Adopting an active lifestyle by regularly going to the gym or working out at home is indeed a healthy way of living, but when it comes to muscle building, showing up at the gym day after day and just going through the motion with your workout wouldn’t cut it. There are a number of muscle building mistakes by both newbies and ‘experienced gym goers’ that inhibit muscle growth.
These common muscle building mistakes are not very hard to figure out. If we are to be honest with ourselves, a lot of us will easily accept making a number of these mistakes either presently or at some point in the past.
Having an effective and efficient workout plan is a must if we want to maximise our chance of building muscle and size at a fast rate. The key tip, when it comes to building muscle is to workout smarter by knowing what to do and what not to do.
Most of us workout to either loss weight or build muscle, so it is absolutely worth taking the time to know how to train right. Working out just any how without knowing the right and efficient way of performing your exercise routines means you risk wasting your time and energy for ages without seeing any real progress.
Increasing our muscle mass comes with lot of advantages, some of which include, better metabolism and immune system, improved posture, stronger bones, stronger ligaments, stronger tendons and improved mental health.
Building muscle is not an overnight quest, so it is vital to maximise workout efficiency by avoiding mistakes and time-wasting.
Hera are 12 muscle building mistakes for your perusal!
1. Lifting Too Much Weight
Guys, let’s be honest with ourselves, most of us tend to ego-lift. We just want to be that one dude lifting the heaviest weight in the gym. The truth of the matter is that, lifting an insane amount of weight does not necessarily guarantee instant results and success. You sacrifice proper form when you lift too heavy. Poor form means a higher risk of injury, and injuries as we all know, keep us away from the gym.
The lesser the time spent in the gym due to an injury, the slower our muscle gain.
If you can only do 4 to 5 reps instead of 10 to 15 reps, then you are lifting too heavy. Doing 10 to 15 reps gives you a far better chance of building muscle and size.
2. Not Lifting Heavy Enough
This is the opposite of the mistake 1 above. Yes you need to ensure you do not lift too heavy, but at the same time, not lifting enough weight drastically slows down the rate of muscle growth. The weight you lift must be challenging enough to give your body the stimulus it requires to trigger muscle growth.
Comfortably doing 20 plus reps is not going to give you the results you yearn for. Your selected weight must be challenging enough for 10 to 15 reps, not way more.
3. Avoiding Compound Exercises
Choosing the most effective exercise for muscle growth is very vital. Concentrating on exercises that target a specific muscle group is a common mistake we must avoid.
The addition of compound exercises in workout routines is an absolute must!
Compound exercises target multiple muscle groups, and make use of multiple joints. Compound exercises place a lot of stress on muscle fibres and produce hormonal responses that trigger muscle growth.
To effectively build muscle, your workout sessions should be built around compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, bench presses, shoulder presses, barbell rows, pull-ups and lat pull-downs.
Yes, you can do isolation exercises now and then, but in order to maximise your muscle building potential, compound exercises should be your primary focus.
It very well might seem logical that the more you workout, the more muscle you build. The actual truth, however, is that the more work and more time spent at the gym doesn’t necessarily result in more muscle growth.
Physical exercise breakdowns your muscle tissues, which then get repaired afterwards, so overtraining does not provide your body the rest time needed to undergo this repair and recovery process. Overtraining is just as detrimental to muscle building as doing nothing at all. Spending hours and hours in the gym on a day to day basis will simply do more harm than good.
Overtraining can impede muscle growth and increase the risk of injuries and prolonged fatigue.
5. Not Getting Enough Sleep
This goes hand-in-hand with the need for the body to get enough rest and recovery as stated in point 4 above. Lack of sleep seriously impedes muscle growth as it elevates your stress hormones and increases body fat gain. Less sleep and more stress has a negative impact on muscle growth.
Getting enough sleep allows your body to repair tissues and produce muscle building hormones. Experts recommend a minimum of 7 hours sleep per night. 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night is ideal!
