Last time, we talked about some of the mistakes beginners make when trying to lose weight. One of these mistakes was the fact that some people don’t work out when trying to lose weight. However, if one does start working out for weight loss or muscle gain, sometimes they follow the wrong path. Are you on the right path? Here are 5 of the most common mistakes beginners make when working out:

“Lazy” Training

One of the most common mistakes people make when they start working out is thinking about training the wrong way. Many people just show up at the gym, walk on a treadmill for an hour and leave. Some people go through a proper training routine but it’s still not effective. Why? It’s because you shouldn’t think of an exercise as going from point A to point B and then repeating the movement 12 times.

You shouldn’t focus on getting to a given number of reps for each exercise. You need to attack your exercises, exert energy. For example, when doing a bench press, try to explosively come up (come up fast). Whenever you grab a dumbbell or a barbell, grab a hold of it and squeeze it as hard as you can. This way, you’re able to exert a lot more energy than you would think and you would actually be attacking the weights instead of just passively completing your workout.

In order to create any stimulus, it’s important to challenge the body. Lazy training does not challenge the body which is one of the main reasons for a lack of results. You don’t need to stay two hours or even an hour at the gym. If the workout is intense, you can be done pretty fast. Each workout should leave you in a pile of sweat, it’s a good indicator for an intense workout.

Not going through the full Range of Motion

You may have seen the words “range of motion” float around a lot of exercise tutorials. It’s because it is really important when it comes to working your muscles. Proper (and full) range of motion results in your muscles contracting and stretching like the exercise is supposed to make them do which in turn produces results. What most people end up doing is not going through the full range of motion.

Proper range of motion for a bench press

The most popular example is the bench press or the bicep curl. For the former, people often stop midway with the bar, count it as one full rep, go back up and repeat. However, the full range of motion for this exercise is to bring the bar down to your chest, almost bringing it in contact with it and then taking the bar back up. Similarly, for the bicep curl what many people do is avoid bringing the dumbbell (or barbell) down to full extension of the arm and just go straight back up to the curl.

That’s not the correct way to do a bicep curl and it won’t bring you any fancy results. Instead, let it the weight go down all the way to full extension and then perform the rep again. Full range of motion is critical for proper muscle and strength gains, you won’t get far without it.

Avoiding the “Big” Lifts

There are many people who avoid big compound lifts such as the bench press, the squat or the deadlift for one reason or the other. Sometimes the reason is due to a fear of performing an exercise or other factors such as self-consciousness. Usually, when you enter a gym, you see bars loaded with plates and a lot of people pushing lots of weight on these exercises.

If you’re a beginner, chances are you won’t be pushing that much weight nor will you be stacking up that many plates on the bar. Therefore, these beginners often elect to skip the exercises altogether so they can avoid “looking bad” in front of others. It’s either this mindset or a general fear of an exercise because it’s hard to perform. However, the harder the exercise the greater the rewards.

Moreover, compound lifts earn their name because they recruit a lot of different muscles and joints. Therefore, you’re using and working a lot of muscles when performing such a lift, so you’ll naturally be able to lift more weight. Therefore, our workouts should be centered around the big lifts, there’s no reason to run away from them. Big lifts help increase strength, muscle, they burn a lot of calories as well. Overall, they’re quite helpful, regardless of your goals so start incorporating them into your workout regime.

Letting others get your weights for you

Now, this may sound a bit silly but it’s a common theme in many gyms. A lot of times when people start out, they hire a trainer to oversee their training. Trainers aren’t bad, in fact, they can be really helpful. Even the most popular athletes have trainers, that’s not the issue here. The problem is that some trainers will get your weights or dumbbells for you or even put your plates on the bar for you.

This is actually a big no for long-term grip strength. By letting others get your weights for you, there’s a huge opportunity being missed. You’re losing the chance to build hand or grip strength in your forearms which is essential for many exercises. You’ll notice that by picking up and taking your weights yourself, you’ll gain a considerable amount of grip strength which helps in other exercises.

When your grip strength improves, your ability to perform other exercises improves. Therefore, you can start adding more weight to other exercises once you improve your grip strength. A simple example is the hanging ab crunch. You won’t be able to hang for long on the bar if you don’t have adequate grip strength. Therefore, it’s highly important to carry the weights yourself in order to build some grip strength along the way.

Ego Lifting

Perhaps the most common mistake beginners make is lifting more weight than their bodies can actually handle. This is true for a lot of people even if they might not notice or acknowledge it. You might be wondering, how can you lift more than what you can handle? It’s simple actually. In an exercise where the primary muscle of your body the exercise is supposed to target cannot handle the load, your body will start making compensations.

These compensations can come in the form of posture changes, or recruiting other muscles to help lift that load. Of course, this has its limitations too as your body can compensate so much. However, it’s a big issue. One example is the squat, some people bend over too much to the front almost making it look as they’re bowing down when they go down for the squat. It’s really easy to get used to these compensations too.

This gets dangerous even further because once your body starts making these compensations, over time it improves its ability to compensate. Therefore, you might be adding more weight each week thinking that you’re on the right track, but it’s actually your body’s compensatory strength that’s increasing. When entering the gym, check your ego out the door. It’s important to perform exercises with the load you can handle with the correct form. If the form isn’t correct then you can even hurt yourself. Therefore, it’s best to check if you’re doing the exercise right or not.

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