Most guys who sign up for the gym do so with a very specific goal in mind. Sure, some want to slim down and just polish up their looks, but even more want to build muscles and become strong as an ox! But it’s one thing to set a goal – it’s another to actually achieve it. And since there is now so much info at every (data) corner, it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to distinguish between real info and broscience either. Who really knows at the beginning of their training career how to get stronger? Correct trains and eats?
Like most others, I started training without a clue as to what it actually comes down to. Over the years, you eventually learn what things work and how to get bigger and stronger than you’ve ever been. In most cases, you’re already right with a "keep it simple" approach, but because so many athletes and gym-goers are eager to get _everything_ right and perfect, all the more so many tend to get bogged down in trivialities – and that leads to typical mistakes creeping into the routine that we’ve all succumbed to at one time or another.
Of course, it is not possible to discuss all the mistakes within the framework of a manageable article, but you can certainly the 10 most common gym mistakes name it and analyze it in a little more detail. So today’s article is meant to help you arm yourself against these faux pas and make you aware of them, so you can continue to work on your training progress without slowing yourself down unnecessarily. Are you ready?
This article is divided into the following sections:
Mistake 1: Not (really) wanting to get stronger
"It’s not like I’m not trying, smartass." At this point, most people who regularly bust their ass at the gym will probably be thinking. In fact, there is much more to it than just training several times a week and wanting to get stronger. Dreams and wishes are nice and everybody is allowed to have them – but you also have to be behind so that these (immaterial) dreams transform into hard reality. Everyone talks about getting stronger, but hardly anyone takes a systematic approach and force this goal.
What exactly I mean by this? Quite simply, in order to get stronger progressive load urgent. The body responds to an appropriate load, but if the stimulus does not change and become more intense, then at some point stagnation occurs.
Autoregulative training (as preached by Christian Zippel in his book "High Frequency Training") works if you know your body and its needs very well by now – for everyone else, it mercilessly goes to shit.
Your goal should be _naturally_ to increase the training weights over the course of your career. So if you’ve reached a level where the weights aren’t really challenging anymore, this is the right moment to turn the screw a bit and add 5 kg (or even 10 kg).
Mistake 2: Not having a (training) plan.
You may train challengingly without a logbook, but you’ll never be able to determine what ultimately caused you to not make progress. And without this information, you’ll be stumbling around at an eternally consistent level. As Albert Einstein said? "Insanity is always doing the same thing and expecting different results."
Ask yourself: Are you addicted to madness?
No? Good, because then there is still hope for you. Every damn time you go to the gym, you should have a clear idea of what purpose the workout is supposed to serve, and you also need to know how you’re going to achieve that goal – with which exercises, with how many sets and reps. You must have the absolute plan about your action. While it’s fun to train what you feel most like every now and then, that’s not necessarily the best way to see rapid results.
If you are not able to create a proper training plan yourself or get one from the net, you should try to get a trainer, a training partner or even a personal coach to create one for you. A cookie-cutter plan is good, but an individual plan that is tailored to your needs and goals can be worth its weight in gold. Small milestones from week to week ensure that you stay on the ball and work towards the big picture.
Important is: Once you have the plan, then stick to it.
Mistake 3: The lack of balance
Appropos of training what you’re in the mood for: This can lead to another very common problem – such as imbalances but also below-average strength development.
It is in the nature of things that most of us like to train the muscle groups that they can see in the mirror very well. All the small, inconspicuous parts and muscle strands usually remain underchallenged. This will not only cause you to run out of steam during certain (complex) exercises, but also slow down your progress.
In addition to typical pulling exercises (pull), pushing exercises (push) are a standard part of every training plan, so that the complete kinetic chain is trained. Yes, my friends: leg training is also part of a balanced and well-structured plan, and it has been proven to ensure that other muscle areas can benefit from the anabolic effect as well .
A well-developed body is also more immune to injury (a point we’ll get to in a moment).
Mistake 4: Training too long
You’ve probably heard it or read it before: The "sweet spot" for the optimal training duration is somewhere between 30-60 minutes. This is the point where strength starts to go, metabolites take their toll (preventing further mechanical work) and cortisol takes over from anabolic hormones. Of course, you can train beyond that – who is to stop you from doing so? Only you can do that!
But seriously ask yourself how productive it can be when you spend hours on end training on natural. From this point of view, it makes more sense to hit the gym more often for shorter (but intense) sessions than to go on a workout marathon 1-2 times a week that will leave you paralyzed for several days (at the latest when the muscle soreness hits furiously).
This is a classic example where "more" (input) does not necessarily produce "more" (output). The only thing you will achieve by this is an unnecessary load of the central nervous system and therefore a delayed regeneration.
Longer workouts are good for burning massive amounts of calories, but counter-productive when it comes to building muscle. Dose sparingly but intensely.
Error 5: No training logbook
If you’ve been training without a training diary up to this point, it’s time to change that.
Yes I know: you can remember your weights, sets and repetitions this way, but in truth this is a fallacy. Of course you remember the exercises from the last workout and maybe the set and repetition count, but what about the workout BEFORE that? And the THEREFORE? Alone if the session is several days ago, it starts to get spongy – and from there on it’s not far to the messing around.
At the end of the day, a well kept training diary will help you to ensure progressive training principle. It’s not only very useful for looking at your physical development, but also as an analysis tool for troubleshooting – and it helps you focus on what’s important and always keep your goal in mind.
Mistake 6: Disregarding regeneration
The iron is forged while it is hot, but only when the steel has cooled down can you really use it. It’s similar for the "build muscle" goal: the workout provides the growth impetus, but it’s the time outside the gym – rest, sleep, and a high-protein, calorie-dense diet – that ensures there’s more of you at the end than there was before the workout started.
