Have you ever been injured at the gym? Have bad knees? Painful shoulders? Way too many men I met have had some sort of bad experience during exercise and lifting weights. Worst thing is they considered this normal and part of the process of getting stronger and muscular.
Avoiding injuries is the most important thing if you want to become better and improve your body. I will go through 5 biggest mistakes that I see daily.
1- Your speed of movement is too fast. When you are lifting any type of resistance (barbells, free weights, machines, etc..) make sure your speed of movement is slow and smooth. Give it a try and slow down the pace, perform a repetition in 10 seconds between lifting and lowering the weight. As well, eliminating momentum is fundamental for a perfect and flawless execution. Lifting a heavy weight beyond your capabilities will hinder your progress and jeopardize the health of your joints.
2 – The weight you are lifting is too heavy. Overload is an important principle to consider. Too much weight will make you compromise and break your form. The use of improper technique will take its toll in the long run, causing chronic injuries. Increments should be made by 5 or 10% of the total weight lifted with an exception for beginners, who can progress faster in the very first few months of exercising.
3 – Arching or bending your back. Always keep your abdominals tight, this will reinforce your core stability and prevent the curvature of the spine under a heavy load. There’s a high risk of disc compression once the natural curve of the spine and lower back is lost. A potential nerve injury can also take place when you bend or arch your back excessively. A lifting belt can be useful especially if you are doing big compound exercises such as squats or deadlifts. Reinforcing your core with basic exercises such as planks or dead bugs can prevent injuries as well.
4 – You are not breathing enough. Way too many people are not breathing properly when they’re exercising. Holding your breath won’t allow you to lift heavier or train harder. Instead, it is a bad habit with potentially dangerous side effects. EIM (exercise induced migraine) is induced by increased intercranial pressure in your head. It is a painful sensation coming from the base of your skull which gradually spreads to the sides and front of your head. Symptoms can persist from a few hours to several days. Always remember to breath, especially when you are exerting at a high intensity level of effort. One technique I use is hyperventilation through increasing my breathing pace, so that I can exert more intensity with higher muscular effort.
5 – Do not emulate other people. Last but not the least, stop comparing yourself to other people who look better and/or lift heavier than you. You have a mission. You are exercising and lifting weights to improve yourself, and you are not doing it for the sake of others. The ego is your worst enemy when you are at the gym and can derail you from achieving your goals.
If you want to increase the quality of your exercise at the gym, follow these five tips and I can guarantee you that the quality of your workouts will improve. Better workouts lead to better outcome and results, better results lead to a better body. A better body will empower you to be more confident, stronger, and embrace your masculine skills. Be a man that never wants to stop improving. Life is an ongoing process of self-development and we very much need more people like yourself in our tribe.