Strength training is a great way to improve your health and fitness no matter your age or weight. It’s healthy, and efficient, and can even be fun for those who like to try out different methods. However, when it comes to strength training, there are a few common mistakes that people make.
Even if you’ve been following strength training exercises for years, whether you’ve chosen resistance training or another form of training, it’s likely that you’ve fallen victim to one of these simple, yet common mistakes.
#1. Training With Too Much
Many people think that in order for strength training to be efficient, they have to use the heaviest weights or the most resistance possible. For a lot of them, this belief stems from a fear that other people will judge them for using lighter weights.
When it comes to strength training, it’s vital for both your health and safety that you listen to your body and only train with what your body has the capacity for. Going too hard too soon can leave your muscles in worse shape than they were before, so take the time to gradually build up weight in a way that doesn’t put too much stress on your body.
#2. Side-to-Side Strength Imbalance
When you first start strength training, you will likely notice that one side of your body is stronger than the other. This tends to happen subconsciously and many people don’t realize that it’s actually something you should work on correcting.
Side-to-side imbalances are most often based on which hand is your dominant one. Right-handed people will find that the left side of their body feels weaker whereas left-handed people will find the opposite is true. When it comes to bench pressing, one arm may lock up before the other and one side may struggle to keep up.
Strength imbalances can be fixed by adding unilateral training to your workout. By working on one side of your body at a time, you’ll actually get a better workout and develop more symmetrical strength throughout your body.
#3. Exercising Until Your Muscles Fail
This is another problem that stems from fear and stigma. Many people believe that if they don’t exhaust themselves, they aren’t working out hard enough or building up enough strength. They force themselves to complete more and more repetitions, putting their body through much more than it can handle and only stopping when their muscles fail them.
If you find yourself working out until your body gives out and you simply cannot continue, you increase your risk of injury. Even with a spotter nearby, your body won’t be able to help you should something go wrong.
When following a workout class or creating your resistance training routine, make sure to listen to your body. Stop or slow down if you feel your muscles starting to fail and don’t feel bad about it. Even the pros know when to stop, so take a page out of their book and stop your workout before your muscles fail.
Most people already recognize that instability is a problem that should be fixed. Whether you only notice it during heavy lifts or when completing certain exercises, instability is something that you should tackle as soon as you start to notice it.
There are a couple of ways to combat instability: incorporating lateral exercises and spending some time focusing on your core. Your core should always make up some part of your workout routine, but if you notice yourself shifting from side to side when you lift, adding some additional lateral exercises can help you work out of this.
Whether you’re just a beginner or you’ve been following resistance and strength training exercises for years, here are some core exercises to improve stability that you can add to your current regime as well.
#5. No Specific Workout Regime
When it comes to strength training, it’s highly recommended that you work with a professional trainer in order to benefit from a custom workout regime. Not only will this help you improve areas that need it the most, but it will also ensure that the exercises you do aren’t too hard on your body.
A professional trainer will know exactly how to help you meet your goals, whether you just want to increase your strength or you want to start bodybuilding. In any case, an expert will create a specific workout plan that is built for your current fitness level and will work toward your personal goals.
If your workout regime consists of following what others at the gym do, then you open yourself up to the risk of injury. You also won’t be able to recognize the benefit of each workout. Everybody is different and will benefit from different exercises. In order to ensure that your workouts are benefiting you, talk with a trainer or other professional and take their advice to heart.
#6. Too Many Reps
Strength training is less about the number of reps you can do and more about the weight that you lift. There is, of course, a balance between the two that should not be ignored, but it’s important to remember that 5 reps of a heavier weight can be much more beneficial than 20 reps of a lighter weight.
Doing too many reps can not only be inefficient, but it can also lead to injury if you aren’t careful. By working consistently at a heavier weight and only doing a few reps, you’ll reduce your risk of injury without lowering the effect of your workout.
Never Be Afraid to Ask for Input
Over time, your training regime will likely change and evolve as your strength increases and your body requires different exercises in order to benefit from your workouts. When you start a new program or take on different exercises, you may not recognize the mistakes that you make.
To help you avoid falling victim to common mistakes and to keep you safe while working out, never be afraid to ask someone else for input. Contact a personal trainer for advice on how to improve your form. Video yourself in order to see where you might be a little lopsided or uneven. By learning to recognize and correct mistakes, you’ll improve your workouts and benefit even more from your strength training regime.