Opting for strength training is a great decision for everyone, irrespective of their age or weight. It does a lot of good for your present as well as future health. However, it’s important to note that thousands of people get injured due to strength training every year as they make one common mistake or the other. Even when you have been doing it for quite some time, and think that you can do it perfectly and no risks are involved, you might not be correct all the time.
Studies have found that people tend to make very similar mistakes during their strength training regimen, which usually remain unnoticed. But it is important to figure out these mistakes in order to avoid injury during your training sessions.
Here is a list of the most common strength training mistakes that should be—and can be—avoided:
1. Training beyond your capacity.
There are a lot of people who feel a little embarrassed to exercise with less weight, as they are worried about what others will think! This ultimately doesn’t help you as you are exercising your ego, and not your muscles. It is always wiser to lift weight that suits to your capacity, and not something that will injure your tissues or muscles. So, make sure you are confident about what you do and are not influenced about what others think or say.
2. Exercising until your muscles fail.
Make sure you have a trainer beside you while opting for strength training. This is important as they will help you complete repetitions if it becomes tough for you to complete all the sets on your own. But then, make sure this does not become a habit and you are not taking your instructor’s help each and every time you are doing a set. If you keep on training your muscles until they fail, you are exposed to the risk of heavy injuries.
3. You are not clear about your exercise regime.
If you are thinking of doing the exercises that you see others doing at your gym, you are making a big mistake. Make sure you consult a fitness expert; tell them your physical condition as well as your requirements. They will consider all the factors thoroughly and then create a customized exercise regime to suit your health and fitness objectives. Make sure you are aware of the purpose of each of the workouts before doing them. For instance, if you don’t know why you have been told to do barbell bench, instead of dumb bell press, figure out the reasons for it.
4. Using too many reps.
You might want to add muscle and gain some weight quickly, which is why you have decided to work hard at the gym. Now, if you think that working hard is similar to overworking yourself and doing too many repetitions, you are wrong. Many people tend to do more repetitions than they have been instructed to do, and thus injure themselves. Make sure you are doing a maximum of five repetitions of every exercise as this will help you gain weight. You can also include some test boosters to get more effective results
5. Working out during illness or injury.
It is rightly said that you need to get proper amounts of rest when you are feeling sick. Sickness gives rise to weakness. Working out when you’re ill will leave you tired without giving you the expected benefits. Adequate amounts of rest will help your body consume energy that will help you recover from the illness. Do not make use of this energy to build muscle tissues, as this might worsen the situation. Similarly, it is advised to take ample rest after an injury. This will help you recover sooner and prevent the situation from worsening.
6. Inadequate amounts of rest before the next workout.
Various studies have reported that the muscles in our body need about 24 to 48 hours to recover after a workout. This depends on the kind of workout, the intensity and the diet followed during those days. Rest is the best way to let your muscles recover by themselves. There is no doubt that by working out, you are stimulating growth in your body. But this growth takes place only when we take enough rest after the workout. Rest also helps muscles gain enough strength for further working out.
7. Lack of warm up exercises.
The majority of injuries usually occur due to inadequate amounts of warm up. Warm ups are necessary as you need to get your heart rate up and let the blood reach the muscles before you perform any heavy exercises. Some dynamic stretching can be a part of warming up too. This will help prevent further injuries.
8. Denying the consumption of food.
Many of us love eating, and we do not keep track of what we eat and the quantity we consume it in. But our eating habits contribute majorly to the success or otherwise of our weight loss plans. Many people are used to denying the amount of food they actually eat. It is advisable to be true to yourself and keep track of what you eat. Noting it down and maintaining a food diary will help you realize the actual amounts of food that you eat. This will help you keep control over your diet as well.
9. The fixed workout routine.
The principle of adaptability states that when you get used to a certain routine or task, you will be able to perform that even better if you keep repeating it. A similar effect can be seen in the workout pattern. It is a good practice for sportspeople to follow the same routine, but when you are working out for weight loss, it is best advised that you keep altering the workouts. The alterations can be to the movements you choose, the amount of weights you use, or the number of repetitions you follow.
10. Measuring the wrong results.
A person undergoing a weight loss plan always thinks that the best way to check results is the scales. But we fail to understand that there are a few exercises that burn fat and a few that help build muscle. Thus, judging your results based solely on your weight is a bad idea. You may not find the scales showing rapid results and this could cause you to be discouraged. Taking your measurements is a better indicator of progress.
11. Improper methods and techniques.
If you have made up your mind to exercise and lose weight, just doing a little bit of movement will not help. You need to learn the correct exercises that work on specific body parts and also the frequency and the number of times they have to be repeated. Exercising without focusing on the necessary techniques will lead to further injuries. Thus, the best way to learn the correct way of exercising is by starting with a personal trainer or a coach.
12. Lack of carbohydrates and fats.
It is usually said that people who have undertaken a weight loss program should avoid the consumption of carbohydrates and fats. This is actually untrue. You need to consume enough of both these nutrients, just from the right source. Carbohydrates are considered to be the main source of energy in our body. If not present, the body will use any other nutrient to produce energy, after which we may feel weak. Adequate amounts of fat from sources such as olive oil and organic nuts are also necessary.
13. Not following a training log.
Competing against your own performance will help you work out better. Maintain the intensity of the workout you perform each day. A great way to do this is by multiplying the number of repetitions with the amount of weight you have taken. Then, next time, you can increase the number of repetitions, or the weight, or both. This will help you increase the amount and the time of your workout daily.
14. Workouts that segregate muscle groups.
Many people perform exercises that might focus on a particular muscle group, usually the hamstrings or the biceps. In general it’s better to avoid such isolated exercises. Rather it is best to perform exercises like squats, in which all the muscles—from the legs up to the shoulder—get a workout.
Before you work out, make sure you are aware of these 14 pitfalls and steer clear of them. Also, consult your trainer to know about the best dietary supplements that you can include in your diet for quick results.