There are various kinds of exercises and while some focus on building your cardio (or heart) muscle, some are intended to build your core and the rest of your muscles. In terms of the latter, strength training is advised but you need to ensure that you are doing it properly to avoid any likely injuries. Read on for Strength Training: 9 Mistakes You Need To Avoid!
1. Incorrect Form
One of the most common strength training mistakes that you need to avoid is lifting with improper form. The fitness enthusiasts behind Critical Body suggest that you meet with a trainer before you delve into a strength training because they will be able to help you lift and practice the exercises necessary with the correct form. After all, good form is your best defence against getting injured.
To begin training with the correct form, make sure that you are focused on your body’s alignment such that your head is over your shoulders and your shoulders are over your hips. Your hips should also be over your feet while your gaze is straight ahead. You should also keep your shoulders relaxed, your chest lifted, and your midsection engaged without having to hold your breath. Ask a trainer for guidance if you are still unsure about your form.
2. Wrong Weights
Among the training mistakes you should avoid when it comes to strength training is lifting the wrong weights. For instance, if you have to use your whole body to hoist the weights up, then the weights you are trying to lift are simply too heavy. This means that you will likely be prone to straining your knees, back, and shoulders. On the other hand, when you are lifting weights that are too light, then your muscles won’t be challenged enough, so no growth will take place either!
3. Ignoring Muscle Groups
There are instances where you may be so focused on building or toning a certain part of your body that you neglect your other muscle groups. Since the muscles that you are not training may be weak, this can lead to injuries due to imbalance. In the same manner, the muscles you are training may be injured due to overuse. For this reason, make sure that you include multiple muscle groups in your strength training workout. To do this, keep a log of the exercises that you perform during each of your sessions to track what you have done and see where you have room to develop further.
4. Skipping Stretching
Each time you perform a strength training session, make sure that you do stretching exercises before and after your routine. Before your routine, the proper stretches will warm you up. On the other hand, cool-down stretches will help you avoid injuries to your now tense muscles. However, you need to select stretches that isolate the muscles that you want to work on.
5. Staleness of Routine
Time and again, you need to switch up your strength training routine because if not, your body will simply reach a plateau and frustratingly you won’t develop much further. For instance, if you lift the same weight the same way, and the same amount of times, then you should not expect further gains as you’ll probably just be going through the motions. Thus, the best thing that you can do now is to manipulate your workout, vary it accordingly to ensure that your body is stimulated and appropriately challenged.
6. Wrong Order of Exercises
Apart from using the wrong weights, the order of the exercises that you perform also matters. Hence, another strength training mistake that you should avoid is performing the exercises in the wrong order. In this case, what you can do is always have a plan before you enter the gym, aiming to get in your bigger lifts earlier on so that you have the energy to complete them. As you progress with your strength training sessions, you can also add variety by adding in some isolation exercises that work along your muscle joints.
7. Rushed Workout
A strength training session should be done at the proper pace as this ensures that you can maintain a proper form. In this case, your aim should be to spend a couple of seconds when lifting and another three to four seconds on the negative phase the movement. The former is referred to as concentric contraction while the latter is called an eccentric contraction. If you take more time to lower the weight, you will gain more strength because your muscles have to generate more force to do things in a deliberately slower manner.
8. Too Little or Too Much Rest
Resting too much or not resting enough is another mistake that you need to avoid during a strength training session. You need to rest in between sets to give your body the ability to clear the lactic acid from your muscles. The duration of your rest should be around 2-4 minutes if you are lifting heavy. On the other hand, if you are lifting a lighter weight for reps, you’re in the endurance zone, and your rest should be no longer than a minute to 90 seconds between your sets.
9. Insufficient Nutrition
Finally, make sure that you eat enough to supplement your strength training session. Before and after your workout session, make sure that you nourish yourself because, like a car that won’t be able to run without gas, your body will not be able to function properly without fuel. In this case, make sure that you fuel up on good carbs and lean protein.
When it comes to strength training, you need to ensure that you are doing it properly to maximize the benefits that you intend to reap from it. As much as possible, practice the proper form in lifting and lift weights that are appropriate for your body type and capacity. You should also take the time to know your muscle groups and make it a habit to stretch before your training.
The above are some very common training mistakes to be aware of. Vary your routine but make sure that you are performing your exercises in the right order. Never rush your workout and make sure that you have proper rest and nutrition. All these are geared towards ensuring that your strength training sessions will continuously benefit you until you attain the body that you envisage in your mind! Want practical tips to turn your health, fitness and wellness goals a reality? Then our newly released book, “How Squats Can Change Your Life” is for you!