True or False?
by Jeff Everson (1982)
1.) Working on the preacher bench correctly and selectively develops the lower biceps.
FALSE – What is being stressed here is the brachialis muscle because of its origin and insertion and the resultant angle of pull upon the muscle. Motor unit firing and subsequent muscle innervation is contiguous which, simply put, means you cannot selectively stimulate the lower biceps over the upper biceps. This is pure rubbish. The strain felt in the crook of the arm while doing preacher curls is due to the stress upon the brachialis muscle and the bicep short head, not the lower bicep.
2.) Doing heavy cheat E-Z curls will be more effective in building the mass of the arm flexors as opposed to strict, heavy concentration curls.
FALSE – Why should it be? Granted, you use a heavier weight, but doing so might involve more synergistic muscle use, whereas heavy concentration curls isolate the elbow flexors and this is what is important for size and strength. Remember, though, this is heavy, strict concentration curling, not light dumbell cramping.
3.) Use of the straight bar is more effective than the E-Z curl bar for building mass in the collective elbow flexors.
FALSE – Basmajian, the great muscle researcher, has shown by use of intricate EMG that the collective strength of the elbow flexors is greatest when the hand is in midposition (such as in the use of the E-Z bar). Do not confuse this with building the biceps itself which is a different story and might respond better to the straight bar.
4.) Training with heavy weights is the best way to convert red or slow twitch muscle fibers to fast white muscle fibers.
FALSE – You cannot convert one fiber into another type. You can change some metabolic characteristics of some intermediate type fibers and hypertrophy the white fibers but never convert them.
5.) To build total muscle mass it is necessary to train with the heaviest weights possible at all times.
FALSE – Training with heavy weights primarily builds the muscle fibers but not the whole muscle mass which includes the sarcoplasmic proteins and connective tissue. Actually, to build total mass it is best to use heavy weights frequently and moderate weights frequently for the pumping effect that stimulates sarcoplasmic constituents and the myofibrils.
6.) One set to absolute failure is probably enough to stimulate maximum size and strength.
PROBABLY FALSE – There has been no published research to verify this, yet there has been research to verify that multiple sets of varying reps build size and strength.
7.) Negative work is more effective than positive in producing strength gains.
FALSE – Let me ask you, would you rather walk up a flight of 20 stairs or walk down a 20 flights of stairs? Positive work has been shown to involve more motor units and create greater changes in internal muscle temperature. Most of the research indicates that there are no additional conditioning benefits from negative training.
8.) Forced reps have been shown to be very effective in stimulating size and strength.
FALSE – Shown by who? There has been no published research on forced reps. When the muscle system fails, it fails. You cannot stimulate additional growth by forcing reps (except in the spotter). And you wonder why you see all these skinny guys doing negatives and forced reps until they’re blue in the face.
9.) Volume work as well as intensity work is important in building total muscle size.
TRUE – You think not? Then how do you explain the following: the Olympic skater, Eric Heiden’s thighs, pro football player Mike Webster’s thighs, every high school wrestler’s abdominals and Phil Grippaldi’s biceps? Please let me explain. I mentioned earlier that intensity work tends to build muscle fiber size and volume work tends to develop sarcoplasmic proteins. Both are important for muscle size. Eric Heiden gets on the leg press and does sets of 100, not 10 or 20. His thighs are massive. He skates in a bent over position, not for seconds, or minutes, but for hours. When Mike Webster, the all-pro center for Pittsburgh, was in high school he would do leg extensions on the Universal Gym at every weight setting for 10 reps, one right after another, every morning and evening. His lower quadriceps make Tim Belknap’s look small. Ever notice how most wrestlers show such well developed abdominals? That’s because they stress their abs every day! Remember Phil Grippaldi, the great American Olympic lifter who had twenty-inch arms at age 18? You know how he developed them? He did curls and set after set of heavy presses every day. What do these examples show? They show that you can get a lot of size doing volume work, provided it is heavy enough to cause a sufficient overload response.
10.) The pullover machines in which the resistance is directed against the back of the arms isolates the latissimus totally, by removing the triceps and other muscles.
FALSE – By the very nature of this movement the long head of the triceps are activated strongly since they contract in extension of the shoulder joint beyond midline. Also involved are the serratus and pectoralis, as well as the rectus abdominus.
11.) The bench press actually does little for pec development since it’s approximately a 75% deltoid exercise.
FALSE – The stress from this exercise is totally dependent upon the position of the elbows. With the elbows out, the pecs are more involved; with the elbows in, there is more triceps and deltoid involvement.
12.) Weight training is better for weight control than jogging.
TRUE – Weight training builds muscle mass. Jogging does not. Fat is inert metabolically requiring no caloric demand. Muscle has a higher metabolic demand. Therefore, you will burn or require more calories through the day, at rest, when you are more muscular. People overlook this even though on an equal time basis, jogging burns more calories than weight training. Did you ever wonder why some experienced joggers look fat?
13.) Taking in extra protein (enough to stimulate weight gains) will increase your training lifts.
TRUE – Every lifter knows that when they gain weight their lifts increase. But you would probably get the same effect from consuming extra carbs and fats! The old adage that muscle lifts weight and excess fat doesn’t is applied out of context because external and intramuscular energy can’t be ignored. For instance, every powerlifter knows that a big gut would increase their squat. However, extra protein isn’t generally required to build extra muscle mass.
14.) Bodybuilders should eat foods that contain proteins and fats to the exclusion of foods that contain protein and sugar.
FALSE – Why on earth should they? Fats yield more calories than sugars and you don’t need much dietary fat since it’s laden in so many foods. Bodybuilders have been totally brainwashed on sugars. For instance, eat an orange and you get a mouthful of glucose and fructose. Together they equal sucrose. This doesn’t mean you should eat table sugar on your foods or load on junk food. Keep in mind that calories are important. Ten medium apples equal the calories in a cup of roasted peanuts!
15.) To enlarge and thicken the abdominals higher reps should be used.
FALSE – To thicken and build muscle size use heavier weights with lower reps.
16.) Muscle soreness is typically due to the spilling out of lactic acid in the blood stream. Unless this soreness takes place your previous workout was probably unproductive.
FALSE – Residual soreness is best described by an excess of connective tissue enzyme, hydroxyproline. While it can occur, muscle soreness does not always follow a hard workout.
17.) Losing weight is a simple matter of taking in less calories than you expend.
TRUE – Unless you are taking significant amounts of steroid. Then your electrolyte balance is changed, you retain water and your calorie equivalence must be adjusted downward.
18.) Carbohydrates should be cut drastically the last week prior to competition.
FALSE – Personally, the last week the only foods I eat carbohydrates! I stop almost all protein since they do nothing for energy and you are neither going to lose nor gain true muscle size in one week, but keeping the calories low and consuming carbs will keep your precious energy high. If you eat small enough quantities of carbs you won’t retain water either.
19.) Serious lifters should never eat the following foods: cakes, ice cream, white bread or commercial sweets. If Norman Zale were writing this he would say true, but I say
FALSE – Let’s be realistic. In the long run you will be a much happier and thus more successful lifter if you are satiated mentally and physically. Life is entirely too short to be taken so seriously that you make an enormous event out of consuming the occasional ice cream cone or Milky Way bar.