Strength Training: Why Aren’t You Getting Stronger???

Gym goers work out for many reasons.  One common reason is that they want to get stronger.  At some point most people hit plateaus and fail to continue to gain strength.  Here are some common mistakes that most people make in their strength training.

You Are Lifting Too Heavy. You see it every day, someone puts too much weight on the bar and fails to complete more than one unassisted repetition without the aid of their spotter.  It is better to perform eight repetitions with 185lbs than to try to bench press 245lbs two times unsuccessfully. Pick a weight that you know you can lift for the desired number of repetitions that you want to perform.  Going a little bit lighter will also help you maintain proper form and use the right muscles to perform a movement.

You Aren’t Allowing for Enough Rest. Your muscles need time to rest, recover, and rebuild.  Working the same group of muscles day after day will never allow the muscles to fully recover and rebuild to their maximum potential.  Try giving a muscle group 48 hours between workouts.  You can accomplish this by doing just three days of full body resistance training a week and allowing for adequate recovery in between workouts, or doing upper body exercises on one day and lower body exercises on another day.

You Are Spending Too Much Time in the Gym. Lifting weights for two straight hours is counterproductive.  Studies show that after an hour of intense exercise cortisol levels rise.  (Cortisol is a stress hormone.)These rising levels inhibit the release of testosterone and human growth hormone from your muscles. These hormones aid in muscle growth and development.  Limit your strength training sessions to forty-five minutes to an hour for greater strength gains.

You Aren’t Eating Enough. If you want to get stronger you have to eat enough in order to refuel and repair after exercise.  Make sure you are taking in enough protein to rebuild muscle after intense strength training.  You also have to eat more calories than you burn in the day.  You may gain some unwanted weight in the process; however, if your goal is strength gain this isn’t the end of the world. The added muscle you will assist in dropping the pounds quickly after you have attained your goals.

There Isn’t Enough Variety in Your Workouts. Muscle development thrives on diversity.  Don’t do the same exercises for the same number of repetitions in the same order every time you go to the gym.  We all have our favorite lifts and have a tendency to get complacent by falling into the same routine each day.  Try mixing up the order in which you perform your exercises, find new exercises that work the same muscles groups and substitute them for your favorite lift, and vary between sets.  If you start every workout with 3 sets of 10 on the bench press, start with lat pull-downs and perform  2 sets of 15 repetitions on the  incline press later in your workout.

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Garrett Bludau

Photo credit: pasukaru76