10 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Weightlifting

10 things you shouldn’t do when weightlifting

People make mistakes in the gym that causes them to fail to reach their goals, get injured, or lose motivation.

So, what shouldn’t you do when weightlifting?  Here are our 10 tips:

  • Not Doing Warm-Ups

  • Not Having Proper Form

  • Forgetting To Engage Your Core

  • Utilizing High Reps For Toning

  • Using Weights That Are Way Too Heavy

  • Overtraining Your Muscles

  • Refusing To Take A Break Between Sets

  • Ignoring Compound Exercises

  • Only Doing Isolation Exercises

  • Not Working Out All Muscle Groups

Let’s dive into these tips further so you know how to get the most out of your workouts.

Need a workout program? Try Fitbod for Free.

Not Doing Warm-Ups

We get it: you’re super eager and excited to jump directly into your workout.

However, if you don’t take the proper precautions and jump straight into weightlifting, you can get severely injured.

On top of that, cold muscles can prevent you from having a productive workout because you won’t be at your best.

Before working out, you should do some light cardio and dynamic stretches. These are a few great options:

  • Forward/sideways leg swings

  • Hip rotations

  • Bodyweight squats

  • Jumping jacks

  • Jump rope

Are you having trouble finding warm-ups that fit your needs? The Fitbod app automatically programs your warm-up exercises so that you can follow the most safe and effective workout possible.

In addition to getting help from Fitbod, you can also speak with a personal trainer, or look up videos and blog posts that show you how to do proper warm-ups.

Related Article: Should You Do Yoga and the Gym on the Same Day?

Not Having Proper Form

Short cuts may seem tempting but ultimately set you up for failure.

Unfortunately, many exercise enthusiasts have bad form, and it’s one of the most common lifting mistakes.

Often, they ‘cheat’ by using momentum to lift the weight up or they go really fast rather than doing the entire range of motion.

Though a lot of people cheat their form, it’s important to know about the stakes. Not having proper form can cause you to have an injury or a lackluster workout.

So, even if you may feel more accomplished in the short term, you won’t be getting the most out of your workout if you cheat.

Not everyone is a workout guru.

It can be difficult to truly know whether or not you have a proper form if you aren’t working out with other people.

Luckily, we live in a time in which a lot of information is simply a few clicks away.

The Fitbod app has detailed videos and exercise descriptions for each movement you do in the gym.  Before starting, you’ll learn how to perform the exercise with the best technique possible.

Forgetting To Engage Your Core

To avoid injuries, you need to be conscious of how you’re engaging all parts of your body.

For instance, if you have a weak core while doing lower body exercises such as squats or lunges, you will be putting extra pressure on your lower back. This added pressure can lead to pain and possibly injury.

Depending on what you’re working on,  not engaging your core could also strain your knees or hips.

When you keep your core tight, you get a solid foundation and decrease your chance of developing an injury.

A great way to manage your body’s reaction to exercise is to control your breathing. With every movement, make sure to breathe and then exhale during the most difficult part. If you have issues with your breathing, you can look into taking some yoga classes.

Yoga has been shown to improve your ability to breathe. Improved breathing could also boost your stamina and endurance during workouts.

Utilizing High Reps For Toning

What is “toning”?

We often hear this term in popular culture as a fitness goal.

Usually, the term refers to getting a firm body with muscular definition. It’s a more subtle look than getting very muscular.

However, the term is a bit misleading. To truly stay on top of your weightlifting, you should understand the implications of toning.

Your body isn’t exactly getting firmer because muscles don’t go from soft to hard. Rather, they can either decrease or increase in size.

You should view getting in shape as a long term process. As you increase your strength, you could gradually try out heavier weights with fewer reps.

To get that “toned” look, you should pair weightlifting with cardio. This way, you will be losing fat while
simultaneously gaining muscle mass.

Another crucial aspect to getting a “toned” look is having a healthy diet. A good understanding of your caloric intake can help you lose weight . Make a consultation with a dietitian who can design a step-by-step guide to keeping you healthy.

Here are some foods that are great for building muscle:

  • Salmon: This type of fish contains Vitamin B and Omega-3 Fatty acids.

  • Turkey Breast: In addition to being tasty, turkey breast is high on proteins and low on carbs. On top of that, it has the fat-processing protein niacin.

  • Quinoa: This delicious alternative to rice contains magnesium — a chemical that’s crucial for muscles.

  • Tofu: If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you have surely tried tofu. But even if you aren’t, you incorporate it into your diet because it contains calcium which is fantastic for your bones and muscles.

  • Almonds: This popular snack is rich with magnesium, phosphorus, and Vitamin E.

  • Eggs: This daily staple is loaded with healthy fats, B vitamins, and choline.

  • Chicken Breast: Chicken breasts have a lot of protein, niacin, and B6.

  • Tuna: This type of fish has many nutrients that can benefit your weightlifting such as B12, niacin, and B6.

It’s important to remember that your diet should be uniquely tailored to fit your needs. Before changing your diet, do some thorough research and consult with professionals such as your doctor or a registered dietician.

Using Weights That Are Way Too Heavy

using weights that are way too heavy

Often, weightlifting is about challenging yourself to do more.

However, you need to be aware of your limits. If you use too heavy of weights, you may not have an effective workout and can potentially injure yourself.

You should only use a weight if it feels comfortable. This way, you will get the full range of motion of the exercise and won’t end up compromising your form.

