Every one of us reading this blog has made some stupid ass mistakes when starting out. Unless you were one of the lucky ones who started their lifting career with a great crew of people around you giving you all the right information, you made some dumb decisions with training.
- Starting with bodybuilding workouts
Bodybuilders take years to refine their already built physique. Websites like bodybuilding.com and the store bought magazines like Flex and MuscleMag will tell you the “secrets” to the pro workouts where they do 100 sets of bicep curls and 100 sets of hack squats to blast themselves into growth.
Look in the mirror, you are skinny, weak and untrained. Look at the magazines, they are on drugs, huge and have years of experience already. That type of training is the biggest mistake you can make when starting out. I made that mistake, I didn’t know any better. I see all kinds of people doing the same thing. I get emails from people that show me their programs and I see the same thing today.
You will push your growth back years following a super high volume workout as a beginner. You haven’t adapted to it, you aren’t ready for it.
A sensible program centered around compound lifts like squats, presses, rows, deadlifts, chinups and variations of them will be the perfect way to start lifting. Some advanced lifters still follow the same principle
If you try to build the city without building the base, you will NOT have a strong foundation. Stop looking at drug-aided programs and start lifting some barbells.
- Reading too much shit online from internet “experts”
- Eating like a fat pig
This should be obvious. But it’s not. On a certain forum devoted to a 3×5 lifting system for beginners, lifters stalling with progress are often told to “eat more, drink more milk, and don’t worry about getting fat”.
It’s been proven time and time again fat doesn’t equal strong. Plus if you lose all that extra milk induced blubber you still have a chance to get fat again if you slip up for a while on the diet because those fat cells lay dormant waiting for a damn Twinkie to fill them back up.
You aren’t in a huge hurry to get that strong as a beginner. Don’t listen to the idiots saying how weak you are and how much more weight you need to gain. Eat like you want to put on quality mass. Not like you want to be a fat sack of shit.
An extra couple pounds of bulk is one thing, you will gain a little of it, but looking like a fat sack of shit isn’t good. I don’t care what anyone says about “strong is strong”. Being fat and strong renders your strength useless unless you are wheezing under a bar.
- Only training what you like
You hate squatting? So what, do it. Doing heavy pressing makes you feel like a pussy, who cares. Don’t like sprinting but want to get in shape, learn to love it or run faster and get it done quicker.
We aren’t going to enjoy everything we do in the gym. I have days when I look at my lifting day with dread. It’s going to happen. Suck it up. Strength and physiques weren’t born from benching and curling 24/7.
- Horrid form
This is a no brainer but it’s common as hell. I’ve stopped dozens of random kids in gyms bro-squatting. You know the high school football squats? Half squats with 3 plates screaming all you? Usually I walk over and give them a hand, not because I am arrogant but because I never had that when I started and I could have used it.
It’s your duty as a new lifter to seek out good lifters and have them help you. I guarantee no matter how pissed off that big guy looks, he will be overjoyed to help a new lifter not make stupid mistakes with form. We all want to see every single lifter do well. Put aside your shame as a newbie and ask questions. Screw YouTube videos. They aren’t going to help you mid-lift. Get a guy from your gym who can watch, help and give you some pointers every so often. Hire a good strength coach or join a gym that has solid lifters.
- Lifting 5-6 days a week as a beginner
This is another bodybuilding magazine error. This kind of volume will hurt a new lifter rather than help. Freshies can’t tolerate it yet, they haven’t built up the work capacity to do it, plus 6 days a week for the vast majority of people isn’t necessary at all. If you can’t train it all in 4 days you are either doing too much or being stupid.
- Having a day devoted to “arms”
This is a pet peeve. Unless your arms are 18″ cold, stop. Now. Throw in some arm work at the end of the workout.
Rowing, pushing, pulling, etc will give you a lot of arm work, isolating the arm will assist it. Having an entire day devoted to them as a new lifter is one of the most asinine things you can do. Your arms will grow without 25 sets of curls. Trust me.
When I say “experts” I don’t mean coaches, even though some “coaches” can be as misleading as the internet bulletin boards.
“Experts” here means the webforums. You don’t know the person typing behind the screen and you don’t know if what they are saying is true or if its some 15 year old acne riddled kid acting a role. You have no idea if its going to work for you at all, so why listen to some random guy named “swole2012” giving you advice?
Hell, you are reading this so you may consider me an expert, which is a good start.
A lot of this is obvious but looking around your gym you will see it. I guarantee it. I see it daily and I want to shake my head at it.
It’s just ignorance. It’s kids being misled.
You can start yourself off on a solid foot by listening to people who made the same mistakes. Hear them.
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