I’m not going to tell you that you’re doing it wrong. I’m not going to tell you that you’re wasting your time at the gym, or that you’re never going to see results if you keep up with the same routine. But I will say that there are some mistakes that many of us make when we’re working out, and sometimes those mistakes can prevent us from reaching our fitness goals.
So if you’re looking to get in shape this year, pay attention – because I’m about to let you in on some of the most common training errors people make, that cost them time and results.
It’s no secret that the gym is a great place to boost your ego and self-confidence. After all, who doesn’t like to strut around in their tightest tank top and most impressive pair of sweatpants?
But while ego lifting in the gym can feel good in the moment, it can actually be pretty bad for you in the long run. By ego lifting, we imply lifting in a manner that allows you to lift really heavy weights, but with an improper form. Ego lifting can lead to injuries, suboptimal workouts and if you fail, embarrassment! 😉
So here’s our piece of advice – Avoid lifting weights that cost you proper exercise form and put your muscles, joints, and ligaments at risk! Lift moderately heavy weights, close to failure!
Not Resting Enough
Lifting too heavy (ego lifting) is one of the most common mistakes of gym goers, but the second one is, lifting heavy and NOT resting enough before the next set. As trainees, we have to understand that heavy lifting is very strenuous for the body and therefore, rest times are crucial for sustained performance.
Think of it this way – If you do 10 reps with a given weight and only rest a minute, you’d likely do fewer reps on the next set, if the weight is heavy. But if you give yourself enough time, odds are you will be able to get those 10 reps again for at least a couple more sets.
What does this mean? Well, it means that your muscles did more work, total, thus receiving a better stimulus! In your working sets on your heaviest lifts, take up to 3 minutes of rest between sets.
Progressing Too Quickly
The third common mistake among trainees is that they are trying to increase the weight on the bar too quickly! You’d often see jumps of 10-15% in weight all of a sudden, among trainees, which leads back to the first mistake – ego lifting.
Instead, what you want to do is systematize your progression and gradually increase the weights you are lifting.
Here’s something to try:
- Take a given weight
- Aim for 32+ reps total across 4 working sets
- Once you hit 33 or more reps across 4 sets, increase the weight 2.5 – 5%
- Work your way up to 32+ reps, across 4 sets.
Doing Too Many Sets
Last but not least, most people do too many sets in a given workout and the reason for that is that their sets aren’t of high quality. Generally speaking, a quality working set on any heavy exercise, will leave you begging for longer rest before the next set AND you will soon feel that your performance is diminished.
For most beginners, 5 quality working sets (taken close to failure), per muscle group, per week will do the job! As you advance, that number grows to 15-20+, as you need more total sets to create effective stimulus and progress further.
So here’s another piece of advice – Take just a couple of exercises and do multiple sets, close to failure, with 3 minutes of rest between each set!
It’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to training, but luckily, most of them are easily avoidable. By being mindful of the common training pitfalls we’ve outlined and avoiding them, you can focus on getting the most out of your workouts and seeing results sooner rather than later.
Have you been guilty of any of these bad habits? Let us know in the comments!