When you first started training with weights you saw great results. But now your muscle tone or muscle gains have come to a screaming halt!
So what happened?
If you’re thinking about embarking on a new weight training program or just find that your lack of results has you confused and disheartened, then you may find the answer to your training with weights queries in the following paragraphs.
1. Poor weight training technique
Not only does this dampen your chances of healthy muscle development but will also increase your chances of injury.
Here’s a few tips:
a When performing weight training exercises, while standing, make sure you bend your knees slightly and have your feet placed at about (or just within) shoulder width apart.
b While exercising, keep your midsection firm, chest out and shoulders back – in other words, good posture!
c Breath out on the hardest part of the exercise. Say you are performing bicep curls. The lifting or curling up of the weight is usually the most difficult, so you would breath out (or exhale) as you curl the weights up towards your shoulders. Then inhale as you lower the weight down. Holding your breath while straining to perform your exercises can cause severe headaches and nausea.
2. Neglecting to increase your resistance or weights
If you can’t feel any type of muscle burn at all while training with weights then you are basically wasting precious workout time.
If you want to maintain and improve muscle tone or increase lean muscle you need to continue to “challenge your muscles”. Your muscles will get bored if you don’t offer them stimulation so they can progress. This doesn’t mean performing massive weight increases overnight – just do it gradually.
3. Not adding variety to your training with weights workouts
If you want to stimulate areas of your muscles that you usually don’t bother with during your fitness regime to assist with muscle development then adding variety to your program is a must!
For instance if your program only includes Dumbbell Shoulder Presses why not perform Dumbbell Shoulder Lateral Raises or Upright Rows. Or if you perform shoulder stance squats, why not try wide legged squats.
4. Throwing combinations of exercises together without knowing what you are doing (“taking shortcuts”).
Some of the biggest mistakes people make is throwing heaps of exercises together, performing them for 6 months, then wondering why their bodies are so far out of proportion it’s not funny. They are virtually worse off than what they were before they started.
It’s at this point where they phone a trainer or purchase a program that is designed to suit their goals because they need someone to fix the problem. As much as you think you maybe saving yourself some $$$ or think you know what you are doing at the time, I can assure you that you’d be better off doing it correctly right from the start!
Luckily these days the internet offers us online health and fitness packages at fantastic prices – so really there is NO excuse for not getting yourself involved in a affordable program that will whip you into shape.
5. Over-training your muscles
You are probably thinking that this isn’t possible, right?
Let me explain……
Just say you are weight training 7 days per week. To produce lean muscle or incease muscle mass you need to damage your muscles. For your muscles to grow and repair you need to give them some “time-out” from weight training. So by training the same muscles everyday they will not be able to repair themselves, in fact they are more likely to deplete.
Sample training roster for muscle recovery:
Weight Train = Monday
Cardio = Tuesday
Weight Train = Wednesday
Cardio = Thursday
Weight Train = Friday
Cardio = Saturday
Day off = Sunday
Depending on what your training goals are you can also “overdo-it” with your cardio! If you want a very toned appearance and have been focusing on muscle definition then 5-6 cardio sessions per week is great. However if your focus is to just gain lean muscle mass then 3-4 cardio sessions is ample. If you’re a hard gainer then 1-2 (if that) cardio sessions can be more than enough. There are some weight / resistance programs that incorporate cardio / high intensity into them.
In regards to overtraining your muscles you need to be sensible about the way you train. Be realistic. Don’t push yourself to the point where you’re feeling so sick, burnt out and in so much pain that you can hardly drag your body out of bed in the morning. Sure you’re going to be feeling general muscle soreness but there’s a difference between that and feeling like your whole body is just one big muscle contraction — all day long!
6. Not having a training roster and log sheet
For everything else in our lives we have a dairy or an appointment book. Yet for some reason we feel that planning our workouts doesn’t warrant that type of attention. They only consider their training as an option, rather than planning it into their lifestyle.
From my own experience, of working within the fitness industry over the years, people just starting a new fitness regime need to stick to their program strictly for a good 4-8 weeks before they start really accepting their health and fitness regimes as part of their daily routine – so that they start to create new lifestyle habits. During this time they need to orgnanise their food and their workouts so they don’t toss their new program onto the back burner as soon as they hit an obstacle.
Log your exercises, weights, reps, sets, so you can monitor your progress and look back to see when and where you got your best results and what workout you were doing at the time that helped you reach those goals.
Write goals for your training with weights so you can work to increase your resistance, up the intensity, try different techniques etc.
7. Expecting Instant Results & Giving-in too hastily
So you have given it your best shot. You kept to your program all week and you don’t see any changes.
What’s a week? C’mon get real!
If someone expected you to build and furnish a house in a week don’t you think you’d tell them to go take a running jump? Of course you would!
You’ve got to be realistic about this. If you are genuine about making the effort to do this properly you will plan your goals within reason and give it your best shot.
It’s not uncommon for your program to take 8 weeks, to start really kicking in and offering you results that you can actually see in the mirror. Don’t be so impatient – besides if you give up two to three weeks into your program it only means you are going to have to start at the beginning again – so quit wasting time and just do it!
Few last words…
It’s seems silly how hard we make it for ourselves to try and reach our fitness goals? It doesn’t have to be this way – my advice is to get yourself a program that is designed to suit your goals and needs and save yourself a bucket load of of headaches and heartache.
There’s a heck of a lot of mistakes people make when training with weights, don’t get sucked in. Learn from the above to help you improve your progress with your fitness goals.
Happy training folks,
Yours in fun, health and fitness
© Mandy Gibbons
Virtual Fitness Trainer