7 Common Mistakes in Strength Training

4 min read

7 Common Mistakes in Strength Training

Strength training is simple, but why do we find it challenging to build strength?

Vik shares his thoughts and experience...

The notion of being strong appeals to most people, even my grandma 😊. There are many reasons why someone may aspire to grow stronger. Typically, this is because of physique and/or performance aspirations that we have. AKA to look good naked or to optimise how we perform given tasks whether that be in a sporting environment or day-to-day living.

Getting strong is simple. So why isn’t everyone walking around a super-strong man or woman?

Here’s what I’ve come across are the 7 most common reasons why people aren’t getting stronger:

1. Lack of clear intention and unrealistic expectation

Saying you want to get strong is a good start but you need to have clear objectives and a plan or method in place to achieve this. Be clear on which movements you wish to gain strength in and in what time frame. Then you can map out other movements which can be worked on to supplement your priority movements.

E.g. Wanting 3 pull ups by December 2021 is measurable VS wanting to get stronger in pull ups is not!!

Just because you’ve printed a strength program off the internet (I’ve been guilty of this when I was younger) that some jacked up dude has used isn’t going to make you stronger!

Have you factored in that you can’t train 10-20 hours each week? Be realistic; you may go away on holiday, work or family life can get in the way. All these variables have to be taken into account to set yourself a realistic expectation of your journey to getting stronger.

2. Moving poorly

There could be a number of reasons you’re moving inefficiently; lack of mobility, poor technique/incorrect mechanics or muscle weakness and/or imbalance. This is where 90% of us have trouble! Lots of people get stronger initially by just powering through a movement but there is no hiding from technique in the long run if you want to keep progressing. More importantly, if you don’t address these issues early on you will suffer with muscle imbalance which with increased load and volume over time, results in pain and an injury.

E.g. Squats are a great strength builder but majority of people don’t squat correctly. They lack mobility in their ankles and hips and most also have weak glutes which means adding weights or continuing doing just squats is a recipe for disaster!

Focus on learning and work on fundamental movements to move freely, strongly and pain-free.

“Building strength is more than just training pull-ups, squats, or deadlifts...think more holistically about your training and how your training fits into your everyday life. Consistency is king (or queen!). Have good awareness of your weaknesses, program to those weaknesses and leave your ego in front of the mirror at home.”

3. Doing what you love and not what you need to be doing!

Yes…everyone has their favourite movements that they love doing so they tend towards these in the gym. BUT this usually means you’re not doing the movements you are weaker in; which is exactly what we all need to be working on; addressing our weaknesses!

This is really common. We don’t explore and load different movement patterns or aren’t doing accessory work they need to be doing. I see this is usually due to lack of knowledge or simply because of ego!

Bottom line: if you want to get strong then you must address your weaknesses.

4. Inconsistency in training

Building strength takes time and effort, applied consistently. Lifting or working on strength every now and then isn’t going to make you strong. Turning up in a gym and going with the ‘flow’ isn’t going to help you grow strong! Formulate a plan.

It’s also common for people to jump program to program hoping they are going to get miracle strength. You must commit to a program and stay consistent with your training to see results!

5. No tracking, assessing, testing, or retesting

Strength training is simple; lift or perform certain movements for sets, reps, time and/or certain loads. If you’re not tracking this information, then you do not know how to continue to progress.

Plan a testing day – see where your lifts are at. Check-in with a professional occasionally if you aren’t sure how to test. Keep track of your gains!

6. Lack of focus on recovery

Yes… it is about how hard and heavy you perform your movement to get stronger but if you’re not allowing your body time to recover then the hard work is going to waste! Resistance training is essentially causing damage to your soft tissues. In order to achieve muscle growth and gain strength, you MUST rest so it can repair.

Also, are you not sleeping properly (7-8.5hrs) or getting the right volume of fuel (food) with the appropriate mix of nutrients? Get the sleep, food and stress levels in check and you’re well on your way to smashing those goals.

7. Strength isn't prioritised

It’s simple. If you want to get stronger then you must prioritize strength in your training. Ensure every training session is planned to get you stronger. Do this by being clear on what progressive load, intensity and total volume each movement (or lift) needs to take place in your session.

Plan well, be consistent and you will progress well.

Take aways

Building strength is more than just training pull ups, squat or deadlift. Yes they are integral to getting stronger but you need to consider the bigger picture; think more holistically about your training and how your training fits into your everyday life.

Consistency is king (or queen!). Be clear on what you want to achieve. Have a good awareness on where your weaknesses lie, program to those weaknesses and leave your ego in front of the mirror at home 😊.  

Of course there’s more reasons why people aren’t getting stronger but if you work on these 7 you will have a great shot at making awesome strength gains.

Drop me a note with any questions.

Vik.

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