Are you trying to gain muscle and strength but are finding that your efforts are being hampered by injury?
If so then it could be due to your lifting form.
Of course, injuries while lifting weights is quite common, but if you are making the following workout mistakes then the chances of injury will increase.
Read on to see if you are making any of these mistakes, and how to prevent injury in the future.
Mistake #1: You Are Not Being Consistent
This is probably the single biggest element that will determine your success or failure in the long term.
If you are not being consistent then regardless if you have the most scientifically designed training and nutrition plans on the planet; if you are not following them consistently they will actually be a waste of time.
Having a muscular physique is the cumulative result of literally hundreds of workouts combined with the right nutrition plan.
This takes dedication, hard work and a real focus with consistency is paramount to all of these underlying characteristics.
Mistake #2: Doing Too Much Too Soon
When you first start training you need to pace yourself.
It is no good when you first start to go in at full pace as your body will simply not be used to it.
This can lead to injuries that can seriously derail your efforts.
My suggestion to you would be to look for slow and steady results, which you can only achieve by being dedicated and consistent.
Mistake #3: Listening To The Wrong Advice
We have all done it, we see that huge guy in the gym and we ask them for advice. But how do we know that the advice they are giving is good advice?
Sometimes you will hear genuine words of wisdom, but more often than not the advice given will not work out as expected.
You will often hear that you should push through the pain to see the rewards, but this is not always good advice.
If you feel pain when working out then this could be a bad sign.
You should learn to listen to your own body. You should be able to tell whether the pain you feel is just the strain of the lift or a serious issue.
Whatever you do, don’t try to push your way through serious pain. You could end up doing more damage to yourself.
Sometimes it is best just to give your body time to recover.
If you, unfortunately, injure yourself despite following our advice then there are ways that you can treat certain injuries yourself. For example minor sprains and strains.
For chronic conditions or serious injuries then medical attention should be sought out.
I would recommend the following steps if you do injure yourself:
This is the first and probably most important aspect of your recovery.
If you have suffered an injury then leave it to heal completely. Then when you return to training the area start with a lighter weight to see how it feels.
You will soon return to your previous weights if you give yourself time to recover.
In the meantime, there are plenty of other lifts and body parts that you can train. For instance, an arm injury does not necessarily mean that you cannot train legs.
Putting ice onto the injury can help reduce swelling, just make sure to keep a damp cloth between you and the ice to avoid additional discomfort.
Compressing the injury can also help to relieve swelling and inflammation.
You can use a bandage or compression sleeve, but it should not be too tight as this can impair blood flow.
#4: Elevate The Injury
When you elevate the injury the blood will flow from the injured area, which will help to reduce swelling.
Finally, heat can help to stimulate blood flow, which will help to bring the necessary nutrients the injury needs to heal.
It is best not to use heat immediately after an injury as it can cause inflammation. However, it should be used alternatively with the icing method mentioned above to promote healing.
Mistake #4: Don’t Rely On cardio
If you want to build muscle then you should not be spending the majority of your workout with cardio.
Of course, if you are looking to build muscle for a sport then, by all means, do a little cardio but don’t neglect those free weights either.
To build muscle you will need to lift, it really is not complicated.
Mistake #5: You Are Lifting Too Much Weight
We all know that you need to push yourself to build muscle and strength, which means that we need to be increasing the weight of our lifts each time we workout.
However, if you are lifting more than you can handle then you are certainly putting yourself at a higher risk of injury.
Not only could you drop them onto yourself, and risking broken bones, but can put serious strain onto your ligaments too.
The truth is that if you are not able to perform full, controlled reps without assistance then you are probably lifting more than you should, and should probably reduce the weight.
I would suggest that you lift with proper form, even if you have to use a lower weight to avoid injury and the days, weeks or even months necessary for the recuperation.
Mistake #6: Skipping The Compound Exercises
Unfortunately, many lifters envisage that by doing isolated exercises such as chest flies and leg curls is the only method of making their muscles develop effectively.
However compound moves like squats, deadlifts, rows and presses recruit a larger amount of muscle fibres which impose bigger stress on your muscle for improved gains.
During compound moves by the very nature of using more muscle groups through a multitude of joints equates to heavier lift and increases in muscular size and strength.
