Fitness trends are like April. They come in like a lion, and go out like a lamb. As these trends come and eventually go, only to return like a swinging pendulum in 10 years, there is nothing left behind except a handful of tried and true principals that never go out of style.
Of course there will be plenty of very talented copy writers selling programs based on the buzz of the revolutionary new trend in fitness. It will sound sexy, and it will sound sciency. Like a sexy nerd who is really just the same person from before, only he/she decided to ditch last years wardrobe, throw on some thick rimmed glasses and start a new style. Let's call it chic geek.
Many people will be suckered into these trends, because of the aforementioned chic geek glossiness of the packaging, but you won't be one of them, because you read this. Congratulations, you can continue to make progress by applying the principals that work without constantly side stepping and trying the next and newest craze.
Without further ado, here are three fitness trends that would be in your best interest to ignore.
Movements, Not Muscles
This one isn't particularly new, but it has just enough of a following to have some staying power. Before I get into why you should ignore this, let's attempt to define what this popular phrase means.
When 'they' say movements not muscles, they mean you should train movements, not muscles. Now just how do you manage to train movements without training muscles? Fantastic question! You absolutely can't! However, I've been around long enough to know that what they mean is, you should focus on the movement of the exercise, not the muscle you're training. It can also mean, when designing a program, you should base the design around covering all of the basic movements, instead of covering all of the muscle groups.
Both explanations are weak. If, during an exercise, you are focusing only on moving the weight or your body through space, then you are more than likely worsening some imbalances you already have.
Since we all have some muscular imbalances in our bodies, when we're training, our body doesn't care what muscles we are trying to train, or which muscles theoretically should be working. If you have hyperactive quadriceps, but your glutes aren't working optimally (this is very common among those who do a lot of sitting), your mind doesn't care that you are trying to train your glutes along with your quads. Your mind is going to delegate the work to whoever is going to get it done. In this case, your quads will be rolling up their sleeves and putting in some overtime.
Focusing on your gutes will help activate them, and make sure you are training the muscles you want to train. You can't just move a barbell or some dumbbells around and expect that you will be targeting the muscles you want to target for optimal results.
As far as designing programs goes, if you base it around movements or around muscle groups, at the end of the day both methods will produce a balanced training plan, so it doesn't matter.
Training movements is great, but you better know which muscles need the work, and focus your attention there.
Loaded Movement Training
I know what you're thinking, but no. This isn't Lady Jaye of the GI Joe's preparing to shoot down a Cobra Night Raven out of the sky.
This is actually a woman performing what is being called loaded movement training. You may not have heard of it yet, but you will. It's coming and it's coming with some force.
The basic gist is this: You use that implement shown above, which looks like a lighter version of a strongman log, to add resistance to all kinds of movements. You'll see a lot of movements that resemble lunging, squatting, and bending, but they'll have the added challenge of contorting that instrument around while you do it.
The claim to it's eventual rise to fame? It creates more lines of resistance than traditional barbell and dumbbell training does.
This is true, if you are talking about creating more lines of resistance all at the same time. In one fell swoop you might say. But a sound, well planned barbell and dumbbell focused training plan will cover all planes of movement as well. Maybe not all at the same time (which serves no real advantage), but through the course of a training cycle, all of the planes of movement will be developed.
Since we aren't trying to cover all of these movements at the same time you are able to load the exercises more effectively. This creates better movement, if that is the goal, and it also accelerates strength gain, fat loss, and lean muscle growth, which are all pretty awesome.
If you haven't heard of this trend yet, you will. Feel free to give it a shot if it appeals to you, but that was my 2 cents on the matter.
I really hate to do this. I really, really do.
I love pre-workout supplements. They jack you up, provide you with laser like focus, and dilate your blood vessels for amazing "pumps".
So why are they on the 'ignore list'? Well, if you aren't already using them, don't start.
We know caffeine addiction is a very real thing, and pre-workout supplements are full of it. Not only that but many of these products are full of other questionable ingredients used to fire you up.
It doesn't take long for a dependence on these supplements to develop, and you eventually don't feel right training without them.
Don't get me wrong, they're a very fun supplement, but far from a necessary one. That is of course, unless you make them necessary. Then they become very necessary.
What about those days when you're more tired than usual and you need a little pick-me-up? Just start training, and you'll be into it and focused in no time. Save yourself the hassle and a whole lot of dollars, and just ignore these.
Two of these trends you have no doubt herd of, and one of them I am betting you haven't yet. Regardless of how new, flashy and appealing a new trend is, you can almost bet that it will come and go like most things. In like a lion and out like a lamb.
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