You’ve got BIG fitness goals.
And you’re committed.
So you’re busting your butt in the gym every week.
But your results are . . . well, lackluster.
If you’re not getting OUT of your workout what you feel you are putting IN, you may be committing one of these seven strength training sins.
If you’re making these mindset mistakes in the gym, your beliefs about exercise may be holding you back from experiencing all the benefits your workouts could potentially offer.
Change these core beliefs to change your body.
- How much weight you lift is important.
Who gives a fluff how much weight you lift? Does anyone care if the weights go up and down on a machine in a gym in YourTown, USA?
The answer is no. Nobody cares how much weight you lift.
And if you care, you need to start checking your ego at the door.
The amount of weight you lift does not matter AT ALL. The intensity to which you work your muscles is what counts. The stimulus you provide the muscles by working them deeply and thoroughly is what builds muscle and strengthens the body.
The amount of weight you lift is a tool used to exhaust the muscles. The goal of strength training is to thoroughly and completely exhaust your muscles. Not to lift weights up and down.
Focus on exhausting your muscles to complete muscle failure.
And nothing else.
- You’ve gotta finish that last rep.
This one makes me cringe.
Do you see the lifters in your gym breaking form and using momentum to finish that final rep?
Don’t be that lifter!
The point of strength training is NOT to lift a weight a certain number of times. Again, the goal of strength training is to intensely exhaust the muscles so that in the recovery process, they rebuild (and overcompensate) and you create more strength in your body.
Breaking form to finish that last rep totally negates the actual goal of strength training.
Using momentum or muscle groups not directly involved in the exercise to force that last rep out gives the target muscles a rest from the tension.
You should never finish your final rep. Because weight training is not about finishing reps.
Weight training is about challenging the muscles until they are 110% exhausted and they’ve got nothing left for you.
You should approach your final rep with perfect form. Slowly, with control, continue to try to lift the weight for ten seconds after you are unable to move the weight. The weight will not move. Continuing to push into the weight at the point of muscle failure is not the same as forcing the rep out.
When you slowly continue to push into the unmoving weight on the last rep, you are working your muscle to total muscle failure, providing a stimulus for muscle recovery, which is the damn point of strength training.
I repeat: do not finish that last rep.
Best case scenario- you don’t get the full benefits of the exercise. Worst case scenario- you sustain an injury.
- As long as the weights go up and down, you are getting exercise.
Teaching people how to lift weights mindfully is the most important part of our work training clients at The Strength Shoppe.
Most people who lift weights throw them up and then take a vacation on the way down as the weight falls.
What are you actually even doing??!!
If you throw the weights up in the lifting phase, your muscles are doing a very small percentage of the work. If you relax the muscles on the lowering phase, the muscles aren’t doing anything on the way down.
Don’t let your muscles be lazy wet noodles during your strength training workout!
Focus on using your muscles to lift the weights and engaging your muscles to resist against the weights as you lower.
Your muscles should be fully engaged and working their little asses off the entire time you are exercising.
No lazy muscles. Keep them working THE ENTIRE TIME.
- If you are performing an exercise, you are working the correct muscles.
I’ve seen people perform a chest press without using their chest muscles. At all.
For any given movement, your body can execute said movement utilizing different muscle groups.
Here’s an experiment for you: Walk up the stairs leaning slightly forward and deliberately use your quads (the front of your thighs) to lift your body. Now walk up the stairs standing completely upright, squeezing your butt and lifting your body with your glutes.
First and foremost, you have to perform your exercises with PERFECT form.
And when I say perfect, I mean BETTER than PERFECT.
When we train clients at The Strength Shoppe, we don’t want a single muscle fiber out of step. And for this level of precision, you need to be focused on the target muscles and deliberately ENGAGE them to perform the movement.
We aren’t just going to move some weights around and leave the results up to chance.
- Exhausting the muscles has to be time-consuming.
If you lift weights with perfect form, keeping the correct target muscles engaged for the duration of the exercise (without compensating or cheating), you will exhaust your muscles very quickly.
You don’t need to spend hours in the gym each week.
Try 15 minutes a week.
It’s time to start exercising mindfully.
I don’t care how strong you are, if you are a human being, it’s possible (and preferable actually) to exhaust your muscles quickly. The stronger you are, the more weight you will use to increase the intensity of the workout. Each exercise should last 1-2 ½ minutes.
Let’s be honest.
You are clocking hours in the gym because you think minutes/hours = results. But the time you spend in the gym doesn’t have much to do with the results you experience.
It’s the quality of the exercise that actually matters.
Stop wasting your time. Get it done the right way.
- If you feel the burn, you exhausted the muscles.
When your muscles begin to burn from your exercise, you aren’t at the end. You’re at the beginning.
Your muscles should begin burning shortly after the exercise begins, and the burn should become more and more uncomfortable as you continue.
So many people quit the exercise after feeling the very beginnings of the muscle burn, thinking they have reached the endgoal of weight training.
The goal of exercise is to exhaust the muscles, not to feel a burn. The burning you feel is an indication that you are on the right track and you are getting closer to muscle failure.
Don’t stop now, keep going. View the burn as the beginning and an essential part of exercise.
- It’s cool to listen to music and watch TV while you exercise.
If you were having brain surgery, would you be cool with your surgeon watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians while performing your surgery?
Why? Because then your surgeon would be splitting focus, and Kim’s latest beauty procedure might distract from your very important brain surgery.
So why are you zoning out during your workout? Isn’t the health of your body one of the most important things in your life? I mean one could argue it is the MOST important thing . . .
Stop avoiding your exercise. Stop trying to escape your body.
Exercise is your time to develop and work on your relationship with your body.
Be present. Be focused. Decide this is the time to live inside your body.
If you’re ready, we’re ready to work with you.
If you’re in LA (Pasadena or DTLA/Echo Park), reach out to us to schedule your first session at The Strength Shoppe.
We can’t wait to meet you!!!!! <3