July 23rd, 2017
lat pull down

5 Weight Lifting Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Weight lifting or resistance training is an essential part of any fitness routine.

Lifting weights will not only help you build muscle, but also improve your metabolism, preserve bone health as you age, and provide countless other health benefits.

In order to reap these benefits, make sure you’re spending your time both in and out of the gym wisely, maximizing your effort.

Here are a few mistakes you may be making when it comes to lifting weights, and how to remedy them for optimal results.

5 Weight Lifting Mistakes You’re Probably Making

1. You’re Lifting Too Light

lat pull down
We’ve all seen those cute little pink 2lb dumbbells in the gym, but what are they really there for?

You may not realize it, but you “lift weights” every day when you carry a basket of laundry, pick up your purse or backpack (I know mine weighed at least 10lbs in high school), and perform daily life tasks.

When you head into the gym, you need to challenge your muscles. If the weight you choose in the gym isn’t heavy enough, your muscles will not grow.

Related: Why Weightlifting Is More Important For Fat Loss Than Cardio

So what does it mean to lift “heavy?” Choose a weight where the last 1-2 repetitions of your set are difficult to complete.

Whether you are performing sets of 6 or 12, the last few reps should be a real challenge.

Even if you are following the “light weight, high repetitions” mentality, the weight should still be challenging enough that those last few repetitions cause a bit of a struggle.

This struggle is the overload of effort that actually causes your muscles to grow.

However, you never want to lift so heavy that your form breaks down, which leads me to my next point.

2. You’re Lifting Too Heavy

Just as you don’t want to lift insignificantly light weight, you also never want to lift such a heavy weight that you cannot keep proper form.

Perfecting your form before adding more weight to an exercise is not only key in preventing injury, but also in getting the best results.

When your form breaks down from lifting too heavy, other muscles and body parts overcompensate for what the main muscles cannot do.

For instance, if your knees cave in while you’re squatting, it can indicate weak glutes.

Instead of adding weight to your squat while your knees continue to cave in (a form flaw), work on squatting with a lighter weight to strengthen your glutes and keep your knees in line with your toes.

3. You’re Neglecting the Little Things

not seeing results
The best part about lifting weights is well, lifting the weights. However, there are a few important steps of the weight lifting process that are often neglected when we’re in a rush to get to “the good stuff.”

Warming up properly before every weight lifting session is crucial for injury prevention.

When your muscles are “cold,” they are tight and thus prone to pulling more easily. In order to ensure a great workout, injury free, make sure to warm-up for at least 5 minutes before every workout.

A good warm-up will include stretching, foam rolling, and a dynamic warm-up to get blood flowing to your muscles.

Recovering and resting are also key steps in a long and healthy weight lifting career.

Taking a day or two off to allow your muscles to recover will actually help them to perform better each time you return to the gym.

Stretching and foam rolling aren’t limited to your warm-up only, they should be incorporated on rest days as well.

4. You’re Not Using The Mind-Muscle Connection

exercise plateaus
When you get to the gym, your workout should be the only thing on your mind. Easier said than done though, right?

You’ve got e-mails to answer, a text message to reply to, dinner to cook, a call to make, and 800 other things on the to-do list.

But if you aren’t focusing on your muscles and your effort in the gym, you might as well not be there.

To learn more about the mind-muscle connection and why it is so important to weight lifting success, check out this article: 3 Tips to Master the Mind-Muscle Connection

5. You Don’t Have a Plan

fitness goals
If you truly want to see results in the gym, you need to know that you are progressing.

Lifting the same weight every week for the same amount of sets and reps will eventually cause your progress to stall.

As your muscles get stronger, they need to be “overloaded” with more volume, either by adding weight, sets, or reps to your workout.

The best way to ensure your progress is to plan your progress.

If you squatted 50lbs for 4 sets of 10 reps last week, try to squat 60lbs for 4 sets of 10 this week.

If you did bicep curls with 10’s for 3 sets of 8 last week, try 3 sets of 12 this week.

Push yourself to lift more each time that you workout. Without increasing the intensity of your workout, you will never progress.

In order to see a change, you need to make a change!

Write down your workouts so that you know exactly how to progress each week. Then you can look back in a few months and see just how far you’ve come!

Heather Roberts

Heather is a 24 year-old personal trainer and fitness nutritionist living in Boston, MA. Heather has competed in bodybuilding and is now learning powerlifting. She loves learning new training techniques and diversifying herself as an athlete. Heather works with nutrition clients to help teach them flexible dieting and how to create a maintainable healthy lifestyle. Her belief is that consistency is key and everything can be enjoyed in moderation. Heather has used her social media platforms to connect with other open-minded, fitness-loving individuals who share a passion for food and healthy living! Connect with her on Instagram @heatherrfit.

3 Best Exercises For Sculpted Shoulders

Best Leg Workout For Strong And Sculpted Legs