The 5 most common strength training mistakes
Strength training is undoubtedly one of the perfect activities for your body. Provided you don’t make any mistakes. Unfortunately, this is all too often the case, as numerous studies have shown. Here are the 5 most common strength training mistakes and how to avoid them.
Pain-free training is the most important
Strength training is not rocket science, but there are still a few things that must be considered. Because if you train incorrectly over a more extended period, this will provoke health problems. Especially the joints don’t like to be treated wrong at all. Good strength training creates a balance between what you want to achieve and what you have to do to achieve it without causing health problems or pain. Therefore, you should avoid the following mistakes in strength training:
First mistake: You overdo it
It’s the biggest problem with beginners, but even experienced athletes are not immune to it. They simply train too much, do endless sets and repetitions. It is not uncommon for them to lift weights that are too heavy, which provokes incorrect movement. The culprits are often role models from bodybuilding, which are only suitable to a limited extent. Of course, the muscles should respond to the training, but this does not require 10, 12, or 15 sets. Fortunately, for all those who do strength training for a great athletic figure, for general well-being and health, building a training plan is not that complicated:
- Whole-body training: Try to train all the major muscle groups of the body. One to a maximum of five sets per exercise is sufficient. Depending on what you want to achieve, there are several strength training methods available.
- Main exercise: You should perform one main exercise for both the upper and lower body. The bench press is ideal for the upper body and squats for the lower body. Then it is advisable to train the so-called accessory muscles and the antagonists. These should mainly be exercises for the core, arms, and calves. It is also vital to train any weak points. Extra tip: If you can do the main exercises well and confidently, you can also make them more difficult. For example, you can train on an unstable surface or work with one leg.
Mistake 2: Training that is too one-sided
It is in our nature, we set a goal and tend to focus only on that thing. Then we forget the little things that are just as important. Here’s an example for men: You want to train your pectoral muscles so that they look great under your T-shirt in the summer. So you do bench presses, push-ups, and flies. But you forget about your shoulders and upper back – a very important rule in strength training: train agonist and antagonist. Otherwise, you will end up with muscular imbalances, pain, and forced breaks in training. Here are a few tips:
- If you train your pectoral muscles regularly, you must also train your back and shoulder muscles. Either on the same day or on another day. And this rule applies to all muscle groups.
- The only exception is if you know about a weak spot. In this case, you first have to eliminate it before you train agonist and antagonist muscles equally intensively again.
- A training diary can be very helpful. This way, you can keep track of which muscles you have trained and when, and you can see whether you should pay more attention to some muscles.
Mistake 3: You neglect the small things
Getting into your sports clothes and starting straight away is not a good idea either. You should definitely warm up beforehand. In a study, sports scientists from Norway proved how important this is, not only for injury prevention. Warming up also makes the subsequent training much more effective. And after exercise, you should also have a short cool-down phase. But please do not stretch after a strenuous strength training session. This is not good for tired muscles. It is better to run or cycle very slowly.
Mistake 4: You don’t consider the anatomy
The next strength training mistake: You forget that your body is not the sum of its parts. Instead, everything is connected: Muscles and muscle chains, stabilizing ligaments, and sophisticated joint systems. All these structures must work together optimally for good athletic performance. If one area is disturbed or weakened, the interaction suffers. Injuries or muscular imbalances occur. That’s why it’s not a good idea to do many squats on Monday and then deadlifts on Tuesday to strengthen the back. That is simply too much for the muscles in the lower part of the spine. So here are the most crucial training tips:
- If you have squats or deadlifts on the training schedule, you should not also do strenuous exercises to strengthen the lower back. Instead, focus on your abdominal muscles.
- Don’t pack too many exercises into a single program that also require a lot of grip strength. This can quickly overload your wrists. The importance of grip strength is explained here.
- It can be helpful not to divide the training into individual body parts such as chest, legs, or shoulders, but into training variations such as pushing and pulling movements.
Mistake 5: Rising boredom
Your head doesn’t like it, and neither do your muscles: boredom! It is an often-underestimated mistake in strength training, both in fitness and in competitive sports. Even if you constantly increase the weights, you will eventually stagnate if you always do the same exercises. Beginners should start with the basic exercises but expand their range of exercises after a few weeks. Provided you can do all the exercises technically correctly. The same applies to those who are already well trained. It is perfectly okay to do the typical basic exercises, such as squats, bench presses, and others, over and over again. But it makes sense for the training process to keep adding new stimuli.