5 Training Myths Busted By Dan Maitland

1. “Lifting Weights will bulk me up”

Wrong Ladies.

The properties of females genetic make up will not allow you to develop a ‘bulky’ look. Men and female body builders literally take years to build muscle and this is through specific hypertrophy and nutrition techniques and strategies.

What do I mean by this?
– Men have 15 – 20 times greater levels of testosterone.
– Men have a greater capacity to build cross sectional area of muscle and therefore strength.
– Men train for hypertrophy in the 8 -12 rep range where as women generally work in the strength endurance range between 8 – 20 reps.
– Bulking is calorie dependent i.e.: eat more than what you are burning and you will bulk up, eat less and you will lose weight.

Yes – lifting weights will increase your muscle mass but it will also decrease your body fat and give you the muscular ‘tone’ look that most women desire.

The Cardio VS Weights Training debate is often a conversation I have with new clients. If you want to look thin and weak with no tone then stick to cardio. Cardio may burn more calories during a workout but it certainly doesn’t have the metabolic spike that strength training has as you are burning more calories for hours after your workout. Daily repetitive cardio can also place great stress on your tendons and joints.

I am not saying do not do Cardio but if you want to be toned and build a strong future of strength, metabolism, neuromuscular control and prevention of osteoporosis – start doing weight training.

In 2006, researchers at McMaster University in Ontario tested subjects body image and how satisfied they were with their own appearance before and after 12 weeks of strength training. The women made significant improvements and they were particularly influenced by the physical results of increasing the amount lifted.

If you don’t understand how to train properly in the gym, are worried about hurting yourself or are intimated in a commercial gym then speak with a professional.

They are often keen to help!

2. “Lifting Weights stunts your growth”.


It has always been a contentious issue for parents but it has been proven frequently that there is no effect on the growth plate for pre adolescents who undergo correct resistance training.

Lifting weights correctly develop motor patterns, strength and neural development.
Lifting weights incorrectly, in the wrong rep range or with too great of load can cause issues with the growth plate.

The Growth Plates (epiphyseal plates) are at the end of long bones including the femur and the radius. They are made up of cartilage and turn into hardened bone by the end of physical maturity but are softer during puberty hence why they are at risk of breaking.

Based on extensive research there has been no evidence to suggest that strength training has adverse effects on the growth plate nor has there been any evidence that strength training for pre adolescents affects the final height of individuals.

Over the past 25 years, several studies have shown that preadolescent children are capable of safely improving muscle strength with appropriate training regimes.

In fact, a review of strength development programs highlighted an improvement of 13 – 30% as a result of resistance training over an 8 – 12 week period.

A guideline I go by is that the intensity should be moderate (10 – 15 reps), maximal lifts avoided and athletes should be comfortable to move their own body weight prior to external forces being added.

Junior training should also focus on landing, movement patterns, proprioception and building motor control which can be applicable to all sports.

3. “I do Pilates/Kaiser to Fix my lower back”


A study by Callaghan and McGill. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2001 Jan;16(1):28-37 showed that a disc only ‘has a certain amount of flexion tolerance under load.’

‘Modern’ machine based spinal rehabilitation practices such as Pilates and Kaiser have been implemented over the past 25 years in our society due to the development of the ‘technological evolution’ (sitting at a desk).

Physiotherapist Andrew Lock states “disc pressure has been measured to be more than double when sitting flexed compared to standing.”

So why do we sit and perform repetitive flexion exercises under load?

In line with research – the muscle around the injured area will atrophy (decreases in muscle mass). “Often people attend these practices to build muscle around the ‘lumbar musculature’ to help improve the isolated area that has undergone an injury.

The multifidus is an extremely important muscle in rehab for disc and back injuries.

Pilates and Kaiser fail to produce significant multifidus growth and the mechanism of repetitive flexion under load – whilst sitting – has the potential to produce a large disc injury.

Case Study By Andrew Lock (attached picture above):

Functional strength training allows you to rebuild the muscle around the affected area. On the left image is a 3 year Kaiser training program where there is limited muscle (M) around the joint compared to Fat (F) VS a functional strength trained back patient who has rehabbed the muscle significantly.

The ‘machine’ failed to produce the muscle necessary for spinal protection.

Pilates/Kaiser will not build efficient hypertrophy.

