If you’re a fitness junkie, the odds are that strength training forms an important part of your workout routine. If you’re doing it right, you will reap the benefits, but do it wrong and you could be finding yourself in a world of pain. The lucky few will have a personal trainer to guide them along the way, but unfortunately, we can’t always afford that luxury and are left to our own devices.
When it comes to strength training, don’t be afraid to seek out advice from a reputable source. Sure, family and friends may be able to help you out, but one wrong move and you’ll end up regretting that. Most often, poor form is the reason for gym-related injuries which could have been avoided.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common strength training mistakes.
Five common strength training mistakes
Know your weight
If you lift weights which too heavy, too soon, you will find yourself overcompensating for the heavy weight. Avoid the temptation to push yourself too far; instead, slowly work your way up to your goal weight. Research recommends that lower weights with higher rep counts are more effective in building endurance and strength in the long term. As soon as your exercises begin to feel too easy, move up a weight class or increase the number of reps.
The form is the backbone of any strength exercise and needs to be perfected before taking on any weights. It may sound goofy but practice your form in the mirror. This will help you properly activate your muscles and ensure a fruitful workout. Once your form is correct, you can add weight to your routine to take it up a level. Don’t push yourself too far in the pursuit of gains. For example, squatting with a weight that you cannot properly manage will result in your back curving and can cause injury.
Control your weights
When lifting weights, with it be freestanding or using a machine, you need to control the motion. Avoid jerky, irregular movements. Instead, keep it controlled and fluid. Dropping your weight mid exercise is also not advised as it can result in muscle injury following an unexpected contraction.
Switch it up
Following the same workout routine will not result in the change you’re looking for. Your muscles need to adapt to various changes in the workout to facilitate constant change and improvement. Try changing your weights, reps or even modify existing workouts to get the results you’re looking for.
To rest, or not to rest…
This one is tricky. Resting between sets is advised as it gives your body time to clear lactic acid. However, rest longer than two minutes and you can find all your hard work going down the drain. Not resting at all is just as bad for your workout as your body has no time to recover. It’s all about finding the right balance.
When it comes to avoiding these common mistakes, the best advice is to plan your workouts and know your limits. Properly structuring your workout will give your body the time it needs to adapt to the movements and make the necessary recoveries. Please check with a fitness professional if you are not sure about your current workout routine or if you’re exploring tips to improve your set.
Do you want to find out more about the art and science behind strength training? If you do, then you need to have a look at our Personal Training Diploma. For more information and to register, please follow this link.