Resistance training is a vital component of your fat loss progress. It also you to build muscle, lose body fat, increase strength and improve in areas such as flexibility, mobility, balance, stability and energy levels.
However, many people start training without much knowledge of what to prioritise and how to get the most out of their sessions. As a result, you can make several mistakes that limit your progress and can even lead to injury. It is vital that the hard work you put in gets rewarded, so avoiding common mistakes is going to be key to your adherence in the long term.
What are these mistakes? And how do you avoid them so that you make the best progress possible?
Poor Exercise Execution
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their training is not placing enough emphasis on technique. As a result, not only can you not make progress with your body shape, but you also put yourself at a much higher risk of gaining a serious injury, particularly on the heavier, compound lifts. This is why, before you look to increase or even add any weight, your exercise execution needs to be of a high standard.
For some people, this can progress easily, and once it does, only then must resistance be added. For others, it takes weeks to perform an exercise correctly and move to the next level. However, this is a great indicator of progress because it shows improvement in coordination, balance, flexibility, knowledge, and your ability to feel a muscle group working. Make sure that exercise execution is high on your list of priorities when training.
Lifting Too Heavy
Another common mistake that is made by many people, particularly males, is lifting more weight than they can handle. In order to gain more muscle, you need to make sure that you are consistently overloading the muscle(s), week by week so that it is working harder, meaning that the breaking down is more intense during the session and therefore new muscle tissue is being developed during the eating and recovery phases.
However, lifting too heavy before exercise execution, stability, flexibility and mobility has improved is only going to the target muscle not being hit properly, poor quality sessions and the potential of an injury. So, make sure that you are comfortable with a certain exercise before you increase the weight over time, both for the benefit of your progress and safety when training.
When you train, it is very easy to do a set of an exercise very quickly because you want to get it done as fast as possible. This only serves to improve your endurance, not fat loss or muscle gain because you are limiting what we call ‘time under tension’, which is the amount of time the targeted muscle is being worked for. It is important that you push yourself and not just stroll through the session. If you do not work your body hard enough, you will see limited progression in a number of areas, such as fat loss (due to a fewer number of calories burned), muscle gain, strength, fitness and enjoyment. While it will be easy to add muscle when you don’t have much initially, if you want to develop them more, your training sessions have to be intense, structured and of high quality.
Along with performing effective exercises and nailing your execution, make sure your tempo (the speed at which you lift) is slow and controlled, so that you maximise time under tension, which encourages muscle development and growth. Also ensure that you are lifting an appropriate weight for your strength levels – go off the reading of performing ten reps, with the last few being challenging – and then gradually work up from there as you get stronger.
Incorrect Rep Ranges
Another common training mistake is performing exercise in the wrong rep ranges. Firstly, people either overdo a one-rep max, which is a set one repetition lifting the heaviest load you can lift. While this is good to test strength levels, this will not ultimately build muscle and in fact increases your chance of getting an injury, particularly if you have not perfected good technique. Secondly, people perform too many reps, which is usually more than 12. This will only improve endurance, as there is likely not enough load to strengthen and build muscle.
To build muscle and change your body shape, you must focus on sticking to an 8-12 rep range, with the intention of muscle breakdown through time under tension, which will lead to a much bigger chance of muscle growth and development. Consistent repetitions with a weight that is safe but manageable will allow your body to adapt to lifting more weight over time. So, pick the weight that is appropriate to you and stick to a larger rep range to build strength in your body.
Lack of Exercise Variety
Another common training mistake people make is doing the same exercises over and over again. In certain cases, this is not always a bad thing, especially with a beginner, and not overwhelming yourself with a vast array of different exercises to learn helps build confidence and strength with the movements you start with. However, not adding in a good, balanced variety of exercises limits your ability to target different muscle groups and achieve great results.
If you are someone who has developed more strength and skill when training, you should have a balance of compound (heavier, more demanding lifts) and isolation movements. Compound movements will work multiple muscle groups at once and help you improve your flexibility and core strength, while isolation exercises focus on one muscle groups and is vital for building muscle in a specific area. Making sure you combine the two and target different muscles will help you build a stronger, more balanced body.
So, when you are training, there are common mistakes people make that you need to ensure that you avoid, such as poor exercise execution, lifting too heavy, fast tempo, incorrect rep ranges and lack of variety. Aim to improve in these areas and you will find that the quality of your training sessions increases, leading to more progress and, ultimately, better results.
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