BY WHITNEY COLE & BYRON PAIDOUSSI
1. You Never Change Your Rep Ranges
People lift religiously, but many seldom vary their rep ranges or the number of sets they perform. They’ll stick to 3 sets of 10 for an indefinite amount of time, which results in a total lack of progression.
The muscles know what to expect, and they just adapt to the program. It’s important to work different rep ranges to force muscles to keep adapting.
Note these basics:
- A) 1-5 reps—neurological changes and gains of pure strength
- B) 6-8 reps—neurological adaptations, as well as metabolic and structural changes, resulting in gains of strength and hypertrophy
- C) 8-12 reps—there is little neurological adaptation, but lots of structural change, resulting in major hypertrophy gains
- D) 13-20 reps—changes are mostly metabolic, resulting in local endurance gains
Depending on your goals, you should vary rep ranges every few weeks. Overdo the 8-12 range and you may get huge, but your strength will suffer. Conversely, staying in the 1-5 rep range will make you incredibly strong, but very little visible change will occur and your chance of injury increases.
2. You Never Change Your Routines
The next biggest mistake you can make is never changing your routine. This stagnates your body’s development, since it isn’t being challenged with new, varying movements.
By changing your routine, you challenge your muscles to work against new stress, which forces them to adapt and improve.
3. You’re Progressing to Heavier Weights Too Quickly
Unfortunately, lifting too heavy too soon prohibits the neurological and physiological adaptations within the body, which are essential to safely increase the weight load. As a result, your form inevitably suffers, putting you at risk of injury.
To complete reps, we sometimes sacrifice perfect form and recruit additional muscles, which effectively sacrifices the primary muscle(s) for which each exercise was selected to develop.
Instead of muscular gains, you gain bad habits and lose progress and muscular development. In addition, injuries can occur which, if serious, could have you benched from your workouts for weeks.
4. You Forget to Strengthen Stabilizing Muscles
“I lift regularly but my max lifts aren’t getting heavier, what’s the deal?” and “I keep hurting myself while trying to lift heavier” are frequent complaints among lifters.
The cause of both problems is often not strengthening the smaller stabilizing musclesO. of the major joints. Too many people focus solely on the big, visual muscles such as pectorals., deltoids ., and quadsOpens in a new Window..
If you want to develop those muscles and lift heavier, you must strengthen the stabilizers that help keep the joint in correct position during maximal lifts. Want a bigger chest and heavier bench press?
Strengthen your rotator cuff group of muscles (deep within the shoulder) as well as your triceps. Want more developed quads and a better squat? Don’t forget to strengthen the glute medius and piriformis, two muscles that aid in hip stabilization.
Improving the strength of those smaller muscles helps you maintain the integrity of the joint, preventing injuries and allowing you to lift heavier weights going forward.
5. Overtraining A Single Muscle Group
When you obsesses over developing a particular body part., you may inadvertently train that body part too often.
If you’re genuinely training for size and strength gains., you need to give your muscles adequate time to recover, regenerate, and grow. Heavy training causes trauma to the muscle cells, and those muscles need time to repair themselves.
Muscle cells can only repair themselves during rest, so working muscles too often actually causes muscular deterioratio—the complete opposite of the desired size and strength gain.
General rule: If you’re working for size gains, give muscle groups at least four days between sessions.