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3 training myths

With the amount of fitness information to filter through on the internet, you're bound to come across some misleading information. Even some that maybe even I believed or preached at one point. I'm happy to call myself out! My early personal training days were not as educated as they are now. Below are three personal training myths that you may have heard before. Myth #1: Knees shouldn't pass your toes in a squat. This is one that I used to believe in my early days of training (my b!). But let's think about it logically: when you walk down stairs, do your knees pass your toes? Yes. When you squat down to pick up a pen off the ground, do your knees pass your toes? Yes. When you lunge down to tie your shoe, does your knee pass your toes? Yes. When you sit down in your desk chair, do you knees pass your toes? Also, yes. Could you imagine if our knees were never to pass our toes? Picture this: you're walking down stairs with nearly straight legs. Even worse: walking upstairs. Ha! How?! Yikes. Our knees and ankles were built to bend. In a training situation, try to notice where your knees are situated at the bottom of a squat. Are they in line with, in front of, or behind your toes? No two squats are meant to look the same, but it might be worth looking at your hip and/or ankle mobility if you have a hard time getting into a deep squat with your knees in line with or in front of your toes. Myth #2: Never curve your back. In most exercises, a neutral spine is what we aim for. You hear this as a cue in exercises such as deadlifts, squats, rows, etc. to encourage stability and assist in bracing the core. On the other hand, saying "never" curve your back is a bit excessive. You see professional powerlifters do it nearly all the time in competition. Although most humans are not professional powerlifters, it is functional to learn how to keep the spine mobile and with load. It's likely that at some point when you're picking up a pen or something heavier, like a moving box, you'll twist at your torso to reach under a small space to grab the pen or to finagle the moving box into a truck. Assuming that you will only be a neutral spine position the rest of your life is unnatural and unhelpful. To work your back in a non-neutral position, it's common to see rotational exercises, such as wood chops, in my training programs. Myth #3: core and abs are the same thing. While the core does include your abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis), it also includes tranversus abdominis, multifidus, internal obliques, external obliques, erector spinae, diaphragm, and pelvic floor muscles. To work toward having a stronger core means to gain strength not only in your abs, but in all 360-degrees of your core. This also goes for the terms "bracing your core". That doesn't mean just pull in your abs, it means to prepare as if you were about to get punched in the stomach. If you try it out, you can feel how more than your abs engage. You should still be able to inhale and exhale in this position without losing the "brace". Though there are plenty more myths out there, these three are ones I hear frequently. We'll continue to myth bust in the future, as well. Happy training!


Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.


I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

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