Fitness

Avoid these weight training errors for better gains|Arjun Jain

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Blog By: Arjun Jain

Top Weight Training Errors

1. No warm-up. Muscles don’t stretch or contract fully until warmed. Expecting them to do so without preparing them sets you up for tears and pulls. If you want to stay injury free, your body absolutely must warm up properly. Do something to gently increase the temperature of your muscles – walk a few minutes very easy on the treadmill or do a set of reps on the machines at a very low weight.

2. Not stretching. When you don’t stretch, your body loses flexibility. Good flexibility not only increases athletic performance but also plays an important role in helping you stay injury free.

3. Not stretching enough. Whether you’re exercising aerobically or lifting weights, warm up first, then stretch.

4. Weekend Warrior Mentality. If you’ve skipped several workouts, don’t try to make up for lost time in one session. You’re only setting yourself up for soreness and possible injury.

5. Lack of intensity. While you don’t want to push yourself too hard, especially if you’re just starting an exercise program, you do need to work intensely enough to get results. If you do not train with intensity you will limit your gains. Finding the right intensity takes some experience. However, it doe not take experience to know if you are not working out hard enough. Make sure you are working out hard, which means not taking too much rest between sets and exercises. it also means working each rep to failure (or at least close to it) and using weights that are challenging. You should not be able to laugh and chat while in the middle of a set. You should concentrate on the form and on squeezing each muscle for a full contraction.

6. Spending more than 1 hour weight training in the gym. Unless you are a professional bodybuilder it should not take you more than 1 hour to complete your workout. If it does you are either (1) moving too slow or (2) doing too much in one workout.  Tips: Workout 1 big body part and 1 small body part per workout (like back and biceps). Complete no more than 3 to 5 exercises per body part, 3 to 4 sets per exercise.  Take no more than 1 to 2 minutes break between sets.

7. You do too many workouts.The fastest way to derail your long term gains in the gym is to overtrain. When you overtrain you end up breaking down your body faster than it can repair itself. ‘When I train my clients I go for three or four sessions in the gym a week with three days off within that,’ says Los Angeles based trainer Jeff Behar. ‘When you rest is when you grow, and people don’t realize how long they have to rest. Listen to your body and if a muscle is aching don’t work it until it stops.

8. Talking too much in the gym.  If you’re at the gym to make progress, cut down on the talking and focus on your workout. If you are there to socialize try to chat before and after your workout and keep conversations to a minimum during your workout. Your workouts will be more intense, you will make better gains and you’ll spend less time at the gym.

9. Not challenging yourself with progressive resistance. There are many lifters that grow stagnate in muscle growth by completing the same exercise and/or with using the same amount of weight. If you want progressive muscle growth results, you must keep challenging yourself. There are two ways in doing this, one is to mix up your routine which keeps your muscles guessing about what is coming next. The other is, keep progressively adding weight to keep challenging your muscle fibers.

10. Not hydrating. Drink water before, during, and after your workout. Water is the most abundant nutrient inthe body, not to mention the most important. Water is the most critical nutrient for health, growth, development and is the medium in which all energy reactions take place.You need to drink a lot of water for health, stamina, fuel, and building muscle.Failure to hydrate will diminish your performance in the gym, resulting in decreased strength and endurance, potential cramping and more.Remember, if you are thirsty, you are already in dehydration mode. Solution: drink at least 16 ounces before and immediately after your workout, and also drink water during your workout as well.

11. Poor Posture. Poor posture can result in injuries. There are several exercises where posture is extremely important but none are more relevant than in heavy weighted power exercises such as deadlift, squat and bench press.

12. Poor form. Poor form can not only slow your results, but poor form can result in torn or pulled muscles, torn tendons, and back problems. These are just a few of the hazards that can result from performing exercises with less than perfect form.

Examples of poor form include:

Jerking the weight: Jerking the weight causes you not only to lose proper form and lead to a possible injury, but it also takes the resistance off the muscle and will diminish effectiveness. Remember to use a smooth controlled movement and proper form when performing all exercises.

Swinging the weight: Swinging the weight will create momentum providing for less muscle fiber to be worked, less muscle growth and be open for a possible injury due to poor form.This unfortunately is a very common site for many when working the back or working the biceps.

Twisting or jerking your body: Twisting your body or use a jerking motion to lift the weight will definitely put you at risk for injury.Movement performed too fast. When movement is performed to fast, less muscle fiber will be worked and less growth will occur.

Not using full range of motion: When weight training you need to use a full range of motion. Muscle strength increases when exercises are done through a complete extension/flexion and joints stay more mobile. Using full range of motion increases the force of contraction during each rep and as a result can greatly enhance your results. No matter how fast you go or how many reps you do, it won’t be as effective as fewer and easier exercises done with a complete range of motion.

Pulling on your neck when doing stomach crunches: When you place your hands behind your neck and pull your neck forward as you come up when doing stomach crunches you can injure your neck. Your hands should be on the chest, or by your side.

Arching the back when doing bench presses: Arching the back with your butt off the bench can injure your lower back; specifically the intervertebral disc which can experience compression when force into this position. Poor posture is not often thought about when performing bench exercises, such as bench presses, but it is relevant. Remember to keep your feet flat on the floor and butt on the bench with no more than slight arch in your lower back.

13. Not keeping your back straight when deadlifting.Performing deadlifts with poor posture increase risk of spinal disc injuries like hernias. When performing a deadlift, it is extremely important that you do not round out your lower back at any point during the deadlift exercise. Instead keep your back straight with head nether looking up or down (neutral position) at all times.

14. Bending too far forward when squatting. This can cause you to lose your balance. It can also put too much stress on your lower back.When squatting make sure your back is arched, head up, abs are tight and your body is in proper alignment. Do not bend past your knees.

15. Working out too long.  It’s a common misbelief that in order for your exercise plan to keep being effective, you have to add more exercises or to do longer stretches of cardio. Taking too long to complete your workout can result in sub par results. The trick is to work harder, not longer. That’s done by lifting heavier, resting less in between sets; in other words accomplishing more in the same amount of time, or as much in less time. It’s simple, but it works – try it!

16. No cool down. When you’re finished, make sure to stretch out each major muscle. When you don’t stretch, your body loses flexibility. Good flexibility not only increases athletic performance but also plays an important role in helping you stay injury free. Post workout stretching is an important part of preparing your muscle for your next workout. It also minimizes post exercise muscle soreness by increasing blood flow to the worked areas, which speeds up the healing process.

17. Training while sick. Thinking when you have a cold or flu, that you’ll go to the gym and work it out of your system, is pure nonsense. Besides contaminating others, when you train you weaken your immune system while repairing damaged muscles. If you have a cold or flu already, lowering the immune system is going to bring that cold or flu on even more. If you’re feeling ill, eat well and take few days off to recover until you’re fully fit to begin training again.


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