Most people start their fitness journey enthusiastically. They get serious about their training and their diet and seem to make muscle gains with each consecutive workout session. They quickly pack on size, their strength is off the charts and it doesn’t take long to see the hard-earned results in the mirror. This gets them hooked and they keep coming back to the gym for more thinking they’ll always get better results.
However, after a couple of years down the fitness road, you find yourself unable to achieve the same rate of muscle growth and it seems as if what took you just weeks to build a certain amount of muscle mass, now takes you months or even years.
You see that your body is not responding to the same stimulus as it used to. You grind day in and day out just to maintain what you already have, let alone gain more.
So, you might be asking what happened. Nothing happened. That’s the problem. To adapt to a mechanical stress, your muscles need to change. To perfect something, the stress has to change often. It’s very likely you have not given you training routine a serious evaluation in a while and chances are that therein lies the problem.
What follows is a list of the top 6 mistakes experienced lifters make after they’ve acquired a few years of lifting experience. What’s so special about them? They’re extremely easy to correct. Get ready, they’re pretty amazing.
1. You’re not changing your training program
I don’t know a single guy who hasn’t made this mistake. You’ve been training for years and suddenly come across an interesting set of exercises for the muscle groups you want to develop. They seem like they might bring some additional benefit to your program and they might also feel good doing them.
Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Sure, you might be getting at least some benefit, but don’t expect on experiencing those sweet noob gains again or buying the whole “game-changing workout” lie. It won’t happen, especially if you don’t increase the load and keep exercising with the same weight every session.
You should put your ego aside and stop being stubborn. I know it’s difficult letting go of your old routine. Especially if you’ve made huge gains with it. I propose an alternative 5-step plan that will bust the plateaus you’ve encountered on your old routine and put you on the road to new gains:
• The first step is picking which exercises in your old program you like the least
• The second step is picking an alternative exercise for the same muscle or muscle group
• The third step is practicing the exercise you picked using a low weight, perfecting your execution form and then slowly start increasing it.
• The fourth step is replacing the old exercise with the alternative.
• The fifth step is continuing with your old program by incorporating a new alternative exercise every session.
After a while, you’ll end up with a whole new set of exercises. Of course, you can switch all your old exercises with the new ones at once. It all depends on how much you can’t let go of your old program.
2. You’re not training your legs
We’ve all seen the “Chicken legs syndrome”. And for those who have it, it looks pretty embarrassing. If you have it, shame on you. A piece of wisdom: not training half of your body can have a tremendous suppressing effect on the amount of testosterone that is released while you train. Seems logical, doesn’t it?
Well, that logic escapes a lot of people. When you don’t train your legs, you’re basically cutting yourself out of a lot of opportunities for new muscle growth. Squats aren’t even a prerequisite. You can substitute them with machines where you can do leg presses, leg curls or leg extensions. These are safer for you joints and can do wonders for your muscles. Start with a light weight and slowly move up. Instead of having a rest day, train your legs. You’ll give them a good workout and up your testosterone levels while simultaneously resting your upper body.
3. You should focus on doing quality reps, don’t focus on quantity
This is also a common mistake a lot of lifters make. Instead of focusing on doing their repetitions with a good form and really feeling the muscle, they focus on squeezing as many reps as possible with a sloppy form at first and a horrible form later in the set.
All because their routine says that they should do that exercise for a certain amount of reps and anything less than that means your workout was a failure. That’s not the right mindset to have about your workout program.
Doing everything you can to reach the prescribed reps almost always destroys your form and could lead to serious injuries or strains. And it also makes you look silly. Leave your ego aside when you enter the gym, use smaller weights, execute with good form and keep the tension on the muscle consistent and constant throughout the entire set. This enables your body to recruit a bigger number of muscle fibers and provides a better overall muscle development.
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