Image source: ornl.org
It’s obvious, but I just had to mention it. For the uninformed, uneducated and incompetent exercise-health-fitness goer’ the internet is darn confusing.
Before I go any further – please don’t misconstrue my use of descriptive words (uneducated & incompetent). I am simply referring to the ‘laymen’ who is interested in learning more about health/exercise/fitness for themselves. As you know, most of society is still ‘in the dark’ when it comes to anything health & fitness related – as evidenced by the obesity epidemic.
Here is why it’s so confusing. The internet seems to be "speaking out of both sides of their mouth" (sorry had to used that). The conflicting advice out there on anything and everything can drive a person mad. I won’t even try to list them all.
I’ll just take one simple example.
The pull-up. Yes the run-of-the-mill basic bodyweight exercise. You grab a bar at an elevated height, grasp the bar with an over-hand grip and you ‘pull’ yourself up until your chin reaches and goes above the bar. Some can call this the ‘chin-up’.
Unfortunately there is debate on just the naming of the exercise let alone the proper technique for completing the exercise. Pull-up or chin-up? Pull-up usually implies an exercise focusing on the muscles of your back, and chin-up usually focuses on the muscles of your anterior upper arm (biceps). But far be it from me to tell you what is right or wrong. I myself use pull up for the back/shoulder description and chin-up for the bicep description – but there are variations and overlapping areas that are ‘worked’ in both exercises.
So the point I’m trying to make: quite some time ago I read a couple blog articles and discussion forum posts on not ‘cheating’ during this exercise. Do not swing, do not kip (I’ll let you Google that word). The basic principle is to not deprive yourself and your body the full effect of the workout. Don’t worry about how many you can do, worry about the quality of each one.
I agreed whole heartedly with this concept. Eliminate the cheat and you will benefit the most from the work you put into the exercise. Gravity, swinging and body motion are great if you want to show off how ‘many’ you can do, but it does diddly for increasing the strength of your body and the muscles involved. The gains you make with good form outweigh and out-perform anything else on the market.
Just recently I read ‘other’ sources that are now promoting you use the kip? They want you to swing? Granted they emphasize only a subtle kip, but they still want you to ‘cheat’. They are promoting the idea of getting more ‘reps’ as opposed to the quality of those reps.
Now, I’m speaking for the ‘laymen’ out there. How do they know what is right or wrong? How do they know when someone is feeding them a line of ‘bull’ (or trying to sell them something)? How do they know what is accurate?
I only hope that the ‘laymen’ out there do their homework. Exercise your right of ‘trial and error’. Find out what is working, and what is not. The hardest part is making the time, putting in the time, and allowing the time to evaluate your progress. Patience is a key ingredient for any successful journey to improved health.
Frustrating, I know. Hang in there.