facts and fallacies by mel siff




This selection is taken from the book Siff M C "Facts and Fallacies of
Fitness", whose contents appear at:
<A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/8682/siff.htm">http://www.geocitie


* People who exercise regularly live longer and more healthily than average
* The fundamental forms of muscle contraction are isotonic, isometric and
* The three types of muscle contraction are concentric, isometric and
* Isotonic exercise is the dominant form of muscle contraction in dynamic
* Isotonic muscle contraction is another name for dynamic muscle contraction
* Isometric exercise is generally a waste of time and tends to slow you down
* Slow movements tend to selectively recruit the slow twitch muscle fibres
* Eccentric training always causes more muscle soreness than concentric
* Muscle tension is always greatest during eccentric contraction
* Heavy eccentric training always tends to cause delayed muscle soreness
* One can lift the greatest loads with eccentric muscle action
* Perfect practice makes perfect
* Stiffness and soreness are caused by lactic acid build-up

* All ballistic movements are potentially harmful
* Never lock the knees completely during any standing exercise
* Avoid all back exercises if your back is sore or injured
* A major cause of heart disease is lack of aerobic exercise
* Aerobic exercise is the most effective form of cardiovascular training
* Cardiovascular exercise is the most effective way of reducing bodyfat
* Aerobic training is excellent for reducing overall stress in the body
* Aerobic exercise is an excellent form of cross training for all sport
* Aerobics classes generally improve overall fitness
* The knees should never project ahead of the toes during any exercises
* It is harmful to lock the knees completely during squatting or aerobics

* Strength training does not play any meaningful role in improving endurance
* Circuit training provides all-round aerobic and anaerobic conditioning
* Strong and large muscles protect the joints better than smaller muscles
* Heavy weight training reduces flexibility and speed
* Heavy resistance training increases your blood pressure
* Heavy weight training makes you bulky
* Light weight training is always safer than heavy weight training
* Each given exercise uses exactly the same muscle groups each time it is
* The weight remains the same in all free weights exercises
* Strict exercises work you more effectively than cheated exercises
* Muscle hypertrophy cannot be produced by few repetitions with heavy weights
* Increasing strength will increase power and speed

* The stomach should be pulled in during situps
* The stomach should be pulled in during all exercises in order to stabilise
the trunk
* It is important to 'keep the back straight' during all exercise
* Supporting the head with the hands during situps reduces neck strain
* It is essential to warm up before all exercise
* Aerobic exercise offers the best way of warming up before training
* Stretching and flexibility exercises are the same
* Stretching always reduces the risk of injury
* Ballistic stretches should never be done
* Static stretches are the safest and most effective form of stretching
* Static stretching during the cool down reduces injury rate
* Stretching should always be done with relaxed muscles
* PNF is a special form of stretching
* Plenty of situps must be done to protect the back

* All types of squat are really much the same
* It is dangerous to lock the knees at the end of a squat or leg press
* Low rep heavy weight training develops strength and little hypertrophy
* Leg curls are the best and safest exercise for developing the hamstrings
* Good mornings are always dangerous for the back
* Seated back extension machines are safer than cleans, deadlifts or prone
* Power cleans should not be done by the average client
* Prone hyperextensions are executed primarily by use of the erector spinae
* Special isolation exercises must be used to rehabilitate the rotator cuff
* Seated resistance exercises are safer than their standing equivalents
* Any form of ballistic bench pressing is dangerous
* Standing heel raises must be done with the knees locked for best calf

* Standing calf raises isolate the gastrocnemius; seated calf raises isolate
the soleus
* Box squats are always dangerous
* Heavy weight training slows you down
* All plyometric exercises are harmful and should never be used in training
* Plyometrics is a method of training which uses jumping , throwing and
* Plyometric training is always necessary to improve speed
* Plyometric exercises play no role in safely improving any form of fitness
* Plyometric depth jumps should be done on a soft surface
* Upper body plyometrics can be done by throwing and catching heavy medicine
* The mathematical computations in periodization make training an exact
* Dumbbell lateral raises above the horizontal are dangerous for the
shoulder joint
* Bicep curls generally isolate and develop the arm biceps
* Lat pulldowns behind the neck are always dangerous
* Very slow resistance training is always safer and more productive
* Single set training is always just as effective as multi-set training
* Hanging from a pullup bar stretches the spine after training

* The most expensive shoes offer the best form of protection for the body
* Aerobic shoes reduce the risk of injury to the body
* Seated leg extension exercises are safer for the knees than squats
* Leg press and hack squat machines place less stress on the back than squats
* Leg curls offer the best form of hamstring training
* Knee rehabilitation is safer and more effective with knee extensions than
* Machine training is inherently safer than free weight training
* Machine exercises train you in the same way as their free weights
* A lifting belt directly supports and protects the back
* Frequent use of a lifting belt weakens the trunk muscles
* Frequent use of joint wraps weakens the muscles
* Elastic band exercise offers an effective alternative to weight training
* Physio or Swiss Ball training is the best way of improving balance