Alison is the creator of My Big Fit Dairy, also known as a self diagnosed Crossfit addict, food pic obsessive and all round nutrition geek! Her blog shows her favourite workouts, how to clean up your favourite meals and desserts and providing you with nutritional info. She isn’t a personal trainer (yet!), though she has an appetite for all things nutrition and fitness. Through her blog, she aims to inspire within you the same passion and excitement she has for health and fitness.
4 Common Weightlifting Mistakes
The health and fitness industry is huge with more and more people joining their local gym and making the decision to start a strength training programme. If you’re just starting out on your weightlifting journey then it’s important that you do it properly. Good technique will ensure you are getting the most out of each and every lift as well as keeping you safe in the process.
So what are some of the most common weightlifting mistakes?
1) Rushing through reps
As the weights get heavier there is a tendency to rush through the reps relying on momentum, rather than strength, to help you get up out of your squat or to curl those dumbbells – we’ve all seen those people in the gym putting their backs at risk by swinging the weights!
Instead focus on time under tension during each lift. Time under tension or TUT refers to the amount of time your muscles spend under load during a rep, including time spent in the concentric and eccentric phase. The extra time spent under tension directly relates to more work and quicker improvements. Spending more TUT will also help you to focus on your form; feeling the right muscle groups you should be working on during that particular lift.
2) Not lifting heavy enough
This usually applies to my fellow ladies. If you’re thinking that lifting heavy weights will make you bulky – think again. How your body reacts to a weight training programme is all down to diet, programming, and genetics – women simply don’t have enough testosterone to build muscle at the same rate as men.
Or it might be that you want to lift heavy but fear getting caught under the weight or failing. If that’s the case, find a training partner who can help spot you until you’re more confident with the weight. That way, should you start to fail, they can take some of the weight on to help you make the lift.
Please remember though that ‘lifting heavy’ is all relative, if you’ve never deadlifted before don’t rush in with huge weights, start with an empty bar and work your way up.
3) Not travelling through the full range of motion
Adding too much weight too quickly will reduce your range of motion stopping you working the whole muscle/muscle group to it’s full potential.
Make sure you are 100% comfortable with a particular weight before adding more. If you find you’re not getting deep enough into the squat or not straightening your arms when lifting overhead, drop the weight back down and start again.
The best thing you can do is to ask an experienced lifter or trainer to assess your form.
4) Relying too much on machine
Weights machines may seem like the easy option, especially if you’re still building up confidence in the gym, but getting off the machines and picking up some free weights is where you’ll see the most improvement.
Machines often put your body at bad angles unlike free weights where your body moves in a more natural way. This ensures you use all of your stabiliser muscles, including the all important core, to get the weight up and down. The more muscles we are using, the harder we are working and the more fat we are torching.
Don’t rush! It’s easy to get carried away and try to lift too heavy, too soon. Instead take things slowly and really focus on each and every lift to get the most out of your strength training programme. You’ll see improvements much faster and when you do start lifting bigger weights you’re less likely to get injured.