The 10 Most Common Weightlifting Mistakes
It is encouraging to see that more men are getting active and lifting weights but, unfortunately, weightlifting injuries are also on the rise: more than 48% since 1990. The types of injuries vary widely, from pulling muscles to crushing body parts between weights, but nearly all weightlifting injuries are as a result of simply not knowing how to properly lift weights. There is a lot to learn when it comes to weightlifting and there are many common pitfalls to be avoided. Novices to the gym can all too often be seen slaving away at a weights machine with no clue what to do and with little results to show for it. Ultimately, a bad weightlifting session can be counterproductive and even dangerous. Weightlifting, when done right, helps maintain and improve strength, muscle tone, body movement capabilities and metabolism. When done right, that is. Here are some common weightlifting mistakes made all too often by men.
#1 Lack of Focus
Starting a weightlifting session without a goal on which to focus is a waste of time and it will inevitably hinder performance and possibly lead to injury. You wouldn't likely get into your car and not know where you are going and weightlifting should be no different. Next time you go into a gym, have a crystal clear vision of the body you want to achieve. Note the areas that need the most work and the areas that, perhaps, require less attention.
Make a note of the weight load you used and the amount of reps you performed in each session you do and make this a habit. In this way, you will have a personal best to exceed: next time you do the same workout try to better the weight load or the amount of reps. With both a fixed long-term and short-term target to strive for each session, you should be in a state of complete concentration. With each rep, you should be in tune with your body and fully aware of its limits. Focus will allow you to know when to push yourself that little bit further and when to say enough and take a break.
#2 Wasting Time
If you're at the gym for as little as twenty minutes, it is imperative that you fully take advantage of that period of time. Getting distracted or lolling around during a weightlifting session is more than just a waste of your time: your muscles will cool down and you will lose focus, leaving you susceptible to injury. That is not to say that you shouldn't take a break between reps. Taking a break between lifting weights is vital, but just don't overdo it.
It is helpful to have an alternate exercise in mind for occasions when the weights machine you want is taken. Being productive and using a different piece of equipment in the same way will help to achieve the same effect you were looking for before. For example, if the barbell that you were planning to use is taken, try using some dumb-bells of a similar weight instead.
#3 No Warm-Ups
All too many men neglect a proper warm up in the belief that more time will be spent lifting weights and thus guaranteeing better results. In fact, this couldn't be further from the truth. An ineffective warm-up or no warm-up at all will increase the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles, thus making injury and a poor performance a very likely possibility.
When done correctly, warming up causes a release of adrenaline and an increased heart rate which warms up the muscles and leads to an increase of synovial fluid between the joints, thus reducing friction and allowing them to move more efficiently. A decent warm-up doesn't have to seriously cut into your weightlifting time: it can just be a few minutes. Surprisingly, however, you do not need to stretch your muscles. Studies have shown that stretching decreases muscle strength by up to 30%: not ideal for lifting weights. Instead, a five minute jog on the treadmill is all it takes to have a good warm-up while simultaneously getting you into that right frame of mind and ready to go.
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