Common Strength Training Mistakes

What’s the purpose of strength training? To make you feel good? To help you move better? To get stronger? All are correct. But sometimes the way you train can unknowingly hold you back from reaching your goals. Suppose you’ve been strength training for three months, but you haven’t managed to notice any toning or have increased any exercises with more weight or reps. You’re frustrated and you’re not sure what to do about it. It’s a common problem and usually comes down to improper training and diet. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make while strength-training, so that you can avoid them and get moving towards getting your best physique ever!

You Don’t Rest Long Enough Between Sets

Strength training requires that you rest between sets so that your muscles can recover enough to complete another set. If you don’t rest long enough between sets, your performance on the subsequent set will be sub-optimal and you won’t maximize your strength or hypertrophy gains.

How long should you rest between sets? Usually, one to 2 minutes between sets is sufficient for recovery, but if you’re lifting heavy weights to maximize strength, your recovery time could be as long as 3 to 5 minutes. Likewise, if you’re lifting lighter weights, you might rest less than a minute between sets. Adapt your rest between sets to your goals and the intensity with which you’re lifting. Higher intensity and heavier weights require a longer rest between sets.

Your Form Is Terrible (or Non-Existent)

If you’re new to strength training, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget that form is just as important as the weight you’re lifting. If you do not have proper form while performing an exercise — or if you simply don’t know how to perform an exercise correctly — then you won’t get the results you’re looking for. Notice that all workouts on discuss form. Here are some tips for improving your form:

  • Squeeze your glutes at the top of each squat exercise. This helps protect your lower back from injury and also activates more muscle fibers in the gluteal region.
  • Keep your core tight throughout the entire movement. This reduces strain on your lower back and increases stability in your body.
  • Move slowly through each repetition (or rep), focusing on contracting your muscles and increasing tension on them at all times during the movement. You should feel every rep working from start to finish — this will help prevent injury because it allows you to maintain control over the weight. This also reduces the risk of “cheating” by using momentum instead of muscle power to lift it.
  • Use a full range of motion on each repetition.
  • Start with lighter weights until you’ve mastered your form.

You’ll get better results in the long run when you focus on quality over quantity.

Your Warm-Up is Too Short

It’s important to warm up before any type of exercise session to increase blood flow and boost flexibility in your muscles and joints. A simple warm-up should include three to five minutes of light cardio activity (not static stretching). Try marching in place with high knees or walking lunges.

Warming up helps your muscles work more efficiently. It also loosens your joints and relieves muscle tension, making it easier to train with good form. Too many people skip the warm-up and it’s shortsighted.

You Don’t Cool Down After You Work Out

As with warming up, cooling down helps bring blood flow back to normal in your body after exercise and does it in a controlled manner. If you stop exercising too quickly, blood can pool in your extremities and cause lightheadedness or dizziness.  A proper cool-down should last about five minutes and include static stretches such as hamstring stretches at the end.


You’re Lifting Too Fast or Too Slow

Lifting too fast can lead to injury or poor form and reduce gains in strength and size because you don’t allow your muscles enough time under tension for them to adapt properly. The ideal lifting speed is 2-3 seconds per rep — slower than 2-3 seconds per rep means your muscles don’t have time under tension. Also, when you lift faster you use momentum, which removes some of the force on your muscles. Personally I am a big fan of changing the speed of the exercise often!

To build muscle mass and improve your performance over time, lift slowly enough for each rep to count. Don’t rush through reps at a pace that makes it impossible to focus on proper form. This is especially important when performing free weight exercises like squats and deadlifts where form is even more critical.

A faster repetition tempo is useful for increasing a muscle’s power capabilities, the ability to move a weight through space quickly. Being powerful improves vertical jump height, which is important for sports such as basketball and volleyball. So, know what your goals are when you train. The tempo is faster for power training and slower for increasing muscle strength and size.

You Don’t Focus Enough on Nutrition

Strength training alone is not enough to build muscle mass or to get stronger. You also need enough calories so your body has plenty of energy to repair and grow new muscle tissue from all your hard work. If you want to get bigger muscles, then make sure you’re getting enough protein and calories for muscle gains. Our favorite protein and recovery products that we suggest can be found here at

The Bottom Line

Take these points into consideration. Avoiding these mistakes will help you take a step forward in your strength training and make greater gains.