Sourcing the ultimate weightlifting plan or cleaning up your diet is the first step to making a real change in your body. But sometimes, although you feel you’re doing everything right, it just isn’t delivering the desired results. Here, we’ll look at a few extremely common mistakes among weightlifters which are easily fixed. Do any of these look familiar to you?
1. Posture and form
Correcting your form is the easiest way to reduce injury and maximise muscle retention. Your posture is the key component that can turn an impressive deadlift into a severe back problem. When pulling, your body’s initial reaction is to use its own momentum to force the weight up. When pushing, your back is often the first place to lose form, putting major spinal areas at risk.
Correcting this mistake
Firstly, leg movements like dead-lifts, squats and lunges require continuous control in the core and lower back to maintain a FLAT spine. Keep close to a mirror whenever you’re doing these workouts to watch out for any curving of the upper or lower back.
Secondly, let’s keep those upper body workouts exclusively for that area. If you feel your body swinging to compensate for the weight, change to a lighter option or a different movement altogether.
2. The wrong starting weight
Spend some time analysing your abilities before bringing a new exercise to your regime. Testing and trailing out an accurate starting weight will not only help your overall lift improve faster, but will increase the effectiveness of your workout.
A few minor tweaks…
For toning and lean muscle development, you should be almost unable to complete the 10th rep out of 12 (4-5 sets). For muscle size and strength, the 4th rep out of 5 is a good start (3-4 sets).
An inflated ego is needed in very few situations. Similar to its place in the bedroom, your gym session is somewhere an ego is ultimately uninvited, unnecessary and unknowingly harmful.
Let’s try to fix this…
Do yourself a favor and check in with your ego before and after you start your gym session or exercise class. Bring it to your attention and your focus, motivation and concentration can improve dramatically. An inflated ego is the number one cause of exercise-based injuries (yet to be proven), so take a step back and check yourself so you don’t wreck yourself.
4. Protein intake
A high protein diet does so much more than deliver to you the gains of your dreams. Protein is also a key component in your body for energy production. As it is made up of amino acids, protein acts as the delivery service of nutrients and vitamins to every muscle in your body. A decrease in your body’s access to these minerals can reduce the amount of energy your body has access to. The result? You’re left feeling lethargic, disinterested and unfocused.
The next time you’re dreading the gym, or can feel yourself slacking off early during exercise, have a look at your protein intake. You’ll probably find you’re lacking this vital element in your diet.
5. The right rep-range
Often, the planned number of reps per exercise are forgotten about during high intensity moments. When you want to pump out an extra few reps, or quit a few reps early, know that this might be the reason you aren’t seeing the desired results. Your ‘rep-range’ coincides with your ultimate fitness goal. As discussed previously, the higher the rep-range the more lean muscle development. For a lower rep range, you’re looking at size and mass gains.
How do you fix this?
By sticking to the planned range, you’re allowing yourself to reach your fitness or muscle development goals faster. It also gives you a clearer idea of where to start out in your next workout. Two ways to make sure of this is to set realistic rep goals or take a mid-set break before finishing the set.
6. Too many Isolated exercises
A common mistake among weightlifters is the dedication of entire routines to ‘isolated exercises’. These moves such as a dumbbell hammer curl focus on a particular muscle (in this case, the bicep) and isolate it from the rest of the body. Although these exercises are great for developing targeted strength and mobility, it shouldn’t be the bulk of your workout.
Compound exercises such as a seated shoulder press activate the usage of more than one muscle group – using your shoulders, deltoids and triceps (if controlled on the decline). Instead of building muscle in a small area, they incorporate a greater range of muscles, resulting in an increase in overall strength and definition.
With the amount of information we have access to, there are no excuses for making simple lifting mistakes. Minor changes or tweaks to your routine can maximise recovery time, dramatically reduce the risk of injury and speed up your muscle development exponentially.