Please note that when I say overrated, I mean just that. These are rated higher than they ought to be in my judgment. That doesn’t mean they aren’t useful at all or don’t have their places.
With that in mind start ruffling some feathers…
This is still seen by far too many as the epitome of fitness. As in I want to get fit so let me set a goal of running a marathon.
Marathon running is better thought of as a sport. Yes, each person ought to be able to run a few miles without undue strain. But going beyond that is not required.
(Add in the fact that because of overengineered shoes knee and back pain are commonplace, I say this is highly overrated.)
Related to marathons is the whole topic of cardio. Over-rated…especially when compared to strength training and the time effort involved. What would you rather do? Spend 45 minutes on a treadmill or 15 minutes in the gym? The latter can deliver far more benefit, including cardio if done in a circuit fashion.
Secondly, anaerobic training transfers over to aerobic training…but not vice versa. By all means, cardiovascular health is important, and to that end anaerobic and strength training seem to be better too.
You’ve got to give 110%. Still many bide by this slogan. While there is a time and a place to work hard, that time and place is less than most imagine.
If you’re pouring sweat, gasping for air and lying on the ground after each workout…you’re working too hard in my estimation.
Related to hard work is the idea of toughness. Again, it has a proper place, but that place is not always.
I find that if you occasionally engage in a mentally tough act, you can begin to summon it on will. It doesn’t need to be engaged each and every day.
Building your body is an admirable goal. It’s far less than when I got started training, but many people see this is the sole purpose of training.
There’s still far too much of a domination of bodybuilding ideas out there like having to do a body split (Monday is back and biceps, Wednesday is chest and triceps). I’d say unless you’re competing you don’t need to follow 90% of the common ideas out there.
Obviously, muscles are important. But thinking they’re the only aspect of strength, and the only important thing because you can see them, has held back many, many people.
Other important aspects of your body for fitness include your bones, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nervous system. And even your cells ability to produce energy is going to become crucial.
“You need perfect form to avoid injuring yourself.” Wrong. Form is useful for a few things. As a standard of competition. To look aesthetically pleasing. And only in certain isolated cases will it offer any sort of protection. Few people understand when it does and when it doesn’t…and then just generalize this idea to all form every time.
Deadlifts, bench and squat. Great exercises, some more so than others. But to devote your life to three movements, when the human body is capable of thousands, is a recipe for disaster. Unless you’re competing, you ought to do much more than these.
This is not an exhaustive list. If you have other ideas that you think are over-rated, hit the reply button and let me know. Maybe I’ll do a part two.
What’s under-rated? Maybe I’ll do another post on that. But a quick list would include:
Rock bottom squats
Purposefully complicating movement
Learning how to get yourself out of pain
I would add “magic numbers.” 3×10, 5×5, 85% of your one rep maximum. The idea that an external structure should dictate your training organisation, over internal feedback, is crazy.