By GINA KOLATA
Published: September 19, 2011
The trained bicyclists thought they had ridden as fast as they possibly could. But Kevin Thompson, head of sport and exercise science at Northumbrian University in England, wondered if they go could even faster.
So, in an unusual experiment, he tricked them.
In their laboratory, Dr. Thompson and his assistant Mark Stone had had the cyclists pedal as hard as they could on a stationary bicycle for the equivalent of 4,000 meters, about 2.5 miles. After they had done this on several occasions, the cyclists thought they knew what their limits were.
Then Dr. Thompson asked the cyclists to race against an avatar, a figure of a cyclist on a computer screen in front them. Each rider was shown two avatars. One was himself, moving along a virtual course at the rate he was actually pedaling the stationary bicycle. The other figure was moving at the pace of the cyclist’s own best effort — or so the cyclists were told.
In fact, the second avatar was programmed to ride faster than the cyclist ever had — using 2 percent more power, which translates into a 1 percent increase in speed.
By Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men’s Health
Quick! Let’s free associate. Complete this sentence:
_ SETS OF _ REPS.
Did you answer 3 and 10? Of course you did. It’s the Pavlovian response. After all, anyone who’s ever picked up a dumbbell knows that doing 3 sets of 10 reps of each exercise is the quickest way to build muscle.
Except it’s not. In fact, it’s the quickest way to get nowhere with your workout routine, says Michael Mejia, C.S.C.S., a long-time Men’s Health fitness advisor.
Truth is, today’s most sacred exercise guidelines originated in the ’40s and ’50s, a time when castration was a cutting-edge treatment for prostate cancer, and endurance exercise was thought to be harmful to women. Worse, so-called fitness experts across the country are still spewing these same old conventional wisdoms, despite plenty of research indicating that they (the experts and the wisdoms) aren’t wise at all.
Chances are, these are the rules you exercise by right now. And that means your workout is long past due for a 21st-century overhaul. We asked Mejia to do just that. Here are the five muscles myths he most commonly hears. Hopefully, we’re about to bust them for good.
MYTH #1: DO 8 TO 12 REPETITIONS
The claim: It’s the optimal repetition range for building muscle.
Askmen.com puts your knowledge to the test and walks us through the top ten misconceptions of fitness.
No.10 Static Stretching Decreases Risk Of Injury
If people warm-up at all, they usually static stretch. Static stretching immediately before exercise can cause performance decrements; it can also increase your risk of injury. Stretching can also cause a short-term decrease in musculotendinous stiffness. If joints are relying on this stiffness for force production or stability, this decrease can lead to undesired joint movements and eventually cause injury. This is especially true in runners who do the standard calves and hamstrings stretches outside, and go immediately into their run.
There is research demonstrating that runners who static stretch immediately before they run actually suffer more injuries than those who don’t. Dynamic warm-ups with joint mobility and muscle activation exercises will improve your range of motion while promoting muscular control. This gives you the best chance to move efficiently and avoid injury.
To learn the other 9 myths: http://www.askmen.com/top_10/fitness/top-10-fitness-myths_10.html