like fitness where there are lots of “experts”, but not many experts, there will always be a lot of disagreement about what’s right and what’s wrong.  There are so many myths about exercise and fitness – what works, what doesn’t, what happens – thatit can be really confusing.

Here’s 5 of the biggest exercise myths that have definitely been debunked:

Sit-ups / Crunches Get rid of Belly Fat

They don’t.  They help to condition and tone the underlying muscles, and they may help to give you a flatter stomach through tightening the area, however they’ll have a negligible impact on any subcutaneous fat.  To get rid of that, you need to eat a more sensible diet.

Steady Cardio Work is the Best Way to lose Weight

Lots of people think that running for miles on end is the best way to lose weight.  It isn’t if you want to lose weight through running, you need to smash out sprints like they’re going out of fashion.  Fartlek Running is much more efficient at helping you burn calories than just a steady pace.

Running on a Treadmill is Safer for Your Knees than Running on a Road

Ultimately, damage to your knees when running is done by your body weight crashing down through a joint many times over a period of time.  That’s going to happen whether you’re on the road or a treadmill.

Women Build Muscle Bulk if they Lift Heavy Weights

Without taking massive amounts of testosterone and vast protein supplements, women don’t get big just by lifting weights.  This misconception often means that women use 1KG weights in the gym for resistance for fear of becoming masculine.  Don’t worry, life weights that challenge you and you’ll get a better impact.

Stretching Before a Workout Prevents Injury

Actually, if the first thing you do when you walk into a gym is some extreme stretches, things are going to get bad pretty quickly.  If anything, stretching before you work out is going to do more harm than good.  What you should be doing is:

  • Warm up
  • Stretch
  • Lift
  • Stretch
  • Cool Down

Missing out on any of those steps is what increases your risk of injury.

Any More

What are your favourite (or least favourite) fitness myths?  Tell us below.

Press Ups

Press ups are the staple of any fitness plan, and a great way to build strength and definition in your upper body.  Good form is important in maximising impact and there are numerous different press up variations that you can do as you develop your strength to ensure that you are continually challenged.

Muscle Groups Worked by Press Ups

Press Ups or Push Ups

Standard press ups

Depending on the technique that you use, your press ups can impact on a variety of different areas of your chest and arms.  The core areas worked in a push up routine are your triceps (the muscles at the back of your upper arms) and your pecs (the muscles across your chest). Additionally, you work out the muscles through your core back and shoulders too by holding your body straight.

Basic Form Guide for Press Ups

Regardless of the kind of push ups that you want to do and your level of fitness, you should focus on a smooth, controlled action and move slowly through the downwards phase before pushing back up hard.   Each repetition should take around 3 seconds, with 2 spent on the downward part and one on the upwards part, as this is where you expend the most energy.

At the top of the exercise, your arms should be completely straight and at the bottom of the exercise, your chest should be just about touching the floor.  Keep your back straight throughout the whole exercise, and your abdominals tight so that you give yourself the best possible form.

When you’re at the point when you cannot fully straighten your arms, try to push out one final full repetition rather than shortening the action, as this will not benefit your muscles through the full range of their movement.

The wider you spread your arms, the more emphasis you put on your chest rather than your arms.  A narrow stance will concentrate effort on your triceps, while a wider stance will apply more effort through your pecs.  Over a work-out session, you might want to use different variations to balance the areas that you work.

As you develop your fitness routines with vytalz, you’ll naturally extend the amount of time you spend on each exercise, so the number of press ups you can manage will increase.  As a rule of thumb, if you’re keeping a good steady pace and maintaining form, you’ll be doing around 10 reps in a 30 second work-out session, and 15 when you move up to 45 seconds.

Harder Press-ups

The amount of weight that you push with each press up can be controlled by your resting body position.  Novices will probably want to start on hands and knees which mean that you’re only pushing about half your body weight.

It’s also possible to do inclined press ups using the edge of a table, but make sure that the table is stable so it doesn’t flip over when you put your weight on it.

As your strength increases, you’ll have no problem doing regular press ups where your feet are on the ground and you lift a high percentage of your body weight.

Lifting your feet off the ground on a step will mean that you have to lift more weight off the ground, which means more effort, and better results.  The higher you lift your legs, the more intense you will make the exercise, but make sure that you keep things stable and comfortable, as too high an angle can be dangerous, and finishing the exercise can be trickier.

Press ups are a core part of the Vytalz Training plan.  Join now to see more.