When new to lifting weights, it can be true that “newbie gains” can be attained when lifting for just a short while. However there are handful of common mistakes fitness novices make too often when they start a new weights routine. Rather than accepting that anything would work just by lifting the weight, its best to learn the basic principles of strength training first so you can continue- on from your progress of your “newbie gains” for as lengthy time as possible.
Below I’ve put together five common mistakes and how to avoid them:
1. Training beyond your ability
A lot of people can feel a little embarrassed to exercise with less weight, as they would worry what others around them think! This often doesn’t help you as you are exercising your ego, and not your muscles. It is always wiser to start and continue lifting weights that suit your capacity and feeling comfortable whilst performing correct technique before progressing. Make sure you are confident about what you are doing and don’t worry about how much the person next to you is thinking.
2. Using split training days
Beginners are commonly told they should work out separate muscle groups on particular days, for example, Monday: chest/tricep and Wednesday: shoulders.
While this may be effective for the more experienced gym-goer, for beginners this may be counter productive and here’s why.
Beginners need to focus on performing basic fundamental exercises through safe and correct movement first, some of these exercises being squats, deadlifts and types of upper body pulls and pushes. These exercises take a lot of practice, and these can take weeks or months. Beginners also rarely have the ability to recover from workouts that focus on single body parts with such high volume.
When starting out again its better off either with three whole-body workouts over the course of a week or one upper, one lower and a whole body workout.
Here are some examples:
3-Day Full-Body Workout
Monday: Full Body
Tuesday: Rest or light intensity cardio
Wednesday: Full Body
Friday: Full Body
Saturday: Rest or light intensity cardio
Monday: Upper body
Tuesday: Lower body
Thursday: Upper Body
Friday: Lower Body
Saturday: Rest or light cardio
3. Using poor technique
Many beginners avoid using the muscles to their full potential, they avoid using full range of motion during exercises because they haven’t been taught properly or they haven’t taken the time out to learn.
In reality, proper lifting technique performed with full range of motion on a weight that’s suitable to your capacity, results in more muscle and strength gains than using just partial ranges of motion. So next time you’re tempted to go halfway with a rep, remember that full range gets better results and will be perfectly safe if you use proper form.
4. Not following a training log
Competing against your own personal best will help you work out better. Maintain the intensity of the workout you perform each session. A great way to do this is increase the weight slightly once you have correct form or simply ‘up’ the repetitions by one or two every couple of weeks. This will help increase your workout load over time and help towards strength gain.
5. Too many sets to failure
In theory performing too many sets to failure may be halting your progress. Its often tempting to take every set of every exercise to the point where you cant complete the final rep properly, it turns out that you can make the same progress with far less strain.
A 2016 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine shows us that non-failure training leads to better gains in muscle strength and growth than training to failure. This is important because stopping each set just shy of failure means you are less likely to use improper form, increasing the likelihood of an effective set afterwards and reducing risk of injury.
So, stop most of your sets 1-2 reps shy of failure, the more complicated the exercise (i.e deadlifts, barbell squats), require more care whereas single joint exercises (i.e, seated lateral raises, bicep curls) can be trained to failure with less risk of injury.
To see how we can help you reach your strength and physique goals, call us on: 02084329991 for a free assessment.