While many might consider building muscles a matter of vanity, recent studies prove different. An analysis by Harvard shows that just 30 to 60 minutes of strength training weekly can promote longevity by protecting you from heart disease and cancer.
That’s great, but let’s face it, when you’re sweating it out in the gym for hours, you want to see results.
Training mistakes can quickly become habits, limit your performance and stall your progress. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most common strength training errors and how to avoid them.
Table Of Contents
- Focussing Only on Workouts
- Disregarding Your Body Type
- Doing the Wrong Reps and Supersets
- Incorrect Stretching
- Poor Strength Training Form
- Too Little Variety
- Using the Wrong Supplements
- Use Your Time Wisely
Focussing Only on Workouts
An effective training routine involves more than intense workouts. You also need to spend time on adequate recovery, getting enough rest, and eating well.
Make time for all of these elements in your weekly schedule. One session for each compound lift, like deadlifts, rows, pull-ups, and back squats, plus a few sessions of support exercises like lunges is enough.
Doing the same exercises at high-intensity several times a week will only lead to boredom, injury, and demotivation. It’s just as important to rest well as it is to work hard.
A word of caution: Keep the relationship between sets, reps, and rest relevant. Rest when you need to, but get going again as soon as you feel ready. You shouldn’t force yourself to stay idle for two minutes every time – as you get stronger and fitter, you’ll need shorter rest periods.
If you need to rest more frequently at first, that’s okay too, but make sure you finish your reps for the day. Don’t over-exert yourself. Rather, take your time doing each exercise correctly and methodically if you want to see results.
More isn’t always more when it comes to training. The excessive strain doesn’t increase your chances of success, it increases the likelihood of injury. An injury can set you back months, so proceed with caution.
Remember, your muscles grow during rest periods, not while you’re working out. Always leave 48 hours between training sessions, so your joints and muscles can recover sufficiently for a new challenge.
If you’re obsessed with daily training, you can use your rest days for cardio workouts like running or cycling.
Eat consciously by planning your meals carefully. Your diet should include plenty of lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. Steer clear of fats and sugar, an extra hard session doesn’t justify eating a chocolate bar to celebrate.
Disregarding Your Body Type
Tailoring your workouts to suit you, doesn’t only involve the exercises you do. Take your body type into account, too.
For instance, if you’re tall, you might struggle to lift bigger weights as your arms are longer than most people’s. If you’re over 6 feet tall, shorten your range of motion during the bench press, squat, and pull-up movements.
If you’re not sure what to do, ask a gym instructor for assistance.
On the subject of bench press, you can hurt your shoulders by benching with your back flat and your elbows flared.
Be sure to pull your shoulder blades together and down while arching your back. Then, as you lower the bar, tuck your elbows near your sides and press your feet down toward the floor while you press.
Doing the Wrong Reps and Supersets
Vary your reps depending on the exercise you’re doing, the muscles you’re training and your progress.
Ultimately, working hard at low reps and high weight will yield results, but it’s best to start with higher reps and lower weights until you build up strength. Extra sessions with resistance bands and paused reps will help you build up your muscles faster.
Focus on lower reps for upper body pressing movements for training fast-twitch muscle fibers. Your legs suit endurance training, so leg exercises work best with higher reps of 12 or more.
When you’re building your back muscles, deadlifts and pull-ups are both great choices, but together, they’re a death blow for your grip and staying power for future sets.
Likewise, avoid pairing abs workouts with heavy compound lifts, like presses and squats – you’ll get tired quicker and could injure yourself.
Keep at it, and you’ll eventually reach the nirvana of the one rep max.
Effective stretching is as important as resting correctly. Avoid stretching the muscles you’re currently working on, as this will temporarily weaken them.
Rather, stretch the opposing muscles. i.e., stretch your pecs in a door frame between sets of seated rows. This complements your back training and results in stronger back muscles.
Poor Strength Training Form
In the fitness industry, pressure to perform is one of the biggest culprits behind poor execution.
Instead of smashing through your reps, focus on how you’re doing your exercises. Take the speed of your movements into account and concentrate on your technique.
When you’re starting your strength training journey, you need supervision to ensure you get a good grounding in the correct technique. Even the most experienced weight lifters will ask for a little guidance and constructive criticism every so often.
Flopping around and rushing through your sessions will strain your muscles and do nothing to further your progress.
Your muscles won’t grow if you don’t use them properly. For instance, heaving a barbell from your hip to your shoulder won’t build your biceps, but it will strain your joints.
Don’t be a hero. If you’re struggling to maintain form, rather lighten the load to reduce your risk of injury and ensure a better outcome over time.
You can’t force success, rather take your time to achieve lasting results. Your patience will pay off when you eventually break your personal best.