6. Not Eating Enough For Muscle Growth
In order to build muscle and size, you need to focus on calorie surpluses and not deficits. All your efforts at the gym will count for nothing if you are not consuming enough calories. You will struggle to build muscle and size if you are simultaneously cutting down on your calorie intake. Building more muscle tissue requires you to consume more calories than you burn per day.
This increased daily calorie intake should be of high quality in order to help fuel workout sessions and improve muscle recovery.
7. Not Consuming Enough Proteins
Consuming the wrong type of calories is very detrimental to muscle building. Your daily calorie intake should contain a good amount of protein. The role of protein in your muscle building journey should not be under-estimated. In fact, experts recommend a daily consumption of 1 gram of protein per kg of bodyweight.
Protein supplements are not necessary if you eat enough high quality protein daily. Protein plays a vital role in helping to build back broken-down muscles.
8. Not Slowing Down And Lifting Explosively
The tempo at which you lift and lower the weight has a great impact on the outcome of your workout session. Slow and controlled reps put your muscles under a lot of tension. Muscles grow quicker when placed under tension for longer periods of time.
Lifting weights at a fast pace makes you feel good about yourself, but focusing on the lowering phase of an exercise is far effective at triggering muscle growth. For example, concentrating on slowing down the lowering phase of a bench press or squat, and explosively lifting back up, is more effective at triggering muscle growth than just lifting up and down at a fast pace.
Slowing down the lowering phase also helps to build strength as you are less reliant on the bounce of momentum.
9. Lifting With Poor Form
Lifting with poor form is very likely to occur when you lift too heavy. The weight you lift must be heavy enough to challenge your body, but it must not be too heavy to the extent where proper form and technique is sacrificed. Training with improper form not only adds little to your muscle growth, it also exposes your body to more injuries. Injuries that could be very easily avoided.
Training with the proper form maximises your chance of muscle growth as it helps to effectively recruit your targeted muscle groups.
10. Doing Too Much Cardio
While on the muscle building journey, performing regular cardio is essential to getting your physique right and improving your overall cardiovascular health. Despite the health benefits of cardio exercises, doing too much cardio increases the risk of burning away your muscle gains and slowing down the rate of muscle growth.
If your goal is completely on muscle gains, then it is absolutely necessary to limit cardio training by keeping a close eye on the frequency and intensity of your cardio sessions.
As stated, some form of cardio is absolutely required, you just need to find the ‘sweet spot’ between not doing too much cardio and doing weight training.
11. Relying On Supplements To Build Muscle
As the name suggests, supplement are just meant to be supplements. They are so-called for a good reason. They are meant to supplement nutritional deficiencies in your diet and not be used as a replacement for consistency, hard work and a proper diet.
You sell yourself short when you rely on supplements to build muscle. There are few supplements that have been proven to be effective, but well over 90% of them are complete waste of your hard-earned money.
You frankly do not need supplements for muscle building if your diet is spot-on. Taking supplements will very likely shift your focus towards those pills instead of concentrating on your workout regimen and choice of diet. This could result in you failing to work hard and push yourself in the gym and neglect the importance of keeping a close eye on your diet. Your rate of muscle growth suffers in the end.
12. Not Warming Up And Cooling Down
It is always very tempting to skip a warm up and go straight into your workout session. In order for the body to function properly and reduce the risk of injuries, it is important to give the muscles a proper warm up prior to workout sessions. The muscles must be loosened before they are exposed to the stress and muscle tension a workout session brings.
It is also important to give your body a proper stretch at the end of your workout session. Stretching at the end of workout sessions starts the recovery process and helps to remove lactic acid build-up from the muscles. Not stretching can leave your muscles tight and increase the risk of injuries.
The above muscle building mistakes are easy to commit but also very easy to avoid. You have to make a conscious effort to maximise your muscle building potential by avoiding these mistakes.
Muscle building is never and will never be an overnight journey. Reaching the goal requires consistency, hard work and dedication.
There are indeed some muscle building mistakes not covered in this blogpost. Please feel free to leave your contributions, comments and questions in the comments section below.