Legend has it that about 2,500 years ago, the Greek wrestling champion Milon Krotonski carried a calf on his shoulders every day instead of a barbell, from the day he was born until he gradually became a ferocious bull.
Nowadays, carrying a growing calf on your shoulder is not necessarily the best way to gain strength, and according to science, it is not even necessary. Milon became stronger due to the consistent and progressive loading of the muscles, which is a prerequisite for increasing strength. The fact is that you will become stronger easier and faster if you choose correctly all the variables related to training.
Which factors are most often overlooked? These are our 6 strength training mistakes.
Mistake 1: You pay too much attention to auxiliary and complementary exercises
One of the mistakes we all made during our early careers was to improve on the little things. We set very small and ridiculous goals, such as making a skull crushery (skull-crusher or French extension – triceps extension with a big barbell), because we know that strong muscles are important for a quality bench. But in this way we come to a point where the bench presses cease to be the center of our attention at the expense of improving the French deployment. It’s a very slippery slope that we don’t even notice until we slide on it.
Auxiliary, complementary or side exercises, call them whatever you want, they all represent the same thing: these exercises are designed to help you with basic lifting. Of course, you want to become stronger in the auxiliary exercises to maintain your structural balance, maintain your progress in the main lifts and avoid injuries. But remember that these exercises are just a means to an end. The main goal is lifting.
When doing strength training, always perform complementary exercises with excellent technique. When focusing on simple exercises, keep your focus on the muscle you are currently training, not just on moving the weight from point A to point B. Continue to perform auxiliary exercises after the main lifts.
Mistake 2: In multi-joint exercises, you do not focus enough on movement
Focusing on tightening individual muscles is ideal for simple exercises or when you are not training with heavy weights. However, the situation is radically different in the transition to complex exercises, especially if they are combined with heavy weights. If you purposefully try to tighten only individual muscles during a difficult deadlift or squat, you will never be able to lift enough weight.
When it comes to multi-joint lifts with a weight that is close to your maximum, your goal is to move the weight from point A to point B as best you can, following excellent technique. Leave the “confusion” and “sensations” of the muscles of the crowd of aesthetes, your task is simply to deal with lifting. If you do it again and again, you will build a habit. The more ingrained this habit becomes, the more weight you will be able to lift.
If you are doing deadlifts or other heavy weight exercises, do not try to feel the movement. Instead of focusing on repetitions of difficult multi-joint movements, do them as explosively as possible.
Mistake 3: You train with a large number of repetitions
You will not get faster in football if you prepare by running countless kilometers in a marathon. Both running and weight training require specific adaptation. The strength of the main lift is measured by your maximum with one repetition (1RM one-rep max). Remember that if you are training to increase your 1RM, you need to train with heavy weights and a small number of repetitions. Lifting 60% of your maximum weight with a perfect technique in a series with a large number of repetitions in no way guarantees that your technique will remain intact when you lift 90-100% of your maximum.
Practice your technique to the point where you train with 85-100% of your maximum in the range of 1-4 reps and watch your RM and maximum number of reps increase. And if you find this workout option extreme, try Wave Loading.
Mistake 4: Warming up, which is too comprehensive
A few minutes on the treadmill to increase body temperature, followed by dynamic stretching – just great. But this great performance, contrary to popular belief, will not warm you up for the specific lifts you train.
For strength squats, you should be in a squat position for most of the warm-up. Elite power athletes have long since discovered this truth. Each repetition, performed with perfect technique, builds in your habits for performing squats and warms you up specifically for the specific movement you will train.
If your goal is to do strength squats with 150 kilograms, next time during the warm-up try the following:
- 20 x 6 x 3 series
- 60 x 5 x 2 series
- 80 x 3 repetitions
- 100 x 2 repetitions
- 115 x 1 repetition
- 130 x 1 repetition
Mistake 5: You don’t start your workout with the most important exercise
In “Little Tommy,” Chris Farrell’s father says, “If you want to check the quality of the steak, you can put your head in the calf’s ass.” The other option is to trust the butcher. That is, you can trust us or do research in the bank for biomedical literature PubMed. Either way, the truth is that you must first perform the exercises that are most important to your workout. So, if your goal is to do squats with heavy weights, you should start your squat workout.
Whatever type of lift is most important to your goals, it must be performed first, because as soon as fatigue occurs, your work capacity and ability to generate strength will be seriously compromised. Otherwise you will not be able to do the necessary work and you will not achieve maximum adaptation of strength during your strength training.
Mistake 6: You miss the phase with lower weights
The day before an important match, football teams take walks instead of a real workout to avoid exhaustion and injuries. In fact, most sports require a period of lower intensity to be able to feel fresh on the day of the competition. Weight training is no exception. “Unloading week” is a period of training with less volume (less exercise and / or series) and intensity (less weight). For your body, this week is a period of active recovery and a chance for growth, building and regeneration from all the great weights and volumes you train with.
The basic rule is to run 70% of all the series you normally do. So if you do squats in 10 sets, do only 7 during the unloading week. The same goes for the intensity, lift 80% of the weight you trained in your last heavy workout. If you last pushed 135 with bench presses, now train with 108 (135 x 0.8 = 108).
Have you encountered any of these strength training mistakes? Tell us in a comment about your experience and maybe in this way you will help other athletes. And if you liked the article, support it by sharing.