The Myth of “Shaping” and “Mass Building” Exercises

With the improvement of scientific methods, we become increasingly able to take a closer look at the inner world of our bodies, so it’s not very rare to see yesterday’s facts becoming today’s laughable myths in the world of fitness and bodybuilding.

Unfortunately, when a person who exercises doesn’t know anything about basic anatomy and kinesiology, he can be led into believing some bodybuilding myths like they were solid facts just as easily.

We should start this article by telling you one of the most basic truths everybody seems to neglect. Here it goes: the existence of special exercises that can shape, define or separate muscle mass is a 100% myth. Alright?

Now, let’s discuss the reasons for that “shocking“ statement.

When under tension, the muscle may lengthen, shorten or remain the same. This being said, there is only one way a muscle is able to contract – it shortens, bringing the origin and insertion closer together and causing the joint in between to either bend or extend.

Therefore, there is no such thing as a muscle contraction that can change the shape of a muscle beyond growing in response to exercise. The popular concept of „toning“ your muscles actually includes gaining muscle mass and reducing body fat, no magic tricks involved. Anyone with some basic knowledge of the human anatomy can tell you that you cannot change the shape of a muscle, the direction its muscle fibers are attached or the number of nerve innervations.

While physical exercise can provide you with some increase in lean mass, the real big factor here is following a diet plan that will contribute to eliminating excess body fat – greater muscle definition is a result of that process. The less body fat you have covering up the muscles, the more they become visible. That means that combining strength training and proper nutrition is the only way to get those „toned“ muscles. Muscle growth + loss of fat = ripped physique. But then again, people don’t seem to appreciate the simplicity of life most often.

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