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Most people think that weightlifting is a surefire way to get in shape, and for the most part, they’re right. Weightlifting can be an incredibly effective way to burn fat, build muscle, and improve your overall fitness level. However, if it’s not done correctly, you could actually be sabotaging your progress and preventing yourself from reaching your fitness goals. Here are 11 of the most common weightlifting mistakes, along with tips on how to avoid them.
Not warming up properly before lifting weights
One of the most common weightlifting mistakes is not properly warming up before lifting weights. It’s important to warm up your muscles before lifting in order to prevent injury and improve your performance.
A good warm-up should consist of light cardio and dynamic stretches. You can do a light jog, jump rope, or ride a stationary bike for 5-10 minutes to get your heart rate up, then do some dynamic stretches like leg swings, arm circles, and torso twists.
Failing to use proper form
Another common mistake people make when lifting weights is failing to use proper form. Using proper form not only helps prevent injuries, especially for power lifting such as deadlifts. It also ensures that you’re targeting the right muscles with each exercise.
When performing any weightlifting exercises, it’s important to move slowly and deliberately. Avoid using momentum to lift the weights, and always focus on your form over how much weight you can lift. Bouncing or jerking motions are also a no-no because they can put unnecessary strain on your joints.
If you’re not sure how to properly execute an exercise, ask a certified personal trainer or fitness professional for help.
Not giving your muscles enough time to recover
In order for your muscles to grow, they need time to recover in between workouts. When you lift weights, you’re actually causing microscopic tears in your muscle fibers, and your body needs time to repair these. In fact, a nap after a workout is one of the best things you can do for muscle growth.
If you don’t allow your muscles enough time to recover, they won’t be able to fully rebuild and grow stronger, which can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue, and injury. Make sure you’re getting at least 48 hours of rest in between weightlifting sessions.
Focusing on the wrong muscles
When trying to build muscle, it’s important to focus on the right muscles. Many people make the mistake of just going through the motions without really focusing on the muscles they’re trying to target.
For example, if you’re doing bicep curls, don’t just swing your arms up and down. Instead, focus on contracting your biceps as you curl the weights up. Really feel the burn in your biceps and hold the contraction for a second or two at the top of the curl.
Not eating enough protein
In order to build muscle, you need to eat enough protein. Protein is the building block of muscle, so without adequate protein intake, your muscles won’t be able to grow.
How much protein you need depends on a variety of factors such as your age, weight, activity level, and muscle-building goals. The general rule of thumb is to consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim for about 54 grams of protein per day.
Another common mistake people make when weightlifting is overtraining. Many people think that the more they exercise, the faster their results will come, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, too much exercise can actually have a negative impact on your progress by causing excessive muscle soreness and fatigue, as well as leaving you feeling burned out.
To avoid overtraining, make sure you’re giving your body enough rest between workouts. Allow at least 48 hours of recovery time in between weightlifting sessions, and don’t be afraid to take an occasional day off from the gym altogether.
Eating Unhealthy Foods
Just because you’re working out doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. If your diet consists of nothing but junk food, you’re not going to see the results you want. Eating healthy foods is important for both your physical and mental health.
In order to fuel your workouts and promote muscle growth, you need to eat a diet that’s high in protein and complex carbohydrates. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy. Complex carbs include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Not using a proper weightlifting routine
If you really want to see results from your weightlifting efforts, you need to follow a proper weightlifting routine. This means choosing exercises that are appropriate for your goals and performing them in a way that maximizes your results.
For example, if your goal is to build muscle, you’ll want to focus on compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once, such as
Skipping cardio exercises
While weightlifting is great for building muscle, it’s not enough on its own. You also need to do some form of cardio exercise in order to lose fat and improve your overall fitness level.
Cardio exercises such as walking, running, biking, and swimming help to increase your heart rate and burn calories. If you want to up your cardio more, consider adding resistance bands or using a jump rope.
Lifting too much weight, too quickly
There are a number of common weightlifting mistakes that can lead to serious injuries if not managed properly. Many weightlifters rush into heavy weight classes too quickly, often exceeding their body’s weight threshold and putting themselves at risk for a strain or tear in the muscles or tendons. Other weightlifters may lift through improper form, which can lead to injuries in the spine and lower back. And still other weightlifters neglect to properly warm up and stretch before their workouts, which can strain their muscles and increase the risk of injury.
If you are new to weightlifting or simply want to avoid injury, it is important to be mindful of these common mistakes and take steps to prevent them. This might include lifting lighter weights over longer periods of time, focusing on proper form at all times, and warming up your body with some light cardio or stretching before hitting the weights. With some careful attention and planning, you can reduce your risk of injury while reaping all of the great benefits that weightlifting has to offer. So go ahead – pick up those weights and start feeling stronger today!
Not stretching after working out
Finally, one of the most common weightlifting mistakes is not stretching after your workout. Stretching is vital for preventing injury and improving your flexibility.
After lifting weights, be sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. You can also try doing some static stretches (slowly moving into a stretch and holding it) or Yoga after your workout for an added challenge.
In summary, there are many common weightlifting mistakes that can sabotage your progress and prevent you from reaching your fitness goals. These include not warming up properly before lifting weights, failing to use proper form, not giving your muscles enough time to recover between workouts, focusing on the wrong types of exercises, and skipping cardio workouts.
With a little attention to detail and some careful planning, however, you can avoid these common mistakes and start seeing the results you want from your weightlifting efforts. So get out there and start lifting today!