When training to be a bodybuilder, it’s important to stick to a safe, sensible training programme that produces results. When people first start out on the road to becoming a bodybuilder, there are a number of common mistakes which should be avoided at all costs.
Many of today’s bodybuilders have publicly admitted to having made mistakes when they were young, simply because they didn’t know any better and were eager to train hard. However, some mistakes can lead to problems further down the road, in terms of injuries, when you’re in your 30s or 40s.
As well as being better for your general health and wellbeing, stopping any bad habits while you’re young can help you to progress into becoming the bodybuilder you’ve always wanted to be.
One of the most common mistakes made by beginners is having a poor warm-up routine. This is because they think that if they do a full warm-up, it may leave them too weak to complete their training regime. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
A full warm-up improves joint viscosity and increases blood flow to the muscles. Seasoned bodybuilders recommend a general warm-up of seven to 10 minutes, with the focus on shoulder, hip and thoracic mobility. Then, gradually go into a low-rep warm-up.
Never jump straight into heavy lifting. A low-rep warm-up makes sure your body is ready for a heavy movement without jeopardising your joints, which could seriously impact you in later life.
A second mistake to avoid is training too heavy. While loading more weight on to the bar is an effective way of building up size and strength, it also has its risks from your long-term health perspective. Most experienced bodybuilders say the lifters who went too heavy in their 20s are prone to having a chronic injury by their late 30s. These can include problems with the lower back, shoulders and neck – often all three areas combined.
Many lifters have had to retire by the age of 40 due to joint problems. When you train too heavy, your body won’t progress or recover in a linear fashion.
Continually pushing yourself to the limits in pursuit of strength, without having an intelligent training programme in place, can spell disaster later on.
This ties in with the next common mistake, which is not knowing when to draw the line in any aspect of your training. Everyone wants to push themselves to get even that extra 1%, whether it’s adding an extra 5kg to the bar, doing an extra set, or toning your physique just a little tighter for a competition.
Although progress is important, you need to know when to draw the line and be satisfied with your achievements, rather than chasing that extra “little bit”. You need to be patient, focusing on the long term, rather than the short.
Finally, avoid too much junk volume. The ideal number of sets for growth varies and depends on factors such as your genetics, nutritional status and training experience. Some lifters benefit from plenty of sets and moderate reps – called high-volume training. This is considered to be a safer way to train than lifting heavy weights continually. It also helps to build muscle. However, when you do too many reps and sets (junk volume), this can cause unnecessary wear and tear on joints and tendons.
It can be particularly risky if the same movement pattern is repeated too often and you will come to a point of diminishing returns on training stimulus. Experts suggest optimum results are achieved by taking a periodised approach, which means adjusting the number of sets over the course of a training cycle.
There are other mistakes, of course, but these are the most common. You will experience maximum benefits by avoiding these bodybuilding faux pas in your training programme.
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