Compare the amount of weight lifted between isolated and compound moves and this should be a wake-up call to start implementing more whole-body lifts into your program. Think of compound lifts as building the muscle mass and isolated exercise as sculpting the muscle.
When you perform compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts you will be using a lot of different muscles.
This will cause a surge of testosterone and other hormones to be released by your body that will ultimately help to increase the size and strength of your muscles.
Mistake #7: A Lack Of Nutrition
What you lift in the gym is not the most important aspect of your training, what you eat is.
You need to eat in order to grow, so fill up on that protein, those carbs and healthy fats.
Relying on supplements or protein powders is also a mistake too. Of course, they have their place but you still need the nutrition that only real food can provide.
Mistake #8: Focusing On Quantity Instead Of Quality
When you are at the gym you need to make sure that you are spending quality time there.
You need to train hard, with intensity, otherwise, you are likely to be wasting your time.
Bad form can cause serious injury, especially if you are lifting heavy weights.
While there is some that will say that even bad half reps are good for progress, if you injure yourself doing these reps with heavy weight and bad form then your progress will falter.
Compound lifts like the squat, deadlift and bench press involve heavy weights as this is key to gaining muscle and strength. However bad form can put strain onto your joints, tendons and ligaments.
I suggest and scientific research shows that better gains can be achieved by using your full range of motion. Plus, it can help with your flexibility too.
Examples of bad form include:
- Hunching over while performing a deadlift
- Hyperextending at the top of a deadlift
- Rolling your shoulders while bench pressing
- Bowing your knees during squats
It is always best to master the form of these lifts before you increase the weight. Injury can seriously hamper your progress.
Mistake #9: Not Monitoring Your Progress
So many lifters go through their workouts on autopilot without really paying any attention to what they are doing and perform exercises that tickle their fancy on the day.
It is a common scenario that many lifters don’t have a training diary, a training plan that has been recorded and/or any self- feedback from the session.
Therefore if these key factors aren’t in place then ‘How can your progress be monitored properly?’
Well with a little more planning and preparation your time at the gym will not be a social event but a more productive management of training time – that will produce better physique results!
If you train with a measured approach then it will improve because it can be assessed properly.
Realistically it takes a bit of smart planning and all you have really think about it where you are ‘now’. ‘Where’ you want to go (how much muscle mass do you want to gain?) and ‘how’ you are going to get there ( with the right training and nutrition).
There are literally thousands of training/nutrition plans that are free on the internet. However, our recommendation is to use a ‘qualified’ fitness professional to create them to match your individual needs.
A simple approach is then to work through the plans and assess what works and does not work for you. You can then make any adjustments so that you can achieve the results that you deserve.
Mistake #10: Having Unrealistic Expectations
Regardless of all the hype on the internet and through advertisements. You will not be massive in six weeks especially if you are a couch potato, to begin with.
Keep your goals realistic because you will not be able to bench press 300 pounds if you are new to lifting and likewise you will not shift 60 pounds of fat in 6 weeks.
Building lean muscle is all the ‘long game’ and about being consistent. You need to remain dedicated and have realistic expectations. This will keep you grounded and focussed.
Changing your body composition does take time. Many people tend to underestimate the whole process and set their time boundaries all wrong.
You can’t rush the process. Patience is absolutely vital and realistically you should be looking at adding about 1 pound of muscle per week.
This may seem slow to begin with but if you keep things consistent these muscle gains will soon add up. Over several months you can make some serious changes to your body composition and totally change your physique for the better.
Mistake #11: You Are Overtraining
Working out too frequently and for too long is detrimental to your physique goals. You need to have adequate time for your muscle to rest in between workouts.
A rule of thumb is to allow 48 hours of rest per muscle group.
This ensures that the muscle fibres are repaired properly and ready for the next workouts.
Also, training for a muscle group for over an hour has no benefit. The body’s testosterone levels are starting to dip around this point and several other metabolic stresses can lead to overtraining.
The main objective of resistance training for hypertrophy is to cause micro-tears and not to overstress the muscle tissue.
In this scenario, the muscle will be overstressed and this can lead to injury and lack of muscle mass success.
Plus if you are injured then you will be back to square one in terms of building lean muscle mass. Remember that ‘Rome was not built in a day and nor was hard-earned muscle mass!‘
If you want to build muscle and strength then you will want to avoid making these common workout mistakes.