To increase the effectiveness of a lift, you should channel your focus on your mind-muscle connection. The mind-muscle connection, also known as MMC, refers to your brain signals to your muscles. In order to get into a proper headspace for working out, you need to focus on excelling within your limits so you can get the most out of your weightlifting session.

Overtraining Your Muscles

There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Even though it’s great that you want to devote a lot of time and energy to getting in shape, you can’t just immediately jump into your next weightlifting session.

You should give your body enough time to rest or you will actually end up harming yourself and negatively affecting your ability to workout. Another crucial aspect to avoiding overtraining your muscles is getting enough nutrition before your workouts. It can be tough to distinguish between just feeling tired and depleted.

These are a few signs that you may be overtraining:

  • Soreness: when you overtrain, you can feel soreness and pain in your muscles.

  • Losing too much weight: Overtraining may trigger some hormonal imbalances that impact your appetite and subsequently your weight.

  • Feeling irritable: Since overtraining causes hormone imbalances, you may notice that you are more irritable than usual, have mental fog, or feel depressed. Abrupt changes in mood can be unpleasant and affect your relationships with other people.

  • Sleeping Issues: Stress hormones can have an impact on your sleeping patterns. To properly weight lift, you need some time to sleep and recover. The last thing you want is to get into a cycle where you aren’t sleeping enough and then waking up feeling cranky and more irritable. Remember: ideally, working out should be improving your overall health, not detracting from it.

Related Article: Why Do Powerlifters Get Sleep Apnea?

  • Getting sick: If you aren’t getting enough rest, you are more susceptible to getting sick.

How do you stop yourself from overtraining?

If you are focusing on building up a specific muscle, make sure to rest for 1 to 2 days following the workout. Come up with a schedule for yourself and try your best to stick to it.

You can also find a workout buddy who has an analogous routine as you.

That way, both of you will be able to keep each other in check and remind one another if you are overtraining or forgetting to weightlift.

Looking for a workout program? Try using the Fitbod App, which will design your program based on your logged training data and goals. The workouts will adapt automatically to your levels of recovery and rate of progress. With over 600 movements and exercises videos, you can be sure to perform the movements correctly for optimal results. Take the guesswork out of your workouts. Try Fitbod for free.

Refusing To Take A Break Between Sets

Refusing To Take A Break Between Sets.jpg

A key part to creating an efficient, healthy weightlifting regimen is to not only schedule resting between workout sessions, but also rest periods between sets.

Rest times depend on whether you are focusing on strength training or endurance training.

With strength training, you will want to rest so you can replenish your energy and then lift more weight.

On the other hand, with endurance training, you will want to rest a bit less so over time, your body can endure longer workouts.

Regardless of your goals, taking strategic breaks is a pivotal part to your weightlifting experience.

Ignoring Compound Exercises

Compound exercises are when you’re exercising multiple muscles at once. Generally, compound exercises are considered a more efficient way  for working out. These are a few benefits of compound exercises:

  • Helps you improve your strength

  • Elevates your heart rate

  • You burn more calories

  • Boost your intramuscular coordination

With the help of a personal trainer, you can come up with a workout program that’s customized to  your needs and includes compound exercises that can take you to the next level of fitness.

Only Doing Isolation Exercises

While compound exercises can help you workout multiple muscle groups, isolation exercises target one specific muscle.

At a gym, there are machines that focus on training and building strength for one muscle.

Even if isolation exercises can be part of a larger workout routine, you shouldn’t exclusively do them.

If you are only training a targeted muscle, you’re setting yourself up for a strength imbalance and ignoring that muscles work together and not separately.

A workout routine that’s composed of only isolation exercises can lead to injury. You should view your workouts as a long term investment. By solely doing isolation exercises, you aren’t viewing your workout as a holistic effort.

Not Working Out All Muscle Groups

To create a workout plan that can help you reach your weightlifting goals, you should pay attention to all muscle groups.

This means that you will probably have to schedule out your days according to the muscle group you’re targeting. You can have one day be devoted to legs, the next to arms and shoulders, and then a couple days later,  focus on your back and chest.

With workout apps , you can create a routine that fits your strengths, weaknesses, and ability. For instance, Fitbod uses an algorithm that takes into account your previous workouts and what gym equipment you have available.

There are many reasons as to why you may want to start weightlifting.

While some people want to lose fat, others are seeking to gain muscle. Regardless of your goals, weightlifting can help give you self-confidence and strength. On top of that, it can also improve your mood.

It’s important for you to pay attention to not only having proper weightlifting form, but doing the necessary things before and after a weightlifting workout. Following a weightlifting workout, you should focus on proper nutrition. Consider consuming a post workout shake with collagen protein powder to boost muscle and joint recovery.

As long as you pay attention to your limitations and workout needs, you will be able to achieve your fitness goals without increasing your risk of injury.

About The Author

Avi Silverberg

Avi Silverberg

Avi Silverberg has a Master’s of Science from the University of Victoria where he researched strength training and exercise science. As an athlete, he fell in love with powerlifting, where his highest achievement was competing at three World Bench Press Championships and winning a bronze medal in 2010. Since 2012, he has been the Head Coach for Team Canada Powerlifting where he took the team from placing 30th in the World to top 3. In addition to writing for Fitbod, he writes about powerlifting technique and best practices on his own blog, powerliftingtechnique.com.