We present to you a set of ten mistakes that just might be a part of your strength training. If you strive for progress, you should avoid them like the plague. If you pay a little bit more attention to what people are doing in your gym, you will notice each of the below listed mistakes on a daily basis. The worst part is that they usually come together and, according to the probability theory, you are probably also doing (at least) one of those mistakes.
If you really try and analyse your exercise routine, as well as the routine of those exercising around you, you will often see someone doing each of the 10 mistakes that will be described later. We will not occupy ourselves with some trivial mistakes, like the one when people dedicate themselves to working out for (the whole!) two months before summer and later wonder what happened to their results. Living like a pig for ten months (or three years) and wishing to achieve a bodybuilder look in two months is just not possible. Everyone with a bit of common sense knows enough to understand that such results do not come overnight.
Many people have their own set of exercises that they insist on repeating forever. They never dare to learn anything new and include it in their training. What is even worse, their training then turns to a routine consisting of approximately the same number of reps and sets, and more or less the same weights. The longer a person works out in such a way, the less progress they are able to achieve with their training. This also includes working out with the exercise machines only. Be bold, dive into the unknown and learn some new exercises. You are missing out on too much. Learn how to use the barbell and the entire repertoire of exercises it offers, learn how to use the kettlebell and your own body, start using free weights and stop limiting yourself.
Training often has to become hard. The problem is that a lot of people refuse to get out of their comfort zone and continue to work when things get tough. For illustration, there are people who are doing the bench press with 35 kg, but can actually do the same number of reps with 60 kg. If you are one of those people who make the above described mistakes, you must admit to yourself that you have a problem. You are not training; you are in fact pretending to train. Be aware that only by getting out of your comfort zone, you can create a real challenge for your body (to which the body adapts, thus becoming stronger). Come to your senses and accept the fact that the lack of true effort brings zero results.
The volume of work is defined by the number of reps, sets and weights. For the short term results, the ideal thing would be to constantly vary all three components. Conversely, for the long-term results a constant increase of the training volume is ideal. A year ago, a certain training routine might have been adequate for you, but you have made a progress since then so the same training is now nowhere as effective. Your current training routine might be extremely hard for you, but it will become relatively easy in the future. That is why we should always work on increasing our training volume.
Deload phase represents a period of lower intensity training in order to give your body a chance to rest, adapt to what you have done previously and prepare for the next work cycle. If you are training hard, it is very important that you set some time apart for this stage of training as well. Two to three weeks of high intensity training should be followed by a week of a reduced training volume (the deload phase). Following this pattern is a good way to implement this principle into your own training program. This mistake can most often be found in people who maintain an extremely high intensity training. In the short term, that is a great thing, but the long-term progress requires alternating between high and low intensity training phases. Lack of the deload phase will result in overtraining together with the lack of results, frustration and even becoming fed up with your training.
This rule is not as important for beginners who train two to three times a week, since their training intensity is low, hence their body does not require a resting phase.
Using a proper technique allows you to get the most out of each one of your exercises, while being safe at the same time. Your safety is one of the biggest reason why your training technique should be perfect. Injuries are a major enemy of the long-term progress. Poor technique is a pathway to a dangerous territory you should not be willing to take. Many people think that it is enough to do something, just as long as you do it. To clean 100 kg like a pig is not something you should brag about; what comes around goes around. Maybe you do not feel it right away, but rest assured that the pain and the injuries will appear eventually.
Everyone would like to do what we see Dmitry Klokov or Rich Froning doing. But we are simply not yet at the same level as they are. It is bad to try to imitate our role-model’s workouts and training programs and disregard the differences in the level of training, skills and knowledge. It would be wiser to consider what our role models did when they were at our level. Because Klokov could not snatch 200 kg right away either.
Follow your own path and gradually increase the complexity of your exercise, as well as the training volume. It is wrong to skip certain steps and do things for which you are not ready. For example, if you do not know to perform a front squat, you should not even be thinking about doing a clean. Everyone should train according to their own level of training, their abilities and shortcomings.
Lack of a training program will make us wonder around without getting anywhere. A good long-term training program could prevent each of the major mistakes that people do during their training. Make your own plan and stick to it as long as it provides you with results. A good training program must be focused on the long-term progression, which we have already discussed (mistake #7), along with a variation in exercises, number of reps and weights. It must contain the deload phase (mistake #4) and proper progression of training exercises which will make us practice continuously and according to our plan, without improvising one minute before the training. Improvising always includes a high risk of mistakes you should never be willing to accept.
A good warm-up routine has many positive effects. Two of the most important ones are the increase in performance and prevention of injuries. Also, if your range of motion in one of your joints is limited, warming up is the part of training where you can work on that. Short hamstrings, tight pecs, traps and lats, bad posture regarding shoulders and pelvis, limited range of motion in your hip or ankle – all the issues that we should try to fix during our warm-up routine.
Long-term lack of sleep, unhealthy eating habits, messy lifestyle and a bad posture represent another mistake which people often do, thinking that those things have no connection to their training whatsoever. If you are one of those who share such point of view, you need to know that you are making a huge mistake. Insufficient amount of sleep prevents your body from recovering and muscle building (yes, our muscles are regenerated during sleep). Bad eating habits and a messy lifestyle significantly hinder the effectiveness of training and recovery time, while bad posture results in a limited range of motion during the very training. Avoid these mistakes; get your life in order and you’ll feel better in your own skin straight away.