Bodybuilding is an incredibly complex sport, far more complex than many people give it credit for in fact, which is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to break through into. People who don’t actually know that much about the sport, will tell you how easy it is, and will say things like “If all I had to do each day was lift weights, I’d be huge too”. When in reality, they have no real idea what it is that they’re talking about. Bodybuilding is not easy, it isn’t something you decide to take up overnight, and it is certainly not just a sport or hobby which requires you to work out in the gym several times each week. If it really was that easy, there would be far more in-shape individuals in the world, instead of obese individuals, like there are now. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle and a way of life, and it is a sport in which only the mentally, as well as physically, strong will survive. One of the main issues associated with bodybuilding for example, is the fact that many people are actually making some very basic, yet common, mistakes which are hindering their gains and progress and actually holding them back when they should instead be moving forwards. Take a look at this list of five common bodybuilding mistakes that are hindering your gains and see if you’re guilty of any of them.
Not focussing on strength
Although the idea behind bodybuilding is primarily to build as much muscle as possible, one of the most common bodybuilding mistakes that people tend to make is neglecting their strength training. Yes, you aren’t training for a strongman competition, but even so, the idea behind bodybuilding is progression, and so how can you expect to progress if you’re barely making any strength improvements at all? Remember, your largest muscles aren’t necessarily the strongest muscles, just like your strongest muscles aren’t necessarily your biggest. The idea behind bodybuilding is to continuously stress and shock your muscles each and every workout, as that is what will stimulate new growth. If however, you’ve been lifting the same weights, for the same number of reps, for several weeks, even months perhaps, your body will now have adapted to this stress, meaning you will simply not make anywhere near the progress that you should be making. Every now and then, throw some strength training into your routines to help you break plateaus and continue making improvements as time goes by.
Using weights which are too heavy
As mentioned, strength training is a very important aspect of bodybuilding, but that does not mean you should walk into the gym, grab the heaviest set of weights that you can lift up, and attempt to incorporate them into your routine. One of the biggest mistakes that many bodybuilders and gym-goers in general, tend to make, is lifting with their egos, trying to impress others by going for the heaviest weights they can find. Of course you need to get stronger, but if you’re arching your back, cheating, shaking, and wobbling all over the place because the weights you’re using are far too heavy, you need to set them down, and go lighter instead. Using weights which are too heavy will put you at risk of suffering a painful injury, you won’t be working the correct muscle groups because you will be cheating by using other body parts to complete each rep, and you also run the risk of looking foolish in front of your peers.
Using weights which are too light
Again, on the opposite side of the spectrum, it’s important to ensure that the weights you’re using aren’t too light either. One common mistake that many bodybuilders tend to make for example, is to choose a weight to begin with, that may feel pretty heavy, and will certainly test them during their workout. As they progress however, they should get stronger and stronger, meaning the weight should feel easier. Despite this though, they will be under the same mentality as they were to begin with, thinking that, because the weight was heavy a few weeks back, it is still heavy now, even though they should really have increased slightly and moved up to the next weight. If the weights are too light, your body quickly adapts, as do your muscles, so you don’t benefit with your normal rep ranges. By choosing light weights and going for higher reps however, you can make progress, but sticking with your usual 8 – 10 reps just isn’t going to cut the mustard.
Another problem that many bodybuilders tend to suffer from, is picking up injuries in the gym. The main reason why they pick up these injuries however, is what is especially frustrating because they could quite easily have been avoided. Many of them will walk into the gym, hop onto the nearest bench, or grab the nearest set of dumbbells, and jump right into their workout, without taking the time to stretch or warm up before hand. Stretching your muscles and warming up your core body temperature means you’re far less likely to suffer pulled or torn muscles, and not only that, it also helps enhance physical performance as more oxygen will now be flowing around your body via your blood, supplying energy to your muscles. By rushing through your workouts, you also run the risk of making mistakes as you won’t be concentrating correctly. When training, take your time, always warm up and stretch, and always pay attention to what you’re doing.
Not giving it your all
You chose to take up bodybuilding because you wanted to change your body by building muscle and burning fat. Doing either of those things is not easy, so doing both is notoriously difficult. If you’re in the gym, texting, talking to your friends, and just generally loafing around, going through the motions, trying to skate by on the minimal amount of effort possible, you simply aren’t going to grow, so get serious, step up the intensity and effort, and give your training everything that you have.