5 Popular Muscle Gains Myths

By 5 October 2020Latest
  1. You need a lot of protein to gain muscle mass.

No, you do not need a lot of protein to grow muscle. Although protein is necessary for muscle gain, as it provides the amino acids the body needs to build and repair muscle tissue, it is actually the extra strength training that leads to muscle hypertrophy and not excess protein intake.

People who lift weights regularly need no more than 1.2 – 1.7 g of protein per each kg of body weight. Any extra protein consumed cannot be stored in the body so once the needs are met, any excess protein is used for energy and/or stored as fat just like any extra calories from other sources.


  1. Long training sessions maximise muscle gains.

This is not true either. It is actually the frequency and intensity of the training rather than the length of a single session that counts. There is a 48 hrs window that muscles need to repair so the best way is to train every muscle group 2 or 3 times per week, concentrating on the quality of the session rather than the length of it. The longer you train at any one time, the more fatigued you get and the effectiveness of the work-out is decreasing with time, unless your goal is muscle endurance rather than hypertrophy. So, a lengthy 1.5 hrs session in the gym will not make you any bulkier than a shorter but more intense 20 to 30 min one, performed on a regular basis.


Using free weights


  1. Feeling sore is a good indicator of how hard you worked.

And no, not really again. Delayed muscle soreness, commonly known as DOMS, occurs when you work your muscles in a way that they are unaccustomed to. So maybe, you just tried a new routine or worked on a resistance machine for the first time ever or in a long while, and the following day, or 2 days after, you feel tightness and soreness in the exercised areas. That is just your body’s reaction to something new and does not necessarily mean that you worked harder or more effectively than usual.


  1. Doing Cardio will interfere with muscle gains.

This is only partially true as the truth is somewhere in the middle. Performing extensive regular endurance training may hinder muscle growth, as it will trigger using your muscle as a fuel, but so does doing very little cardio. The sweet spot for complementing your muscle gains and making your strength training even more effective, without putting your muscle mass at risk, is 2-3 times per week. You can perform 20 to 30 min cardio sessions either on the days you do your strength work or on the ones you do not.


Shoulder Press with Dumbells



  1. You should avoid isolation exercises if you aim to increase muscle mass.

No, definitely not. Isolation exercises in weight training are the ones that involve only one joint and a limited number of muscle groups, unlike compound exercises that work two or more joints and more muscles. An example of an isolation exercise is a biceps curl, which mainly targets biceps brachii while a deadlift works the gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, soleus, abdominals, obliques, erector spinae, trapezius, rhomboids, and lats.

So, as the name suggests, isolation work lets you focus only on one small area. You can concentrate on the correct technique and load the muscle with the exact amount of weight and reps to work it to exhaustion. This may be particularly beneficial for exercisers who developed a muscle imbalance and that is why isolation exercises are often prescribed for physical therapy and rehabilitation and may be often necessary to ensure safe further training.


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