7 Common Strength Training Mistakes. Is Your Workout Making You Weak?
I wanted to make a post outlining the most common strength training mistakes I see in the gym on a regular basis.I know that all of us reach sticking points in strength gains, but you could be doing a few things in your workout that are sabotaging your own progress. In my rush to getting stronger in my early days of lifting, I made these same mistakes. Use this post as a checklist next time you get stuck. Strength training is safe and easy when done properly, but can make you weak and sore if done wrong.
[I was overdue for an odd photo, so this should do the job. As usual, only about 1/2 of the photos on my site have anything to do with the article. This weekend I am going with a few friends to a beach house that has a nice hot tub overlooking the water. I guess this photo relates to that, but hopefully we won’t be attacking each other!]
Why I Recommend Strength Training Over Bodybuilding
Before I get into the article, I just wanted to give a quick summary of why I believe strength training is the way to go to look and feel your best. I push the idea of gaining strength without increasing the size of the muscle.
This is accomplished by lifting a low amount of sets and reps and getting stronger without breaking down the muscle with fatigue. The more efficient a muscle gets (same size + more strength), the better tone it will display.
Strength Training Is Different From Traditional Gym Routines
Most of the typical routines I see in the gym are “bodybuilding influenced”. What I mean by that is the goal of the workout is to break down and fatigue the muscle. One of the ideas is progressive overload…using heavier weights over time…but since fatigue is involved the result is muscle breakdown.
Breaking down the muscle” is great for building mass, but a terrible strategy if long-term strength gains are your goal. Strength training has a completely different goal. By listing these common strength training mistakes, you will hopefully gain a better understanding of crucial strength training concepts. Let’s do this!
Mistake #1: Training to Failure or Using “Forced Reps”
I don’t even need a spotter anymore. Know why? I have stopped 1-2 reps short of failure for close to 10 years. Training to failure can work for the short term.
You can get stronger for a few weeks and possibly even a couple of months, but those strength gains will come to a halt at some point. The problem with training to failure is that it is sending negative feedback to your nervous system. The next time you try to lift the weight, your nerve impulses to your muscles will be weakened a bit.
This causes weaker contractions in the future and at some point training to failure will catch up with you. You will actually become weaker in that lift!