#1 Using High Reps to build toned and defined muscles
Many people, especially women, are afraid of going heavy. They think that going heavier will build bulkier muscles.
This is definitely far from the truth. Going heavy will not build bulkier muscles. This is especially true for women because their testosterone levels are much lower than in men.
Bulking up is influenced a lot more by your diet and your hormones than by your rep range.
Saying that high reps can do a better job at building defined muscles is completely false. It isn’t even backed by any kind of scientific evidence.
To get more defined muscles we simply have to lose body fat. And going for high reps with lighter weights will not help us burn any more fat than going with lower reps with heavier weights.
The way that you get defined muscles is by focusing on your nutrition, not your rep range.
#2 Forgo results for comfort
In truth, there are only a handful of exercises that truly determine if you’ll see results from your workout program.
Whether your goals are to build big, massive muscles or to burn more body fat, the most effective exercises are oftentimes the hardest to do.
These exercises put the biggest strain on our muscles, our nervous system, and our will. This leads us straight to making the mistake I’m talking about, which is substituting these proven effective challenging exercises with ineffective useless exercises.
The handful of exercises that will truly make a difference are exercises like pull-ups, barbell squats, bent-over rows, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead military presses, lat pull-downs, clean and presses, snatches, and lunges.
There are also a bunch of other great free-motion weight exercises, like barbell curls and skull crushers that can really help get you the results you’re looking for out of your workouts.
The key is to stick to barbells dumbbells and cables with a free range of motion and to stick two, proven, old-school basic lifts.
The exercises that we want to avoid at the gym, and maybe only supplement a workout program with, are all of those sectorized machines and hammer strength machines that are locked into a range of motion.
People that want to get in and get out of the gym sit on one machine. Then move to the next, then the next, then the next, and so on.
They then come back the next week and do the same thing all over again to never get any visible results.
The point is – stop choosing the easy exercises over the ones that count. Stop doing squats on a smith machine or leg presses. Get under a barbell instead and do some real squats.
It might hurt more, but it will yield way more as well.
The third and probably one of the biggest mistakes that I see people making in their workouts is not hitting failure.
Most people don’t even know what failure actually is. They think that when they start to feel fatigued and the weight starts getting heavy and harder to lift that’s considered failure.
This kind of mentality will cause you to stop your set 2 or 3 reps short of truly hitting your failure mark.
The reason why you want to hit failure is because of a concept known as progressive overload.
We know that by overloading the muscles and gradually increasing stress we get direct responses from the body in the forms of strength and muscle gains.
This way you also get more calories being expended potentially leading to more fat burning.
I know some people are against hitting failure but let me ask you for your opinion.
Logically, what better way could you possibly imagine challenging your muscles in a workout, than by hitting a point where you can’t lift the weight anymore?
That sounds by definition like overload to me.
I’m well aware that a lot of people are starting to disagree with the concept of failure. And knowing this I still can’t possibly disagree with these people more.
We have to overload the muscle to get the muscle to adapt to a higher level of stimulation. Please, tell me of a better way to do this without hitting failure.
Failure has been used as an invaluable tool by all the greats including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muhammad Ali.
And without hitting failure I know I would never have gotten the results that I got from lifting weights.
#4 Believing in the “anabolic window”
The next workout mistake has to do with what happens after the workout is done.
There are still a handful of people that believe in such a thing as an anabolic window.
An anabolic window is a supposed short time period, directly after the workout, in which you have to get your post-workout protein shake in, or else you won’t get gains. Maybe you will even lose some muscle mass.
This is completely ridiculous. And I have to admit that this mistake is one that I made to the point where I would force down my post-workout shake so close to my workout that I would literally throw up and immediately go make a new one.
If you have your shake 30 minutes after your workout, or an hour after your workout, you’ll still get all the same gains and you won’t lose any muscle. I promise you.
I’ve even experimented with fasting for long periods after a workout and haven’t lost any muscle mass.
The anabolic window is complete “bro-science”, most likely invented by supplement companies.
#5 Overlooking cheat reps
The last mistake that many form-obsessed people will make is not using cheat reps.
This ties into the mistake of not hitting failure.
Again, if we really want to overload the muscle to build it, then using cheat reps at the end of the set (when fatigue sets in) is a great strategy.
Many people will have that fatigue setting in. And because they can’t do a perfect curl or a perfect row without using some momentum, they just put the weight down.
Don’t get me wrong. Form is very important and to get the best out of your workout your form should be flawless in the beginning.
As you get near the end of your set your form should get a little sloppy if you’re using a weight that’s actually challenging you.
Rather than just stopping, you want to work those cheat reps in and use some momentum to really overload that muscle.
So that’s it, guys. Those are my top 5 biggest myths and mistakes that I see people making in their workouts.
This was honestly a very easy article to write because I can go on and on about the mistakes that I see people making at the gym.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you guys next time.
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