Five Common Weight Lifting Mistakes
By Miles Casey
Do you find yourself stuck on certain movements, or maybe you keep getting the same minor injuries that are limiting progression in your training? It’s likely that these are the results of improper technique. Have a look at these five common weight lifting mistakes from Barry's Bootcamp trainer Miles Casey and see if these tips can rectify some of the issues you may be dealing with.
1. Rushing Through Reps
Lifting weights is not a race. It’s only when you start to embrace the good pain and tension of each rep that you really start to notice improvements. It's also important to acknowledge that lifting weights too aggressively not only increases the risk of injury, but also limits the potential improvements in your physique and strength.
Slowing your reps down and emphasising the time under tension will create a more efficient metabolic effect, which is what makes weight training an effective method of torching fat. Focusing on the tempo of each repetition also helps you to understand the movement, to refine and improve your technique.
Tip: Make that 10kg dumbbell feel like a 20kg by counting down 3 seconds on the lowering phase of most exercises and you are likely to achieve the muscular development and fat loss you’ve been working for.
2. Men Skipping Leg Day
A typical Barry’s Bootcamp class on a Tuesday (Butt and Legs Day) is almost always overflowing with women, but very few men. I think many experts would agree that the era of top-heavy men is not only outdated, but it’s also unsafe. Not training legs can cause a series of injuries from head to toe, largely due to extreme imbalances and asymmetries.
Tip: Guys should start incorporating lower body movements, such as squats, deadlifts, lunges and glute bridges, into their routines at least once a week, in order to balance their physiques. The legs and glutes are the largest muscles in the body; as a result, the metabolic benefits, particularly measured as fat loss, of engaging these muscles are excellent. Also, the surge of testosterone that is secreted after a leg session will contribute to the growth of muscle groups all over the body.
3. Ladies - Why you should never skip upper body work
Unlike our Tuesday classes at Barry’s, Wednesday (Chest and Back Day), has far more men in attendance than women. This is, in part, due to the industry myth that by training their upper bodies women will appear to ‘bulk-up’. Contrary to what many may believe, ladies neglecting to train your upper bodies is actually a big mistake.
Upper body training improves strength in the back and shoulders, which is key to maintaining that elegant, slight posture that many of us compromise with predominantly sedentary lifestyles. It also aids in sculpting the shoulders and arms, which has both aesthetic and functional benefits.
Tip: So ladies, start pressing, rowing and pulling your way to a strong and sturdy upper body, to improve posture, and make improvements on those lower body lifts you love.
4. How heavy do you need to go?
One of the most widespread mistakes people make not only in Barry’s, but also whilst training alone, is the size of the weights they use. To put it simply, the bigger the movement the heavier the weight should be and the smaller the movement the lighter the weight should be. Heaving 30kg dumbbells while performing a bicep curl is probably the quickest way to get yourself injured!
Conversely, by only using a pair of 5kg dumbbells or relatively light barbells for squats will reap the least amount of benefit.
If the movement is an ‘open chained’ movement (when weight is added, it’s usually placed at the far away portion of the limb, such as with curls or leg extensions) it’s designed to train the smaller muscles. Attention to technique is crucial with these movements so heavy weights aren’t as necessary.
Tip: ‘Closed chained’ movements, such as squats and deadlifts, are better off loaded with slightly heavier weights to notice any significant changes.
5. The Squat
A movement that has become so popular, due to the undeniable benefits it has on butt and leg development, as well as increasing overall strength and muscle mass is the squat. However, the squat is one of the most improperly executed weighted movements in the fitness industry!
Tip: If you stick to this method, your knees, hips, ankles and lower back will thank you.
1) Position your feet shoulder width apart, with your toes pointing slightly out
2) Keep your head and chest straight up throughout the movement
3) Before the lowering phase, take a breath in to keep your abs tight (as if you’re about to get a punch in the gut)
4) Sit your hips back like you sit back onto a chair
5) As you lower, start to bend the knees keeping them in-line with the feet
6) Feeling the weight on your heels and mid-foot go down and drive it up
During each Barry’s Bootcamp class, the trainer gives a visual demonstration, along with a verbal description of what you should be aiming for and feeling while performing each floor exercise to help you get the best results.
We’re confident that we’ll spot any questionable technique during the class and rectify it then and there, but if not, we are always encourage our clients to speak to us after class for advice on movements they feel they need some help with.