Too Little Variety
Doing the same old exercises over and over again doesn’t benefit your mind or your muscles. You’ll stop challenging your body as it becomes accustomed to the repetitions, and that means you’ll stop seeing results.
When you reach this stage, it’s easy to become disillusioned with your training sessions and give up.
Mix up your sessions to help you get stronger faster and stay interested in your workouts. That doesn’t mean skipping exercises you dislike. Rather, tweak the main components of each one so that you stimulate the muscles a little differently.
For instance, you could vary your squat routine by adding resistance bands between the barbell and the squat rack. This helps you increase the strength curve of the squat by making the easier part of the movement harder and heavier.
Using the Wrong Supplements
Even those who follow the healthiest diet can use a little supplemental help. As your body’s nutritional needs increase, it becomes difficult to stomach the calories you need each day.
Supplements are a fantastic way to boost your nutrition for better weight and strength gains.
A word of caution though, only the best supplements will do. So, whether you’re shopping for creatine or RAD 140 for sale, always choose a supplier that engages in third-party testing of its products.
These are some of the supplements that can help you improve your strength and build muscle faster:
This is one of the best-known and most popular strength-boosting and muscle-building supplements around. It’s proven to increase muscle strength by 8% and has an excellent safety record.
Creatine helps with strength training by maintaining the availability of phosphocreatine and creatine within the muscle during a workout. This helps keep energy levels high and speeds up recovery during sets.
Long-term use seems to enhance the quality of resistance training, too.
There’s more to caffeine than cappuccinos and lattes, it’s also a powerful stimulant and a great ally in the realm of strength training.
Caffeine helps you keep going during endurance exercises as well as high-intensity activities. There’s not much evidence to suggest that caffeine has a direct impact on muscle gains, but it follows that longer sessions should result in greater gains.
On its own, caffeine can’t build muscle, but it’s a great pick-me-up when you’re feeling fatigued and can help make workouts seem easier.
About 40 years ago, Citrulline malate (CM) was originally marketed as a treatment for fatigue in post-surgery patients. Now, it’s popular as a performance booster in the gym.
The benefits of this supplement stem from a synergistic combination of malate and L-citrulline, which increase rates of ATP during exercise, as well as increased PCR recovery rates afterward.
CM helps reduce soreness after bouts of high-rep exercise.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-chain amino acids, namely valine, leucine, and isoline, are essential amino acids with protein anabolic properties.
They help speed up the repair and recovery process after a workout, by promoting protein synthesis, and suppressing protein degradation.
Leucine can stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is essentially the body’s muscle-making process. It’s especially effective when taken in conjunction with whey protein.
Whey is a form of fast-digesting protein. When you ingest it after a workout, it helps your muscles recover faster.
Studies show that dietary protein can help increase muscle strength and mass when combined with prolonged resistance training, and whey is one of the best ones for the job.
When you combine slow-digesting casein with fast-digesting whey, you can keep the rate of protein synthesis in the body high, and minimize muscle breakdown at the same time.
Another way to boost your muscle gains post-workout is by ingesting carbohydrates right after your exertions, especially in combination with whey protein.
Nitric Oxide Boosters
Foods like pomegranates, radishes, and beets are high in nitrates, which means they’re a natural way to boost nitric oxide.
There’s little research to show any benefits of this for resistance training. Yet, earlier studies show they increase muscle blood flow and reduce soreness.
Other investigations reveal they work well as part of performance supplements to enhance hypertrophy, strength, and performance in resistance training.
Fish oils comprise essential omega-3 fatty acids, which have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In this way, they can help prevent damage and inflammation caused by microscopic tears that occur in your muscles during a workout session.
Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing after a workout, but too much can delay your recovery. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce muscle soreness and speed up recovery, especially when combined with carbs, and BCAAs.
Glutamine doesn’t produce any exciting and immediate muscle gains, but it does play a vital role in repair and recovery. Without glutamine, your muscles can’t get rid of excess ammonia created during exercise, which can disrupt your body’s acid-base balance.
Anyone who practices two-a-day training splits, does resistance training, or has a calorie deficit can benefit from taking glutamine.
Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators
SARMs are a safer alternative to illegal anabolic steroids and are still considered experimental drugs. It’s legal to buy and possess SARMs, and they’re commonly used to treat muscle and bone wastage from disease, age, and osteoporosis.
These substances do help build muscle and bone, but there aren’t many conclusive studies involving their use as part of a strength training routine.
Use Your Time Wisely
It’s vital to remember that you will hit plateaus throughout your strength training endeavors. The biggest mistake you can make when this happens is giving up.
Ride out these unrewarding times, and you’ll see continued improvement in your strength and performance.
Would you like some more tips on how to maximize your health and physical fitness? Browse some more of our blog articles.