Everybody wants to put on muscle. And who can blame them. Not only does having a well-defined, muscular body make you look good, but there are also many health benefits to be gained from building muscle as well, such as fat loss, better stamina, and increased strength, not to mention that just exercising in general just makes you feel good. However, as with just about anything, if you want to see any sort of results, you have to make sure you’re going about it the right way. And unfortunately, many people, especially beginners, tend to make mistakes when it comes to their muscle building exercises, which hampers their gains. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of some common mistakes to watch out for during your next workout session.
When it comes to training, most people seem to operate under the idea that more is better. More weights, more reps, etc. The truth, however, is that when it comes to muscle building, more is not better. One of the most important aspects of building muscle, outside of the actual training and eating right, is the recovery stage. It’s important that you give your muscles time to rest, which gives them time to repair all of the damage done to them, which leads to muscle growth. If you’re constantly pumping out sets of 40 reps every day, your body’s ability to recover won’t be able to keep up with the damage you’re doing to your muscles, which will really cut into your ability to build more muscle and potentially increase your risk of getting injured. My advice to you, try doing fewer reps with slightly heavier weights than usual, instead of several reps with extreme weight. Fewer reps, when using good form, are good for building up muscle strength. You should also try to avoid going to the gym every day, instead only going a few days a week, to give your body the time it needs to rest and recover.
Building muscle isn’t just going to the gym. It’s also maintaining a proper diet. Unfortunately, some people don’t seem to realise this, and as a result, end up seeing slower progress with their muscle gains. When you’re trying to build muscle, you have to make sure you’re getting in enough calories to support these larger muscles, and above all else, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein to fuel the protein synthesis that leads to muscle growth. When it comes to how many calories you need, there’s no real set number, as everyone’s body is different, and therefor their caloric requirements will also be different. It is, however, recommended that you maintain a calorie surplus of about 5-10% of what you normally take in to start seeing gains.
Bad Form/Improper Range of Motion
When you’re doing any sort of workout, whether it’s to build muscle or lose weight, it’s important to make sure you’re using proper form. Not only will this ensure that you’re actually getting the muscle gain you’re looking for in the first place from the workout, but it will also reduce the risk of getting injured. Sadly, there are still people out there that use improper form when they’re exercising. This can range from using your whole body in what’s supposed to be an isolation exercise, to using an incorrect posture, to trying to lift too much weight. Not only does this hamper your muscle growth, it also puts you at a greater risk of injury. Thankfully, there are ways to fix this. Firstly, make sure that when you’re doing any sort of exercise, you’re following the instructions laid out for that exercise. For example, if it tells you to have your feet placed firmly on the ground, make sure your feet are firmly placed on the ground. Likewise, if you’re doing something like bicep curls, make sure that you’re only bending your arms at the elbow, and not moving your whole body with the exercise. When you’re using proper form, you’re more likely to get those muscle gains you’re working for, and less likely to throw out your back.
Avoiding Difficult Exercises
This mistake is only really common with people who are just starting out with their muscle building goals, but it still bears mentioning. If you’re new to the gym, you might feel intimidated by some of the more intense exercises, such as deadlifts or bench presses, largely out of concern for your own safety. While this concern is understandable, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re limiting your muscle growth in doing this. As the saying goes, “if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”. You don’t have to be benching 400 pounds just because everyone else is, you can start with 20 pounds or even just the bar, and gradually work your way up like with any other exercise. So long as you do the exercises properly, and you don’t try to push yourself harder than you can handle, you should be fine.
Having Unrealistic Expectations
This is perhaps one of the biggest, and most common, mistakes people can make with their muscle building goals, and it often goes with overtraining. Most people, particularly those who are just starting at the gym, will go in expecting to get massive gains in just a few weeks, only to get disappointed and potentially even quit when their expectations haven’t been met. The truth is, muscle building is a lengthy process that takes considerable time and effort on your end. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all. So don’t try to rush your muscle building. Take the time to do the workouts right, and ensure that you’re maintaining proper nutrition, and slowly but surely, you’ll start seeing results.
And there you have it, our list of some of the biggest mistakes most people make when they’re trying to build muscle. Hopefully, you’ll be able to use this knowledge to avoid these pitfalls, and get the muscle growth you’ve been looking for. And if you happen to know someone who’s struggling with these problems, feel free to share this article with them.