Top 10 Misconceptions Made By Athletes
1.) Agility ladders can make you faster- Agility or “Speed” ladders are a tool that some coaches and trainers use to better help with feet work and quickness. Although there might be a small truth to this, the fact is the only real benefit to a ladder is for proprioception training. Getting the feet to work with the brain and help with coordination. It is also a decent tool for warmups. If a coach or trainer says that a ladder will make you faster, run the other direction! Plyometrics & Olympic Lifts are what make you faster.
2.) Lifting weights will make you slower– There is a misconception that lifting weights will make you stiff and slow. Some athletes such as basketball players and track runners will shy away from weight lifting because gaining muscle might not let them jump as high or fun as fast. This is the complete opposite. ALL athletes need to include weight lifting into their program in order to strengthen muscles that would otherwise not be worked during their practice. Focus on single leg exercise to make you a more complete athlete.
3.) (Females) Lifting weights will make me look like a guy– Almost every female athlete I train is afraid of getting big muscles and looking like a guy. The truth is that males & females have very different types of hormones. Most women out there can’t look like a male even if she wanted too. We are genetically different. So ladies, if you play sports please lift weights, it will make you a better athlete and there is no chance of you looking anything like a guy!
4.) Doing bench press shows overall strength- The holy trinity of weight lifting. The forsaken question, “How much do you bench?” This has to be the most overrated question at any gym. My answer, “Who cares!” The bench press is only a small piece of the pie when it comes to athlete training. There are far more important aspects of training that have much more functionality and carry over to the field then a bench press. I would much rather want to know how much can you deadlift, single leg squat or run a 300 yard shuttle in. Don’t get caught up in the sexy exercises and start focusing on the functional movements and athletic movements.
5.) Arm curls mean something- Arm curls have to be top of the list for the most non-functional exercise ever. The only sport I can think of where this might have any type of significance would be in MMA where head locks are needed. If you want to get stronger biceps do chin-ups. That way you are using other muscles together instead of isolating them. Arm curls are for body builders not athletes!
6.) Stretching isn’t necessary- I think stretching is the number one most underutilized part of an athletic program. Dynamic stretching is part of any good movement prep program. Athletes need to foam roll, stretch and activate the muscles to prime them for the workout ahead. This lengthens the muscles, increases muscle temperature which allows them to stretch and it just makes the athlete feel looser. Do not skip warmups and make sure you perform them with perfect form. Stretching properly can decrease your risk of injury.
7.) Being strong & moving well are different- This misconception is big for lots of high school kids. They pick up their favorite issue of Flex or whatever bodybuilding magazine is out there. Most athletes want to be big and do lots of bench press and arm curls. NEVER take advice from ex-bodybuilders. They are lifting to get big period, athletes are lifting to get better at their sport. These are two different methods. Perform mostly compound movements that work multiple muscles and joints. When we run and jump we use multiple joints…why not train like that?
8.) Nutrition isn’t that important- A big problem with high school athletes is their daily eating regimen. Most kids skip breakfast, eat snacks for lunch, workout after school then eat McDonalds for dinner. Athletes need to eat something for breakfast to jump start their day. Eat some oatmeal or whole grain cereal with fruit. For lunch, look for balance in food groups. Make sure eat a source of protein, a vegetable and a piece of fruit. Think the same thing for dinner as well. In between meals throw in some snack such as fruits, nuts, protein/fiber bars, protein shakes, yogurt, etc. You need to eat and eat good to be at your peak during workouts and during your games.
9.) Running long distances will help your cardio for your sport- Cardio is an aspect of training that all sports have in common but cardio differs from sport to sport. Cardio is different from football which has very short (about 6 sec.) burst of speed compared to MMA fighting in which rounds last 5 minutes. So if your sport requires short quick bursts why are you jogging for 3 miles? Train for your sport and cardiovascular demand. If you are a long distance runner, train for long distances, if you are a football player then train by doing short quick intervals with short rest periods.
10.) Technique isn’t that important as long as you can get the weight up- The number one rule when lifting weights- never get up technique for weight. Always start slow and work your way up to heavier weight. Lift within your mean and take your time. If you feel that the weight is too heavy or that it is slipping, stop and take off some weight. The easiest way to hurt yourself is to use too much weight and your form is compromised.