Common Weight Training Mistakes | The Dos & Don’ts

Common Weight Training Mistakes | The Dos & Don’ts

Strength training is a great way to lose fat, get stronger and reach those pb’s – but are you getting the most out of each session or are you guilty of these common weight training mistakes? Find out the do’s and don’ts of weight training to maximise your progress!

1. You’re Performing to Many Reps & Using a Weight That is too Light.

When starting the gym its easy to fall into the pattern of using the same weights week in week out and going more reps or simply just sticking to the number of reps you’ve read on an online training plan. Using a weight that is too light and performing endless reps is one of the top weight training mistakes. The truth is if you’re not pushing hard at the end of your reps then the weight is too low for you. This also applies to classes – if you’re not pushing at the end of the timer in the class then your weight might be too light. The amount of reps you should be doing depends on whether you are training to increase the size of your muscle or for strength.

There is a difference between training for strength and training for muscle size. If you’re training to increase muscle size and make your muscles grow you should be focusing on lifting weights at a high volume – this means 12-15 reps and 3-5 sets.

However, to get stronger and increase your lifting personal bests you should be focusing on using a lower volume of 3-6 reps within 3-5 sets.

idealfit athlete doing a bicep curl

2. You’re Only Using Machines

Machines at the gym are great to get you started and can be a good part of a weight training routine. But to get the best results you should put some focus on performing compound movements and free weight exercises. These can be anything from barbell squats and clean and press to kettlebell swings and dumbbell exercises. Free weights help you to target more muscle groups which will help you see strength results all over your body – rather than in isolated muscles.

female athlete using weight machines

3. Your Resting for too long or too little

Resting between sets is essential but are you spending time on your phone texting or are you in a hurry to get back to that set? If you’re strength training and lifting heavier for less reps you need around 90 seconds between each set, when performing for hypertrophy it is key to tire your muscles so 30-60 seconds is recommended for a sufficient rest period.

IdealFit athlete with dumbells

4. Your Post Workout Nutrition is Not IDEAL

Okay so we don’t mean you aren’t supplementing with our supplements (which you should be by the way ;)). But seriously, post workout nutrition is a must when it comes to weight training but it’s important not to under or overdo it! Many of us may not have anything after a hard workout, which means our muscles can recover and repair. Whereas other people might overdo the nutrition and consume far too many calories on top of their daily meals. When we train our cortisol levels increase (this is our stress hormone). In order to bring these levels down its important to eat post workout.

The trick here is to consume something light up to 1 hour after your workout which is between 100-200 calories. This post workout snack should be high in protein with some carbohydrates – e.g. protein porridge at around 200 calories is a great shout! For quickness a fast protein shake with milk will get the right amount of protein and carbs for your body to recover. Then 2-3 hours later you can enjoy your normal lunch or dinner/meal.

5. You Avoid Exercises Your Bad At

If your great at deadlifting its only natural to focus on this exercise the most – after all you’re going to make the most progress at something your good at! But its important not to avoid all the exercises you don’t like or you’re not sure how to do. If you find yourself avoiding certain exercises you know you need to do – perform them at the very start of your workout, that way there’s no getting around it. If you’re not sure on how to perform an exercise be sure to ask one of the personal trainers in the gym – it’s nothing to be ashamed of and you can even ask at the end of your session for next time.

6. Your Performing Too Much Cardio with Your Weights

Cardio is great and I advise everyone to perform some sort of cardio – after all its government recommended we do at least 30 minutes of low intensity cardio a day or 10,000 steps, for a reason! But are you doing too much cardio and a high intensity? HIIT training or long endurance cardio runs are great and they mix up your fitness and routine to make you more versatile, but be careful not to perform too much cardio after or before a really heavy intense weight session – save it for another dedicated day.

female running on treadmill

7. You’re Over Training or Starting a Workout Tired

Over training is a big no no when it comes to weight training and a big weight training mistake that will diminish your results. Just because it feels great to train and push through exhaustion – doesn’t make it right! You should aim to have at least 1-2 rest days a week.

Kat Myers

Kat Myers


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