Weight training is a quicker route to shredded muscles than many conventional types of exercise. But there’s a few rookie errors you should avoid.
1. Skipping the induction
There’s a sweetshop-like range of free weights in most gyms. It’s tempting to simply grab the nearest dumbbell and get stuck in. But if you want to reap the full benefit of weight training, it’s a dumb idea to copy what the person next to you is doing or simply make up a few exercises and hope for the best. Performing the movements correctly is an all-important factor in building the muscles you want. Worst-case scenario, you might suffer injuries or ruin your posture. Before you get going, ask a trainer to show you exactly how the exercises should be performed. He or she will also be able to give you other training tips.
2. Planning to fail by failing to plan
If you want to see rapid results, you need a good training plan. It will help you to be focused about working towards your goals. Without a plan, you’ll tend to leave out your least favorite exercises. But it’s important to work all of your muscle groups equally in the interests of better muscle building. Your training plan should motivate you instead of being simply a set of boring instructions. It guides you from one exercise to the next, documents what you’ve done, and evolves along with you.
3. Work on your swing
Even beginners who have completed an induction with one of the gym’s trainers tend to rely on the momentum of their body to lift dumbbells or barbells. If you do this, you have less control over what you are doing and run a higher risk of injury. Rely on the strength of your muscles instead.
4. Always working the same muscles
Once you’ve been training a few weeks, you’ll have worked out which exercises you like best. Beginners often tend to neglect the exercises they like least. They concentrate on the upper arms or the chest, for example, because results can be seen quickly in these areas. And they ignore their legs entirely. This is bad news all round; muscles which are worked out in the same way too often don’t grow, and muscles which are ignored also don’t grow. The result is a muscular imbalance. It’s vitally important for the entire body to get a good workout, and this applies to beginners more than anyone. Your weight training program should therefore be as varied as possible.
5. Never changing the number of reps
Newbies often labor under the misconception that more reps are the route to better results in weight training. In reality, 8–15 reps per set is enough to build muscles. The number of reps is nowhere near as important as the point at which the muscles fail. If you always do 10 reps and only 10 reps, your progress will stall. Instead, you should vary the number of reps. The lower the number of reps, the heavier the weight you can use. The higher the number of reps, the lighter the weight and the more your stamina will improve. Change your rep range every 4–6 weeks in order to optimize your training.
6. Long breaks between sets
Tapping away on your smartphone, chatting with your training partner, watching the other gym goers — all of these things will prevent you from achieving your goals if you do them for too long. Resting between sets is vital during weight training in order to allow your muscles to recover their ability to contract. But if you rest for significantly longer than the time stated on your training plan, you’ll simply be wasting time and letting your muscles cool down.
7. Starting heavy
Your training plan tells you to use a particular weight for triceps exercises during the first six weeks, and you think it’s too light. Keep using it anyway! Your muscles need time to get used to the new stimuli. At this stage it’s far more important that your form is right, and how much you’re lifting is of secondary importance. Once you’ve thoroughly mastered the form, you can move up to the next weight class.
8. Being afraid of barbells
Many beginners stick with dumbbells and ignore barbells. That’s a mistake, because barbell exercises are also an effective tool for training your whole body and building muscle, and they mimic the body’s natural movements. Adding more variety to your workouts is guaranteed to help you achieve your goals faster.
9. Spending hours in the gym
It’s a myth that the perfect training regime involves spending hours in the weights room. As a general rule, weights-based workouts shouldn’t last longer than 45 minutes. Prevent boredom setting in by sitting down with your instructor and designing a training plan which works different groups of muscles on different days. The length of time spent training is less important than the quality of the workout.
10. Skipping rest days
Newcomers to weight training are often stoked about their new exercise regime. But it’s important to curb that enthusiasm and ensure that weight training doesn’t become a daily habit. Muscles grow while you’re resting rather than while you’re lifting weights. Three workouts a week is enough when you’re getting started. Feel free to try different sports which build stamina on your rest days. But keep one day per week completely exercise-free for optimum recovery — you’ll be amazed by how much stronger you feel during your next workout!
The information provided through our blog or e-mails is not intended to be and is not a substitute for, professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your own health care professional. Garmin is not attempting to diagnose, treat or cure any physical ailment, or any mental or emotional issue, disease or condition. Our blogs are intended to help you reach your own health and wellness goals.