If you take the right approach, building muscle is a simple and foolproof process. However, even the smallest mistakes can stunt your muscle building progress. In this article I’m going to be listing 10 of the most common muscle building mistakes and helping you avoid them.
1) Failing To Focus On Compound Exercises
While isolation exercises are a great way to give specific muscles some extra attention, compound exercises are much more efficient and should be the focus of all your workouts. So by all means, finish off each workout with a couple of isolation exercises but make sure at least 50% of the exercises in your workout are compound movements.
2) Lack Of Consistency
When it comes to building muscle, consistency is key. If you workout sporadically, your muscle building efforts will suffer and you won’t get the results you desire. Therefore, decide how many days each week you can workout, choose the best times of day for you to workout and then stick to this schedule.
3) Not Creating A Workout Plan
A solid workout plan is just as important as being consistent when trying to grow your muscles. If you don’t have a workout plan, you’ll be heading into each workout blind and your workouts will be unstructured and ineffective. Therefore, plan the exact exercises you’re going to be doing during each workout, the sets and reps you’re going to be aiming for and the amount of weight you’re going to be lifting.
4) Failing To Track Your Progress
If you don’t track your progress, the chances are you’ll forget the exact amount of weight you lifted in your previous workouts and as a result you’ll have to guess the amount of weight you should be lifting in your current workout. This can inhibit your muscle growth as you’ll never have a true idea of whether you’re actually progressing over time. Therefore, grab a pad and pen or download a workout tracking app, start tracking all your sets, reps and weight lifted and then use this information to guide what you lift in future workouts.
5) Poor Form
Poor form not only puts you at risk of injuring yourself but it also prevents you from getting the full muscle building benefit from the exercise. For example, you might feel like you’re doing your biceps a favor by increasing the amount you curl at the expense of proper form but the reality is your biceps aren’t working any harder. So make sure your form is perfect every time you lift and if you notice it starts to suffer, lower the weight until you get your form right.
6) Neglecting Your Legs
Legs are one of the most neglected muscle groups when it comes to weightlifting. In fact, you’ve probably seen this first hand at the gym with a good proportion of guys walking around sporting a huge upper body but scrawny little legs. To avoid this mistake, make sure you incorporate specific lower body exercises such as squats and deadlifts into your routine on a weekly basis.
7) Focusing On Your Favorite Body Parts
In addition to neglecting legs, many people who are trying to build muscle are guilty of focusing on their favorite body parts and letting their other body parts suffer as a result. While there’s no problem with having your favorite body parts and looking forward to certain workouts more than others, you shouldn’t let this affect how you train. Even if you favor chest over back or biceps over triceps, you need to make sure that you’re training all your body parts equally.
8) Not Drinking Enough Water
Since lifting weights isn’t as thirst quenching as high intensity cardio, many people forget to drink as much water when doing weightlifting workouts. However, water is essential for smooth muscle contractions and for optimal weightlifting performance and by failing to drink enough, you won’t lift to your maximum potential. So make sure you carry a water bottle with you at all times and take a big gulp after each set.
9) Sticking To The Same Weights
Another common mistake many people make when trying to build muscle is sticking to the same weights. While it’s not always possible to increase the amount of weight you lift week on week, if you’re constantly lifting the same amount of weight, you’re never going to stimulate muscle growth. To avoid this mistake, set yourself the target of increasing the amount of weight you lift each week. There will be some weeks where you don’t manage this but by having the target in place, you’ll always be aiming to improve and constantly promoting additional muscle growth.
10) Poor Nutrition
One final muscle building mistake a lot of people make is believing they can out exercise a poor diet. However, even the best muscle building workout programs will have limited success without a proper nutritional foundation. So if you’re currently training hard but filling up on junk foods, start making an effort to eat quality foods instead and give your muscles the nutrition they need to grow.
As you can see, even the tiniest factors can make or break your muscle building success. So if you’re currently working at building up your muscles or planning to start soon, re-read this article and make sure none of these mistakes are hampering your success.