5 Weight Training Mistakes Most Beginners Make And How To Avoid Them


Thankfully, more and more people are realizing the power of weight training for improving body composition, strength and fitness.

It´s fantastic to see this trend grow and grow but unfortunately many guys and girls starting out are making mistakes with their training that can lead to slow or even no progress.

This is generally a result of a lack of knowledge or following mainstream advice on TV or in popular fitness lifestyle magazines.

The message here is sincere but the information given is just not effective enough.

Therefore, I want to highlight six common training mistakes beginners tend to make when starting a weight-training program.

They are simple to resolve and will make big difference in the results from your workouts.

Big Mistake 1 – Not enough compound movements.

If you want to change your body shape quickly, design all your workouts around compound exercises. A compound exercise is one that involves more than one muscle group as you perform it. Examples of this include squats, lunges, deadlifts, pull-ups, chest press, shoulder press, bent over rows.

These types of exercises force your body to burn more energy, increase lean muscle and develop strength. All the elements you want to happen when trying to reshape your body. You want to include at least 2 of these exercises for every muscle group.

The mistake I see especially with women, is still too many isolation exercises in their workouts over compound ones. Isolation exercises focus on one muscle group and include most of the leg machines in the gym, glute kicks, shoulder raises, bicep curls and tricep kickbacks to name a few.

Yes, these exercises have their place, but the majority of your reps in your workouts must come from compound exercises.

Not using increasing weights regularly

The key to developing that toned hard look I know you want is too lose body fat and increase muscle definition.
If you want to build hard, strong muscle, you need to lift heavy.

How heavy you go will depend on your experience, goals and program but your sets need to be challenging. If for example you do a set of ten reps and are not struggling to finish the last 2-3 reps you need to increase the weight.

Overloading the muscle and repeating this on a regular basis will force your muscles to adapt by getting stronger and increasing in density.

The mistake I see is rather than increase the weight they increase the amount of reps performed.

Getting a bigger pump may look good in the gym but it doesn´t last. Well-toned muscle that looks firm in and out of the gym required progressive overload so increasing the weights every workout is important.

For example, if you’re performing an exercise doing 3 sets of 10 reps and can get 10 reps for all 3 sets then next workout move up in weight (5 pounds if using dumbbells, 10 pounds for barbell exercise)

At this new weight you might get 10 reps the first set, 8 reps the second and 7 reps the third. You then work with this weight until you can complete all 3 sets of ten then move up again.

Big Mistake 3 – Wrong Rest Rates

Another big mistake I see in the gym with men and women new to weigh training is they fail to understand the importance of rest rates between sets. Either they wait too long or don´t allow enough time to recover properly.

Well-timed rest rates will determine how successful your workout has been.

Here is guideline for different type of workouts.

Strength – If your goal is to get stronger especially in the big compound movements, a rest rate of between 2-3 minutes is appropriate.

Muscle Endurance – If you want to build muscle and strength then rest rates are generally 60-90 seconds.

Conditioning/Fat loss – Keep your rest rates to 30-60 seconds between sets.

Another alternative for fat loss are weight based circuit training workouts with very little or no rest between a certain number of exercises. Once you complete the circuit that is classified as one set. Once you finish the set rest for 1-2 minutes before repeating the circuit.

Keep your rest rates honest by using a watch and avoid any conversations until at least you have finished all your sets on one exercise.

Big Mistake 4 – Ignoring Certain Muscle Groups

The big temptation when new to weight training is too focus mainly on the muscles visible in the mirror.
This leads to workouts focused mainly on shoulders, quads, biceps and abs with only a little attention given to other muscle groups.

However, by working the muscles on the back of the body known as the posterior chain you will not only increase the metabolic response from your workouts but also decrease the risk of strength and muscle imbalances that can lead to issues with posture and pain.

To remedy this increase the amount of pulling type exercises in your routines for your back and include more compound lower body movements such as barbell squats, reverse lunges and deadlifts.

Big Mistake 5: No Overall Plan

This is common for every newbie that start going to the gym. Doing weights for the first time can be very intimidating and overwhelming making you feel embarrassed or unsure to ask for advice or help.

I see so many people turn up in the gym with no real idea of what to do once they are there. Yes, some may have an outline of what muscles they want to work but there is no real plan or order to it.

It is often a process of deciding which exercises they feel like doing then going for it.

The problem with this inconsistency is you never track progress or work a muscle group enough so that it starts respond properly.

Your goal at every workout is to do better than the previous one. Whether that means trying to be stronger, fitter or both. You can only do this with a proper plan in place to use as a measurement of your progress.

If for example you did a circuit of exercises for 60 reps total with 60 seconds rest last workout this week you could add 10 more reps or do the same but with higher weights.

Likewise, if you squatted 3 sets of 10 with 60 pounds weigh you could add another 10 pounds in this workout.

Tracking your progress, knowing where you are at, and having a clear goal from your training forces you to keep pushing and challenging your body so that it has to adapt and change.

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In Summary

Weight training is a fantastic form of exercise and in my opinion should form the basis for all fitness programs.

It can look daunting and complicated but if you stick to the basics outlined here you will be amazed at the results it can deliver. To recap

Work with a plan and a set of clear goals.
Design workouts around compound exercises.
Remain focused and keep the socialising for later.
Always try to be better than your last workout.
Don´t be scared of getting stronger and pushing beyond your comfort zone.

Thanks again for visiting the website and if you have questions about this topic or anything else please leave a comment below.