It’s one thing to sign up for a gym membership and go lift a few weights, hit the treadmill, and get mediocre results. It’s another thing to get in there and hit the weights hard and really bust out tangible strength gains. These are three simple mistakes anyone can easily fix when they know what to look for.
1. Not going close enough to proper mechanical failure
The first and probably the most limiting mistake is not pushing close enough to proper mechanical failure. In our previous post, we went into how many athletes will fool themselves into stopping short of mechanical failure. This can happen by losing your form to make the lift easier or can simply be giving up when the going gets tough.
The bottom line is that gains are made at the edge of failure because your body gets the message that you need more strength to survive. When you stop short, your body doesn’t get the message that more strength is needed and therefore doesn’t build more muscle.
2. Not tracking your progress
If your goal is to get stronger, then you should be showing measurable gains every time you work out. It might be increasing weight. It might be fighting out a couple more reps. Regardless, for strength building, you should be improving each time you work out.
The best way to make sure you’re improving is to take notes and keep track of your progress. If you’re new to working out, the gain will be apparent quickly as your muscle tone and body will start to visibly change; however, once you’ve been working out for a while, the gains will stop becoming so obvious.
The stronger you become, the more important it becomes to measure your progress. Improvements or muscle gains may not be so clearly visible as they were when you started. When you track your progress, it helps you to make sure that you are continuing to improve or will help to signal if you need to change something up because whatever you’re doing isn’t working. Personal trainers can be especially helpful for keeping track of gains and making sure you’re continuing to move toward your ever-increasing strength goals.
3. Using the wrong criteria for determining if your workout is working
Measuring your progress is best done by looking at your actual performance results, not just feelings. You can get the pump or feel major fatigue when working out, but that doesn’t always mean that your workout is helping you to improve your strength. Soreness is another subjective measurement that can lead to a false sense of growth or improvement.
Each of these can come with or without growth depending on your workout. If you do enough lifts with a 5lb dumbbell, you’ll get sore or fatigued, but that doesn’t mean you’re making strength gains. One area these can be helpful is signaling if your target muscle group is being activated. If the muscle group you are targeting is feeling unaffected, and other muscle groups associated with improper technique are sore, that might be a signal that your technique needs to be adjusted.
Fix the easy mistakes to keep getting stronger
Don’t be like many people that join a gym and just try to wing it. Instead, get a good workout plan designed for your specific strength goals then measure and track your progress as you go. If you’re not sure where to start, contact Extreme Studio Performance, a results-driven Gym in Dallas. ESP has helped everyone from professional football players to MMA fighters to soccer parents (and their kids) push the limits of their abilities, and we’d like to do the same for you.