An essential aspect that many novice and advanced exercisers like to ignore is each of the recovery. Your body can adapt to a certain degree to the incoming stress you confront it with ("SAID" principle) – but only if you allow the muscles enough time, a corresponding supercompensation (muscle growth) can be realized and the performance can be increased.
If you train too early – interrupting the process of recovery – this not only leads to lack of success in terms of muscle building, but in the worst case it can also lead to reduced performance and even injuries.
We may not always be able to live absolutely stress-free lives, and each of us has a regular job to do, but at least we can work out through Get enough sleep Make a significant contribution to regeneration. With 8 hours per day you are already quite good as a strength athlete and bodybuilder. Some would even recommend 9-10 hours. So turn off the TV early and preferably go to bed at regular hours – this will help you fall asleep and ensure you’re rested and refreshed the next morning.
Remember that you don’t have to sleep those 8-10 hours at a stretch. 6 hours of bed rest and 2 hours of nap in the afternoon (if possible) can help your body build muscle and regenerate reserves.
Mistake 7: Training until muscle failure
Another very important point from the "more don’t bring more" section is the aspect of training to total muscle failure. You surely know it already and have Intensity Technique used too much.
The beauty of being a beginner is that you get to enjoy the "beginner’s bonus" and such Wild West methods are not really necessary to bring about growth. Meanwhile, as an advanced strength athlete, you can choose from a whole range of intensity techniques that should (and can) help you break through training plateaus and stagnation, only … that goes to the detriment of regeneration.
And as described above, the body has a limited capacity for regeneration. Too much load and success falls by the wayside and performance goes into decline. Here and there a session with an exercise where you train to muscle failure can set accents, but if you use this technique too often and very generously, you only unnecessarily delay the recovery of the muscles.
Remember: Once the training stimulus is set, further muscle mass is synthesized, provided that enough energy (calories) and protein have been supplied – but this is not shot in the gym, but outside the sacred temple of iron. Any further stress beyond this point is just an energy guzzler that doesn’t accelerate muscle building – that’s why you should also have a little patience in this wonderful sport, because nothing goes fast in bodybuilding (except for sustaining injuries).
Mistake 8: Not using basic exercises
Basic exercises – or "multi-joint compound exercises" – include things like the deadlift, squat, bench press, pull-ups, rowing, dips and military press. What they all have in common is that they don’t just target one muscle group, but recruit a few more at once. Everybody gets his or her fat here, so to speak, and this even build-up stimulus not only ensures a respectable increase in strength, but also a lush muscle-building signal. Where else, my dear sir and madam, do you move more weight than your own body is capable of weighing?? But probably with the deadlift, squats and all the other basic exercises.
Of course, this does not go unnoticed by the body and it takes revenge in the form of full Gains.
Focus on getting strong in these exercises – and the muscles will inevitably follow.
Mistake 9: Lack of periodization
No, I don’t mean your girlfriend’s rule, but the division of your training into certain macro- and microcycles! You surely know something like "form of the day", or? Sometimes it goes well, sometimes not so well. Your body can’t perform at its highest level all year long – just like a competitive bodybuilder can’t run around with a KFA of 5-6% all year long.
To achieve peak performance, the pros work with periodization, d.h. that one’s training is broken down into several parts over the course of the year and associated with specific sub-goals. How to train z.B. 2-3 months in the strength-endurance area, 3 months in the hypertrophy area, 2-3 months in the strength area and finish the whole thing with a 2-week deload phase, only to start a new round again.
What purpose does it serve? chaos – it prevents the body from becoming too accustomed to a particular stimulus and falling into stagnation. This is the reason why there is a recommendation to change the training plan after 3-6 months to set a new "stimulus". A training plan is good and does not need to be changed as long as the results it delivers are convincing. If success fails to materialize, you should take a trip to another training area or concept – and who knows: maybe you’ll find a program that suits you particularly well and catapults you to the next level…?
if you never try it, you will never know it.
Mistake 10: Being injured too often
Do you also know this? You’ve just gotten over an injury and are well on your way to getting back into top shape, and it hits you again! Well – you are a real jinx, or? This can be true if it really catches you through no fault of your own, but as a general rule, most injuries are homemade: years of improper training leads to wear and tear and limitations. Ego and carelessness sometimes cause something to go wrong that shouldn’t – or maybe you ask too much of your body in too short a time. Who ignores the clear signals, gets the receipt in the end.
"No pain, no gain" is misinterpreted by many to mean that there are two types of pain:
- – The "good" pain is dull and comes more from the abdominal area. It provides growth if you are man enough to overcome it.
- – The "bad" pain is sharp and localized, z.B. in the elbow, shoulder or knee. Only a fool would "follow through" here and throw cautionary signals to the wind.
Imagine how many charms you could have set if you hadn’t injured yourself because of avoidable negligence? How far would you be if you had NOT had to pause permanently? It’s the little daily things that add up to make a big difference in the end, and every workout you miss is a workout you miss for your goal.
Therefore my last tip is: Do not hurt yourself. This is easier said than done and I am well aware of that. However, you can do everything possible to avoid the unnecessary injuries and stay as injury free as possible. Train not only hard, but also smart and stay alert.
These are the "Top 10 most common gym mistakes" and I hope you take away a few things for yourself from this article. I’m sure you have a few more items on your agenda that would no doubt deserve to be on this hit list as well – feel free to add these additional items in a comment below.
If you liked the article, feel free to share and repost it to give others a chance to see and fix their mistakes too.