Do you work out regularly, but see little or no improvements?
Are you trying to build muscle and gain strength?
Then you should reassess your diet and workout routine.
Simple things, such as using bad form, missing out on the big lifts, and doing too much cardio, can ruin your gains and hold you back.
From newbies to advanced lifters, everyone makes mistakes. This happens in all sports, not just in bodybuilding.
Here are seven common mistakes holding back your gains:
1. Lifting Too Heavy
Sometimes, training as heavy as you can isn’t the best option.
When you push yourself to the max, you might not be able to focus on the lowering phase of an exercise.
Lowering slow and controlled stimulates muscle growth. This means doing bench presses without bouncing the bar off your chest and biceps curls without a rocking motion.
Lifting too heavy can also affect your form. If you want to get bigger, maximize your time under tension on every rep.
Use strict form at all times and focus on the muscles being worked.
2. Not Lifting Heavy Enough
Not lifting heavy enough is just as bad as lifting too heavy.
Doing biceps curls with 15-pound dumbbells won’t help you too much. Strength training isn’t meant to be easy.
It’s important to challenge yourself and increase the load gradually.
If you’re stuck to the same weight for months, or feel that your current workout routine is piece of cake, then it’s time to go heavier.
3. Lifting Too Long
Unless you’re preparing for a competition, your workout shouldn’t exceed 45 minutes to one hour.
Train each muscle group for 20 to 30 minutes. Many lifters spend hours at the gym without being aware that lifting too long can lead to muscle fatigue and catabolism.
Working out for more than one hour overtrains your muscles and affects your strength.
The time trap is a common mistake, especially among newbies. Spending more time in the gym won’t double your results.
4. Doing Too Much Cardio
Cardiovascular training keeps you fit and healthy. However, too much cardio can be counterproductive.
The problem is that you’ll lose both fat and muscle. Additionally, your cortisol levels will increase, causing your body to store fat.
Over time, you’ll burn fewer calories despite working out hard. Your body will adjust to exercise and hit a plateau.
HIIT and circuit training are more effective than regular cardio.
A typical HIIT session lasts approximately 20 minutes and burns more calories than one hour of steady state cardiovascular training.
The best part is that short, intense sessions increase your metabolism, so you’ll keep burning fat long after your workout is done.
5. Using Poor Form
Good form is vital for most exercises. If you fail to maintain proper form, you’ll end up with injuries.
Your muscle and strength gains will be affected too. To get the most out of your workout routine, perform each move in a slow and controlled manner.
Pay attention to your form when doing bicep curls, crunches, chest press, squats, lat pulldowns, and bent over rows.
Maintain good posture and avoid explosive movements when lifting heavy weights, or in other words – leave your ego at the door.
6. Doing the Same Exercises
Many lifters pick a workout and stick to it for months and even years.
If you haven’t mixed up your exercise routine for a long time, you’ve probably reached a plateau.
Challenging your body with heavier weights will lead to muscle and strength gains.
It’s important to keep your muscles guessing by adding new moves to your workout routine, increasing the number of reps, and trying new lifting techniques.
Doing the same exercises over and over again will cause strength imbalances and poor progress.
7. Concentrating on a Single Body Area
Many newbies only train one or two muscle groups instead of working out the entire body.
Training your biceps four times a week and neglecting your shoulders or legs can lead to muscle imbalances.
It’s essential to think of your body as a whole. You can’t lose fat or build muscle by training a single body area.
This is one of the most common mistakes among fitness buffs. If you want results, hit each muscle group once a week.
Don’t train the same muscle more than once in 36 hours.