Increase Weight Gradually
This is the one thing we’ve all been guilty of when starting out. You’re new to the gym, have an image in mind of how hench you’re going to be in three days’ time and you’re putting all that enthusiasm into lifting the heaviest weight you can. It’s amazing, because the huge guy next to you can only manage half the amount. You’ll be bigger than him by next week, right?
Wrong. As well as hurting yourself, you’re likely sacrificing any gains by not doing reps slowly enough, not to mention your technique going out the window. Technique and reps first. Volume later.
Stick To Purposeful Movements
A common mistake for arm and leg curls and extensions is that your limbs flail when you’re trying to overcompensate. Start with light weights and higher reps that you can comfortably lift. No point fatiguing your muscles on day one. Your reps should be purposeful. At no point should you be surprised to have achieved a lift; in other words, it should all be by design.
Common errors involve letting your arm wobble or stray from your side when curling. Before you lift, learn the technique and what it should look like. Then use the mirrors. Sure, you get posers in the gym, but the mirrors are actually there for you to see how your technique looks.
Slow And Steady Wins The Gains
Whereas you may at first think that lifting quickly, pumping away at curls is a sign of doing it better, and that slow lifts are a sign of struggling. The slower you go the more muscle fibres you will hit, and also the more likely you are to perform with perfect technique.
Weights First, Cardio Second
Cardio uses your muscles and energy. Sound obvious? Well, you’d be surprised how many people put these in two separate categories. If you’re looking to get big you’ll need to monitor your macros and cardio, but in terms of a weights workout, if you run, cycle, or box, your muscles will already be fatigued, so don’t be surprised when you can’t lift the same amount of weight as you did last time you went.
Mind Your Back And Neck
Common injuries from weightlifting come as a result of not warming up and stretching. All that lifting makes your muscles tight. Listen to your body and stretch off before and after, and also when you wake up in a morning.
Your neck and back are at risk when lifting heavy weights. One false jerk and you could have lasting problems. To protect yourself, engage your core and don’t hunch. Don’t just focus on the limbs that you’re working, keep your posture in mind.
Make Your Muscles Work, Not Your Joints
This comes under good technique and not lifting heavier than you can handle, but if you’re swinging your arms and using more momentum than muscle that probably means your joints are bearing more of the brunt than the muscle fibres you’re trying to build.
Go For Full Range of Movement
Without a full range of motion, your biceps can’t fully expand and contract. So you basically halve the move’s effectiveness. Lower the weight all the way down to your thigh to max out on the benefits.
Hold Weights Correctly
This depends on the lift in question. A palm-up lift works different muscles to when you do the same motion with your palm down. Do everything with a purpose. Grip the bar as tightly as you can; a flimsy hold will likely not have the same positive result on the muscle you’re trying to hit. Use lifting aids like gloves, chalk or straps if it helps at first.
Remember that the angle you hold the weight at will determine which muscles you’re working. If you’re performing bicep curls, the dumbbell should be horizontal as tilting it will work a different part of your arm.
Remember To Breath
We weren’t assuming that you were about to pass out from holding your breath, but if you’re new to lifting you may not be aware there’s a technique to your breathing that could greatly impact your lifting ability. Before a lift, fill your lungs as your raise the bar. Then, take an extra ‘sip’. Release your breath as you push or at the equivalent of the lowest point of the lift.