Although nurturing beginners is one of the key goals for us at FitMag, it may seem as though we ridicule them. If you read our interviews with IFBB Pro bodybuilders, world strong men and other professional athletes you will always read about common mistakes beginners make, and why it is so counterproductive. This isn’t because we have a thing against beginners, in fact we love beginners! It is because we want to help you, and enable you to learn from our experiences. Every one of us was a beginner not so long ago in the grand scheme of things, and the same is true for every professional athlete in the world! So when you read the rest of this article as a beginner, please don’t get upset. Instead enjoy the fact that you are now never going to make the mistakes which 99% of beginners make in the gym! It is nearly the beginning of a new year, so it is time to take your training more seriously!
This is such a cliché, but it can never be repeated too many times because it is such a fundamental part of training. Time after time we see beginners in the gym making crazy mistakes with their form, lifting weights probably 30-40% too heavy for them and compensating with form which makes you squirm! Bad form is very dangerous, particularly on your back and joints. It is also pointless, because you are achieving no muscular contraction whatsoever. Don’t believe me? Pick out one guy from your gym who uses bad form, study his progress and see if he looks any better in 12 weeks, or even 6 months. Three tubs of protein say he doesn’t! This is simply because he isn’t working his muscles; he is working his joints more than anything else! So the moral of the story is, take up golf or another sport OR drop the ego and start using proper form.
No matter how often we bombard you with this kind of content about poor form, some people will continue to train like a clown! If you’re serious about making progress, don’t be one of those clowns! Strength comes with time and consistently using correct form, and strength ironically does not equate to bigger muscles!
This is a similar point to the first, but important enough to have its own piece. Some beginners I personally see in the gym will lift the same weight as me, ask for a spot and need help after rep 1 or 2. Part of me wants to leave them stranded with the weight; after all they would learn to never do it again right? Joking aside, unless strength is your key goal you shouldn’t be using weights which force you to fail before at least 6 repetitions as an absolute minimum!
As I said before, lifting big weights with poor form will get you nowhere very fast!
This one is crucial, yet I fear many will simply discard it as nonsense. This is a true story, recently I was training chest when I guy who had just started training wanted to join me. As I was warming up on dumbbell press with about 15-20kg dumbbells, he hastily grabbed the 34s and punched out 4 repetitions as his warm up. Picture that, he walked into the gym sat on the bench with the 34s and boom! The fact he is only 19 is probably his saving grace because he connective tissues and even his muscle fibres would not have appreciated that to say the least! I was literally blown away, how somebody could be so stupid. But then somebody managed to top that, by deadlifting 3 plates a side with very sketchy form as his warm up. I thought, my job is certainly safe as long as there are people like this to educate!! Warming up is essential to your gains as well as your health. Even as an invincible teenager (I was one not so long ago, now I am nearly 22!) you need to think long term and look after your joints. You reap what you sow, and if you constantly blitz your connective tissues with stupid ‘’warm up’’ sets as mentioned above, believe me in 10 years you will be suffering!!!
Spend at least 10 minutes with every upper body workout warming up your shoulder joints and then go into warming up the target muscle. For legs, spend a good 10 minutes pumping blood into the thighs with warm up sets and warming the knee joints up. Longevity is essential, without it you may as well not begin!
We started with a cliché and we will finish with one. Over training is such a common mistake which we see beginners make over and over again! The amount of times people ask why I ‘’only’’ train for 45-60 minutes is crazy. The thing is, these gym warriors and I use that term very lightly, who think their 2 hour workouts are productive are missing the point. Their intensity is lagging because they have over fatigued the muscle. As where I on the other hand, will take the muscles beyond failure and then feed them. Training for hours on end is not the way forward, especially for beginners! I don’t care if you read that Jay Cutler trains 2 hours a day, because he is NOT you. 99.99% of people do not have genetics and the diet to do what Jay does. Do you eat up to 9,000 calories a day of high quality food? No! Do you sleep for 10 hours a day? No! Do you have Olympia genetics? We don’t know, we shall see but the chances are you don’t. That is all fine, just don’t over train in an attempt to follow somebody who isn’t relevant to you.
60 minutes, 4-5 times a week in the gym is absolutely ample, hitting each body part once a week!
There you go beginners; these are the most common mistakes in the gym which you need to avoid! Remember, I love you all I am only trying to help!