Dogma – a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as a part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm.
In fitness you hear a lot of dogma.
“Don’t stretch before you lift, it’ll make you weaker”
“Running will make you skinny and weak”
“Carbs after 5 pm make you fat”
“Never let your knees track in front of your toes on a squat”
Accepting something as true simply because someone said so is a bad practice. If we did that, no one would be training in CrossFit because you can’t combine weightlifting, running, and aerobic training in an effective program. Or so the “experts” say.
Let’s be wary of acting upon everything that we hear. Always be a skeptic.
For instance, common CrossFit dogma right now is that if a muscle hurts, you should foam roll and lacrosse ball til the cows come home. However, that may not be the best practice as rolling around on an already inflamed part of the body can cause an even greater inflammatory response.
There are also instances where cues for lifting can become dogmatic.
Take for example – “never let your knees track in front of your toes on a squat.” I get where that statement comes from, as most people have very inflexible ankles, and tracking their feet forward inevitably pushes them onto their toes. But, if your ankles are mobile enough, you can still push through the heels while allowing the knee to track forward. Look at any high level Olympic lifter. Their knees track well in front of their toes on a rock bottom squat.
Simply question what you hear. If you ask why and the only answer is, “because that’s the way it’s always been done,” find a better answer.
Things are constantly changing in the fitness industry. It’s a very fluid environment. Allow yourself some room to make informed decisions in implementing your best practices and you’ll be better for it.