Facts and Fallacies of Fitness

Louie Simmons
Tue Sep 27, 2016

I had the pleasure of assisting Dr. Mel Siff doing talks about the fine book Supertraining. Mel was a good friend and an expert on biomechanics. Mel was a huge fan of Westside and Westside was a huge fan of Mel. He is known mostly for Supertraining, but a lesser known book Facts and Fallacies of Fitness is a must for all coaches and trainers. As the title points out, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference without a lot of years’ experience. You may find that you are doing yourself and your clients more harm than good.
This book can help one become a competent personal trainer. Is ballistics dangerous? Is there a real need to warm-up? Should you hold your breath while exercising? Do squats damage your knees? Remember, as they say, a little knowledge is dangerous, and many internet geniuses don’t have that much known age, yet have a huge fan base.

You will learn that while cardio is pushed far more than strength and agility training, the simple fact is strength and agility is much more important. Without strength you have nothing. Having weak muscles and ligaments and tendons are why we have an epidemic of joint replacements. Too many people learn about strength training from body building magazines. There is a difference between just increasing hypertrophy for body building opposed to weightlifting or powerlifting.

There are many contradictory statements concerning strength and fitness, but Mel breaks it down between a fact or a fallacy in a way that is understandable. Many rejected the Soviets and their sport training due to political reasons rather than to sports science.
The NSCA. provides very low level basic knowledge of sport training. In the former Soviet Union one could earn a degree for coaching; this is not the case in the United States. Only Westside Barbell offers a coaching degree. Oh, by the way, it has an 85 percent failure rate thanks to Dr. Mel Siff.

The answers to such questions as “Does weightlifting increase blood pressure?”, “Is touching your toes dangerous?”, “Does heavy weight training hurt your speed and flexibility?”, “Should you push your stomach in or out to stabilize your truck?”, “What is a max effort and can it be done more than once?”, “Are straight leg sit-ups dangerous?”, and “Is PNF stretching really a stretch?” are provided.

There is much more to think about if you are to become a top coach or trainer: Do sit-ups make your waist smaller? Are Goodmornings dangerous? Should you lock the knees at the end of a squat? Is a stationary bike as good as a real bicycle? Is running on a treadmill the same as running on a track or road? There are countless questions like this without solid answers.

Is it safe to have women do high weight training like weight lifting or powerlifting? Do you know the definition of fitness? What is OPP. and is it useful for the weight or powerlifting? Have you thought about when you stop endurance training? Are there different types of muscle fiber and if so which is best for a sprint or a marathon? What is best for each?

And consider these: How does one test top strength potential? Is an irregular heart unhealthier? What is oxygen belt? Which is safer, a flat back or a rounded back? Does connective tissue grow strength at the same rate as muscle tissue? How do you correct pelvic tilt?

Just when you think you have all the answers, Dr. Siff changes questions. Rowdy Roddy Piper would say this as a pro wrestler as he was kicking your ass. The same with Dr. Siff. Can electric stim produce great or a greater muscle contraction on your own?

There are so many questions without answers that a must-read book is the Facts and Fallacies of Fitness. It covers fitness and special strength as well as why athletes from nations such as China and Jamaica as well as Kenya are so good at a special sporting event.
I am sure you will enjoy this book by my old colleague Dr. Mel Siff.