You Have to Deadlift to Be Strong… and Other Workout Lies

No, this isn’t one of those “The Seven Exercises You Should Never Do” articles. Unless you’ve been living under a rock when it comes to workouts, you’ve heard or read some brolific BS spewed about what you have to do and what you should never do. Some pieces of advice go completely into broscience and other pieces seem relevant because of “scientific studies.” The problem is just because something is science doesn’t make it good science and just because “my bro knows a bro that does it and he’s hooooge” doesn’t mean it’s safe or actually the cause.

You need to consume protein immediately after training/carbs before training / 6 meals per day/nothing after 8 pm.

Pick your poison of semi-relevant but definitely not the gospel of dieting misinformation. It doesn’t matter which friend of a friend swears by some harebrained idea. Nobody cares (or at least nobody should care) about what Dr. Oz is coming up with next.The science just isn’t there for meal timing, so the whole pre,

The science just isn’t there for meal timing, so the whole pre, intra, post-workout dietary suggestions are great, but won’t make much of a difference. As one acquaintance¬†says frequently, “it’s not what you do some of the time, it’s what you do most of the time.” If you overeat, it won’t matter how finely tuned your meals are. If you undereat, it won’t matter how hard you train. For the majority of us, I included, it matters more about what I do the other 21 hours of the day than the three hours surrounding my training.

In more than a few studies, there is science that shows meal frequency means jack squat. More meals don’t create an increased TEF just like fewer meals didn’t create a crashed metabolism. And right along with the number of meals is the idiocy of not eating after a certain time. Repeat after me: it’s about calories, not when I eat it. Unless you have a problem with self-control if you eat after a certain time, it won’t matter in the long run if you eat 3000 calories spaced out through the day or in a 6 hour window between 4 pm and 10 pm. 3000 calories is 3000 calories. *the exception can be seen in people with very low bodyfat and high-performance athletes*

A six-pack is the sign of a strong core.

First, your core isn’t just your abs. Second, your “abs” aren’t just training and diet. When somebody fawns over the six pack model, they’re drooling over the top layer of abdominal muscles, the transverse. The core is mainly composed of the Transverse Abdominus, Multifidus, Internal and External Obliques, Psoas, Erector Spinae, and the “six-pack” Rectus Abdominus.

A six-pack relies on genetics. There is no magic bodyfat percentage to obtain visible abs. Some people will have abs visible at a higher bodyfat percentage while others can be super-lean and still have no sign of visible abs. Combined with proper training and diet, you can increase your chance of visible abs, but with certain genetics, you may need to work that much harder.

You have to squat/bench/deadlift to be strong.

There’s no doubt, someone will tell you that you need to do the “Big 3” if you’re going to be strong. Something-something ultimate measure of strength something-something. And I call bullshit. You don’t need to any of them with a bar to be strong, build muscle, become a monster, or any other strength lie.

Unless you are competing in some form of strength sport that requires maximal strength exertion under similar conditions or working a job that has you picking up uniformly shaped and balanced weight on a handle, you don’t need to train them.

And yes, I hear you all calling me a heretic.

Total Body Workouts don’t work.

Seriously?! I still see this get thrown around. Unless you are training with the idea of being a bodybuilder / physique athlete, there is no need to spend an hour a day training a body part. If your goal is general health and being better at life’s movements, you need to be able to do 5 basic things.

  1. Squat – self-explanatory
  2. Hip Hinge – bending at the waist
  3. Carry – pick something up and walk with it
  4. Push – pressing, preferably overhead
  5. Pull – rowing

If you can do these 5 basic things and do them 3-4 times per week with a good level of intensity, you can build a pretty good body. Look at some of the best-known programs: Bill Starr’s 5×5, Starting Strength, Arnold’s Total Body (yes, Arnold did total body workouts).

You shouldn’t do “X” if you can’t do “Y”.

With few exceptions, there are few lifts that a person needs to have a prerequisite level of strength in another lift before attempting. There’s no magic number of reps or no set weight a person should be able to do. From an injury prevention standpoint, body control and mobility are more important than being able to do an arbitrary number of reps with an arbitrary weight. For a short list of exercises that matter: any form of a momentum based pull-up. Yeah, that’s all I could think of because everything else can be done with lighter weight or with a regression that makes it possible to learn and progress.