Mar 20, 2002

Myth Debunking 101

March 20 “Excuses are no good. Your friends don't need them and your enemies won't believe them. So why make them?" -Jake Gaither, Legendary Florida A&M Football Coach



As mentioned before we would like to re-cap several of the speakers from the 2002 National Strength & Science Seminar. Dr. James Peterson, who currently works as a sports medicine consultant out of Arizona, was formerly responsible for strength training at West Point in the 1970's. Dr. Peterson encouraged us to go home and thank our parents for
helping the U.S. Government research one of the most significant strength development studies ever. He based his claim on the fact that West Point provided him with the most efficient control group available.

Dr. Peterson opened his talk with a Clinton joke... Which obviously turned off some of our liberal friends in attendance but it was funny! "Bill Clinton had to get a physical... few people know this but he is hard of hearing so Hillary went with him to translate for the doctor... The doctor said, "We're going to need a urine, stool, and semen sample." Bill turned to Hillary, "What?" Hillary replied, "He needs to see your underwear."

Dr. Peterson, in a very light hearted, yet at times very compelling and passionate address gave us several "Myths of Strength Training."

Myth #1 Strength training will make muscles bigger.

Fact Each individual is different... but chances are if a man is abnormally large he is supplementing his natural chemicals.

Myth #2 More is better.
Fact Research shows that multiple set routines are not more effective in developing strength than single set routines.

Myth #3 Strength training is a contest.
Fact It should be approached by athletes to get better themselves, not Bubba or the girl working out across the gym.

Myth #4 Protein will enhance muscle development.
Fact No matter what "Cool Name" the bottle has, MegaProtien, Muscle-Tien, etc... He went on to emphasize steroid education. "When you try to educate kids about steroids don't tell them about death. Tell them about girls sounding like Johnny Cash and boys that their rocket launcher will turn into a starters pistol!"

Myth #5 Women can't lift weights.
Fact What is good for the goose is good for the gander... or something like that. Women should not do push-ups off their knees for example. FYI- Dr. Patterson's studies found that women were better than men in some areas such as balance.

Myth #6 Celebrities know everything about strength training.
Fact Avoid gimmicks.

Myth #7 Osteoporosis can not be avoided in women & the aging process in inevitable.
Fact Strength training can greatly reduce the deterioration of the bones. Not that he was elderly, but for an older gentleman Dr. Peterson was obviously not hindered by age.

Myth #8 Mind don't matter.
Fact Mental toughness is imperative for proper strength development. John Thomas, Penn State's Head Strength Coach gave an example of how important training the mind is for his program. Obviously training football players to run long distance will not improve their on-field performance. However, training the mind to overcome pain in distance running has a great effect on their self-confidence and translates to strong mental performances in the weight room. (More on John Thomas and the Penn State program in a future issue.)

Myth #9 Re-hab injuries with isolated joint exercises.
Fact In order to re-hab an injury one should strengthen the entire area but most importantly is the muscle opposite the injury.

Myth #10 Knee injuries should be re-habed on an exercise bike.
Fact The bike will only work to re-hab the quad not the hamstring.

Myth #11 Training has to be expensive, time consuming, and complex.
Fact A coach can make a weight facility a priority and seek out avenues of fiscal integrity and programs that are efficient and simple.

Myth #12 Strength training will make you "muscle-bound".
Fact Proper training will make you more flexible if you use a full range of motion.

Myth #13 You gotta make noise to be intense.
Fact Whatever works for you but intensity should be thought of as the ability to fully exhaust the muscle.

Myth #14 That there is a free lunch in some training programs.
Fact To get stronger you have to WORK plain and simple.

Arthur Jones was a great influence on Dr. Peterson. "He taught me to challenge everything and not to take anything for face value." At the time many universities were beginning to see the benefits of strength training for their teams. These coaches were going to the only people in the world who were lifting weights at the time... Olympic Lifters. So, logically these coaches took these techniques to their teams and their athletes got stronger. However that is not hard to do when one goes from doing no strength training to anything, including Olympic lifts. Jones however challenged that idea with the concept of training the muscle to failure... following the principle of fiber recruitment to make athletes quicker... and employing a safer environment for training athletes.

Now, the science of strength development has come a long way since Jones hit the scene however his "Challenging of the System" is what remains important. Coaches, StrongerAthletes.com strongly encourages you to find out why you teach the things you do in the weight room. Know the reasons and be confident in your approach regardless if you follow Olympic, Non-Olympic, or even the dreaded Swiss Ball training.

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