These two popular methods of rehabilitation are greatly lacking in the basics of the strength systems familiar to most strength coaches which can build the multifidus to greater levels.

4. Do Core Before Training


Yes – Core ‘activation’ is extremely important at the start of training to secure your spine and create a neural drive to your stabilizing muscles.


If you have a fatigued core whilst completing compound lifts then your main lifts will be affected and unsafe to complete as you are more likely to lose technique. Nearly every exercise that you perform in the gym involves your core in some way hence why I think that when you are doing deadlifts, squats, pulls and bench that your core needs to be ready and not over worked.

I believe that you should focus on larger muscle groups first as you will get greater results opposed to working just on your abs in isolation, over stimulating your central nervous system and core. Your main lifts should be prioritized – this is why you should do your main lifts first and complete your supplementary and core exercises later. This won’t disadvantage the more important and larger muscle groups.

If you want abs – focus on your nutrition, interval training and weights training – you will get there faster than just doing repetitive crunches that teach your main muscles to flex opposed to your core working.

In a 2007 study, participants that performed heavy squats after doing their ab exercises first performed with much less weight than if they didn’t train abs before.

By stimulating the core musculature at the start of training will mean it is more active during the main exercises and also be activated during higher intensity exercise but there is a significant difference between ‘fatigue’ and ‘activation’ and people need to understand this.

5.  Static stretching your hamstrings helps with recovery


It has been something that we have always been taught in junior sport and through poor marketing magazines.

“Stretch your hamstrings after training or if you are tight – otherwise you will be sore.”

Even through University I remember being taught “dynamic stretching prior to training and static stretching after” will help reduce DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness). Actually, every time you stretch your hamstrings you can be in fact making them over sensitive (Google: Stretch Reflex to understand this) which promotes heightened levels of DOMS.

Dynamic stretching prior to training does loosen up your muscles and prepare the body for the movement patterns coming but there is no research that highlights that even this type of stretching actually reduces the effect of DOMS.

There are certainly some positive reasons to stretch your hamstrings don’t get me wrong:

1. Your sport requires high levels of flexibility (i.e.: gymnastics)

2. You have been injured and need to return to the full Range of Motion.

3. You have over shortened muscles that are causing pain.

Definitely, do not static stretch your hamstrings prior to training as it will:

1. Decreases force which leads to decreased performance
2. Loosen muscles so that they can no longer keep the joint(s) they interact with as controlled therefore enhancing injury risk.

My advice:

1. Begin a strength training program if your hamstrings constantly feel weak or tight during your sport.
2. Buy a foam roller and use this to create and promote blood flow through the muscle to remove any metabolic by products.
3. Compress you hamstrings with tights or a tube-grip post training.
4. Contrast Therapy (hot and cold baths)

Understand that stretching is OK but understand your reasons WHY you are wanting to stretch AND when!

Good Luck,

Daniel Maitland


Elitefts.com. (2017). EliteFTS.com | Educating & Outfitting Athletes, Coaches and Trainers. [online] Available at: https://www.elitefts.com/ [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017].

Fit Men Cook. (2017). Don’t Ever Stretch Your Hamstrings! (Unless You Read This). [online] Available at: http://fitmencook.com/dont-ever-stretch-your-hamstrings-unless-you-read-this/ [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017].

Gergley, J. (2013). Acute Effect of Passive Static Stretching on Lower-Body Strength in Moderately Trained Men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(4), pp.973-977.

Kabuki Strength. (2017). IT’S EVOLUTION BABY! The cause, and solution to, modern low back pain. – Andrew Lock. [online] Available at: https://kabukistrength.com/evolution_low_back_pain/ [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017].

Kabuki Strength. (2017). Pilates and Keiser can’t match Applied Strength Rehabilitation methods using Kettlebells and Barbells for Lumbar Disc injury recovery (Anyone surprised?). Or, A tale of 3 MRI’s. – By Andrew Lock. [online] Available at: https://kabukistrength.com/pilates-keiser-cant-match-applied-strength-rehabilitation-methods-using-kettlebells-barbells-lumbar-disc-injury-recovery-anyone-surprised-tale-3-mris/ [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017].

SM, C. (2017). Intervertebral disc herniation: studies on a porcine model exposed to highly repetitive flexion/extension motion with compressive force. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11114441 [Accessed 19 Jul. 2017].