Common Mistakes When Lifting Weights

Mar 19, 2014

Never-Sacrifice-Form

Strength Training through weight lifting is an important part of a balanced fitness plan. Lifting weights, especially free weights, however, can be dangerous if done incorrectly. Besides being dangerous, the participant will not benefit from lifting weights if they do not know what they are doing. Here are a few common mistakes that novice weight lifters make.

1. Improper Form.

This is by far, the most serious mistake. Improper form when lifting weights is one of the primary causes of injury in the gym. If the novice weight trainer is not sure what the correct form is for a particular exercise, there are plenty of resources available on-line or in the gym. An example of improper form can often be seen around the squat rack. The barbell squat is one of the best all around exercises.

Done incorrectly, however, it can also lead to serious injury. The most common mistake that people make when doing squats is that of leaning forward. This creates excessive strain on the lower back and knees. Another mistake that can be made during the squat is not having the feet spread wide enough. The feet should be just wider than shoulder width. If they are too close together, there will be a lot of stress on the knees. Improper form is not just confined to free weights.

Novices can also use incorrect form on strength training machines. The Lat Pulldown machine is one that many people use incorrectly. The exercise is designed to work the back muscles. Done correctly, the wide bar is pulled down to the chest. The common mistake is to pull the bar down behind the neck. When the exercise is done this way, it places undue stress on the shoulders and only gives minimal work to the lat (back) muscles.

Another example of improper form is seen when someone “swings” the weights. This is most common in barbell bicep curls. If the person is using too much weight, the tendency is to swing the weight up during the curl. This can lead to back injury. The participant is also not going to benefit from the curls because swinging the weight takes the tension off of the muscles. In this case, it is better to reduce the weight being curled and concentrate on making the biceps work through the whole range of motion.

2. Insufficient Weight.

Another common mistake made in weight training is that of not using enough weight to work the muscles. If the person can do 15 or 20 reps with the weight, it is time to increase the weight being lifted. Muscles only grow and get stronger if they are constantly being forced to work harder. Once a certain weight becomes easy to lift, it is time to increase it. It is best to select a weight that allows the person to get around ten repetitions.

To be continued…

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