1 Big Weight Training Mistake That You Might be Making
by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
author - The Truth about Six Pack Abs
This is one of the biggest weight training mistakes I've seen over and over again with so many people over the years... it may seem obvious to some advanced trainees, but for most beginner or intermediate people, I've noticed that they make this mistake in the gym MOST of the time...
And that has to do with sets and reps, and the intensity that they are performed.
Let me explain...
What I've noticed is one of the main reasons for lack of progress in the gym is that most people are not performing their reps and sets to challenge their body enough. I'm not referring to rest period between sets either (although that is definitely part of the equation).
For example, many people see a routine in my program or one of my colleagues programs (or even a magazine)... let's say the routine calls for 4 sets of 6 reps of a given exercise... and they just choose a random weight (or a weight that they "think" they are comfortable with) and do 4 sets of 6 reps.
But THAT'S where the major mistake comes in, because they didn't even train remotely close to muscular failure. In reality, they could have completed 4 sets of 12 reps or more with the weight they chose to do for 4 sets of 6 reps... and then they wonder why they're not seeing results!
The answer is simple... they're not seeing results because they didn't challenge the body enough and therefore, the body has no reason to need to improve.
The right way to do it is this... If the routine calls for 4 sets of 6 reps, then you should barely be able to complete the sixth rep. Form should still stay good, but it should be a challenge to complete that 6th rep, and a 7th rep would be pretty much out of the question to complete in good form.
Now THAT'S how you train to challenge your body and force it to adapt to the stressor. And that means you get results and your body CHANGES for the better over time.
Now it's a little more complicated than that, because there are dozens of other factors that come into play that determine whether you will effectively make progressions in the gym, based on sets, reps, intensity level, rest and recovery, nutrition, etc.
And once you get into advanced training, you will literally be exhausted... with your chest heaving for breaths if you hit the rep range on some exercises with the right weight and intensity from just 1 SET.
For example, if I'm using a heavy enough weight, even as little as 4 reps of heavy deadlifts can leave my entire body exhausted and I'll be gasping for air for 30-40 seconds after that set (and I'm in pretty damn good shape too)... and that was just from 4 REPS!
But that is a great example of how hard I challenged my body to do those 4 reps and stay in good form... because I chose a weight that was extremely hard for me to complete 4 reps.
Sounds crazy, because most people only think of "cardio" as something that can make you gasp for air and have your heart beating out of your chest... but training with weights at a high enough intensity and challenging weight using the right exercises is actually creating MORE of a reason for your body to respond and change.
Give me a marathoner and have them do a super high intensity set of clean & presses, or heavy 1-arm snatches (or even 20-rep barbell squats) and that marathoner will be on the floor gasping for air if they worked hard enough on the weight training sets.
If you think this is one of the mistakes you've been making in the gym, jack up that intensity and use heavier weights that actually CHALLENGE YOUR BODY, and you just may start to see some more dramatic results with your body!