5 mistakes you’re making in the weights room

27 November 2015 by
First published: 1 December 2015

So you’ve got the yoga down. You’re running on the regular. Now it’s time to add in some weight to that fitness routine. The benefits of lifting iron are now well documented. You can improve your strength, burn more calories through increased lean muscle mass, and have a damn good time doing it! If you’re new to the world of lifting big, here are five pointers to bear in mind the next time you grace the weights’ room.

Don’t be a time-waster

Unfortunately, weight rooms are a hot bed of modern day fitness narcissism. While we’re all for documenting your progress and sharing your achievements with friends and family, there is no need to be spending 20 minutes in the squat rack getting the right angle. Equally, what’s with those people artfully assembling the dumbbells as if they were pieces of fruit in a still life drawing class? Not on our watch. Get in, do your thing ‘n get out!

Get your technique right

When it comes to lifting weights, technique is key. Sure you can crack out the bicep curls and do a few squat presses without too much risk. But when it comes to the core moves, such as bench press, deadlifts and cleans, you’re better off seeking out some assistance. Whether it be from an experienced pro, or roping in the help of a PT, it’s definitely worth learning up on the form first. This will not only ensure your health and safety, keeping you injury free in the long run, but you’ll be getting the maximum health benefits too.

Work on a range of muscles

We’ve all seen those pictures of guys with upper body strength for days but legs like pieces of string hanging from their waist. There’s a lesson here for you all. Over development of one specific area isn’t necessarily a great look. More than this, it can lead to severe postural impropriety in the long run too. We’re big advocates of a strong core here at WHL, which involves working both your front (so all those mirror muscles), together with your back. If you’re in doubt about the balance of your routine, get in touch with a trainer, who’ll ensure you’re getting the right blend.

Choose the right weight and amount of reps

Building on the technique point, you need to get the correct weight for you and your goals. If it’s strength you’re looking to build, endless reps of a low weight are not going to see you making the progression you’re after anytime soon. Put crudely, progression requires some degree of failure. Pick a rep range of 8-10 and aim for a few sets. By the time you get towards the end of set three, whichever body part you’re putting through the mill should be really starting to struggle. But we don’t advocate pushing yourself to your limits every single workout – like you wouldn’t floor it in your car every time, right? Staying injury free is the best way to hit your goals in the long run.

Keep your body guessing

To get the most of your weights, you’ve got to get creative. By this we mean keep your body guessing about the exertion that you’re going to be placing upon it. We know how easy it is to simply stick to one set routine, it’s familiar and dare we say, easy? But trust us, your body will quickly catch on and progress will grind to a steady halt. Using a combination of different exercises, supersets and increasingly heavy weights, you’ll have gains worth their weight in gold!