While it’s not surprising how many people don’t train, it’s always surprising to me how many people (guys in particular) do train – regularly. What surprises me even further is, even some who have been lifting weights for years seem to have very little to show for it.
I’m not been disparaging or trying to discourage people here. Anyone who has the enthusiasm to train – even with limited results – deserves a huge pat on the back. But, I feel they most certainly need guidance to achieve better results.
Why is this then? Is nearly everyone a genetic inferior; incapable of building even moderate muscle mass?
No. It’s simply a lack of understanding in all aspects of ‘getting in shape’ from the training aspects, to the diet aspects, to the resting aspects. People simply don’t ‘get’ the full picture. (Even getting one aspect fully and having only a vague understanding of the others will result in failure).
In this article I’m going to stick to the training mistakes I see. Here they are:
Training too long
Guys, all you need to do is train for 45 minutes to an hour. That’s the optimum rate for training. It gives intensity, and prevents cortisone levels from rising (resulting from marathon sessions) which begins to have a catabolic (eating) effect on the muscle.
Too many machines
Machines do build muscle. But, they will never build muscle as good as free weights. Free weights require stabilizer muscles to work, which causes greater nerve stimulation, which causes more growth. Machines should be an additional way of working out, not the core. Free weights are always the core.
Lifting too light
Great, you may well be able to do 30-50 reps non-stop, but that only means you are lifting a weight which is too light and not optimum for muscle size or strength. All you’ll do for the most part here is simply improve endurance by building better blood and energy supply to the muscles (which has its benefits) but you won’t build optimum size or strength.
Lifting too heavy
Forget what your friends are lifting (or trying to lift) and what everyone else is doing. Strength is relative to you. What you find heavy and challenging is heavy and challenging. Going beyond this will cause you to have poor form, fail much too soon before the muscles have been fatigued properly, and, you’ll be at great risk of having a terrible injury. Don’t be an idiot, basically.
This often stems from lifting too heavy, but not always. Form is something which you need to get as right as possible – but, may be dependent upon your own body proportions and build. Good form feels good, and hits the target muscles, and always provides a smooth lift from beginning to end – once you’re getting that, you’ve got good form.
Same thing every session
It’s bizarre, but I always see it. If I hit the gym on a Monday, I’ll see guys training biceps. On Wednesday, again, they’ll be hitting biceps. Friday, again – biceps. Guys… please, you need to learn you can’t keep hitting the same muscles over and over and expect them to grow. They won’t. It takes around 72 hours for a muscle to recuperate and grow – and that’s providing you’re giving it sufficient nutrients and rest (and if you can’t even train properly, I’m betting your diet and resting are equally high on the suck scale.) Get on a program which separates each muscle group as best it can, so adequate rest is factored in. You’ll never look back, trust me.
Most important of all, One size does not fit all
Because of the variation of physiology between Us humans, a program working on one person may not work on another. A rep count which is producing gains for your friend is doing nothing for you. For this one reason you need to keep a log of your exercise to track which program works well for you.