Not everything you learned about lifting weights in the past holds true in today’s world with advancements in exercise physiology. Additionally, you can’t always trust what you read on the internet. As a trainer/instructor, there are a few major mistakes I see often in my classes, and walking around the gym. I’m not talking about proper form either, these mistakes are a little less visible to the untrained eye:
1. Light weights with too many repetitions
Chances are, you’ve been trained to think that 8 to 10 repetitions of an exercise makes for a perfect set. Performing more than eight reps will help you build muscular endurance, but not much else. If toning or getting stronger is your goal, opt for fewer reps with heavier weight. Start with a weight that’s 10-20% heavier than what you’d normally use for 8-12 reps. Perform 3 or 4 sets of 5 reps!
2. Wearing the wrong shoes
Did you know what you wear on your feet matters when it comes to lifting? It’s one of the most important considerations you need to make to stay injury free, and also get the most out of your hard earned reps! While it doesn’t matter too much if you’re doing concentrated upper body exercises, it matters in compound full body lifts.
Opt for a shoe that is flat and grippy. The closer your foot is to the ground, the better support you’ll have in heavy lifts. It also helps you feel and understand the correct form! My personal favorite shoes for lifting include Inov-8, Converse/Vans and Nike Metcon 4’s.
3. Not having a workout plan
When it comes to weight lifting, nothing will keep you from your goals more than not having a consistent plan. Weight lifting is all about calculated consistency, and hard work. Simply carving out time isn’t enough: you need to build and use a plan that targets your goals. One of the easiest and least daunting ways to plan your lifts is basing them around certain muscle groups. Alternate exercises between muscle groups to allow for proper recovery time!
4. Avoiding exercises you dislike/aren’t good at
We’ve ALL been there — who absolutely hates pull-ups or burpees? Just like our personal lives, avoiding things causes problems elsewhere! When you avoid certain muscle groups or movements, it creates muscular imbalances across your body, making you more susceptible to injury and bad posture. If you aren’t good at something, take it as an opportunity to learn and improve instead: take group classes to improve on form with an instructor present, and to do lifts you wouldn’t normally do on your own during gym time!