Eleven Major Bodybuilding Mistakes You Must Avoid!

I've put together a list of eleven major mistakes that bodybuilders must avoid, especially if they expect to continue gaining mass and not getting injured in the process. Eliminate the mistakes and kick-start your progress!

Made any progress over recent months? If not, it's time to make some changes - in and out of the gym. Continuing with what hasn't worked over recent months isn't going to help you over the next few months.

Even if you're making just one of the 11 mistakes listed below, you'll be limiting your progress. And if you're making many of these mistakes, you may be killing your progress. Eliminate the mistakes and kick-start your progress!

11 Training Mistakes

Mistake 1: Not Getting Stronger

While getting stronger isn't the whole story for building bigger muscles, it's a big part for most bodybuilders, especially beginners and intermediates.

The biggest muscles aren't the strongest, and the strongest muscles aren't the biggest; but if you don't build up to lifting decent weights for plenty of reps in correct technique, you'll never develop decent-sized muscles.

Mistake 2: Using Weights You Can't Manage Properly

While getting stronger is very important, poundage at all costs is a progress killer. Most bodybuilders use weights they can't manage correctly.

Cut back all your working weights by 10%, tighten up your exercise technique to make it impeccable, and then over a month or few, gradually build your weights back while maintaining perfect technique. Your reward should be some new growth. Then work into new poundage territory and garner further growth.

Mistake 3: Adding Poundage Too Quickly

Piling on five and ten pound increments isn't the best way to go. Beyond the beginner's stage, strength is built slowly.

Once you're at your current best weight for a given exercise, add only a little iron next workout - just one pound on the bar, then another after a week or two, then another, etc. Few gyms have the very small plates, so get your own half and one pounders and take them to the gym with you.

Mistake 4: Not Taking All Measures To Avoid Injury

Injury kills progress. Correct exercise technique - no body English, no yanking, no dropping, no heaving, no excessive ranges of motion, no blasting into a rep - is pivotal to training safely. Don't give mere lip service to the cliché, "Use good technique."

Figuratively emboss it on your forehead, and pay heed! Breaking technique while training hard is a common and often devastating mistake. Disciplined training is about effort and good technique. Training safety also involves individualizing your exercise selection.

If an exercise hurts, and you've been performing it using good technique with a controlled rep speed, and you've tried sensible modifications, drop that exercise. The first rule of exercise is, "Do no harm." Discard the reckless "No pain, no gain" maxim.

Mistake 5: Focusing On The Wrong Exercises

Give priority to the building exercises, not the detail ones. While select isolation exercises have a valuable role, the major muscle builders are the big compound exercises such as:

  • squats
  • leg presses
  • deadlifts
  • bench presses
  • dips
  • rows
  • chins

These are the ones you have to become good at, and use decent weights in, if you want to build big muscles.

Mistake 6: Not Squatting

Do your utmost to squat well and intensively. The benefits are not limited to the thighs, glutes, and lower back. The squat has a knock-on effect throughout the body. While some people truly can't squat intensively in a safe way, most can.

Revere the squat, improve your squatting technique, pay your dues, and you'll help your overall gains. But squat correctly and safely, or don't squat at all!

Mistake 7: Not Deadlifting

Pay your dues on the deadlift. The deadlift is one of the most productive exercises for building mass. Master the technique of the deadlift - conventional style, or partial style from knee height - and over a few years slowly build the weight up to something impressive.

But impeccable technique is imperative; and avoid any exaggerated range of motion. Deadlift correctly and safely, or don't deadlift at all!

Mistake 8: Insufficient Effort

If you're loafing in the gym, you'll never produce much if any growth stimulus. While you don't have to train till you literally drop, you do have to train hard. Do you really grind out every rep possible in each work set without compromising on your technique? If not, start now - crank up your effort level!

Mistake 9: Weight Training On More Days Than Off Days

Weight train on just three days each week. Either divide your overall program into three parts/routines:

  1. abs, thighs and calves
  2. back, biceps and neck
  3. chest, delts and triceps

and hit each body part ONCE a week, or split your program into two parts/routines.

For example:

  1. abs, thighs, calves, back and biceps
  2. chest, delts, triceps and neck

and alternate the two workouts, thus hitting each area three times every TWO weeks. Or try one option for a couple of months, then the other for a further couple of months, and see which works best for you.

Mistake 10: Performing Excessive Sets

Perform no more than three work sets per exercise, and a maximum of eight exercises per routine. If you can do more than three work sets per exercise, you're loafing. Train harder so that you never want to perform more than three work sets per exercise.

Mistake 11: Not Using A Training Partner

A good training partner will boost your training zeal and intensity. Find a training partner who has a similar recovery ability to yours, so that you can use a similar (if not the same) training program. Then push each other to deliver perfect workouts every time - intensive, progressive and always with correct, disciplined technique.

An inappropriate training partner can be your undoing. If he/she can recover quicker than you, and tolerate more sets and exercises, and if they push you to abuse forced reps and other intensity enhancers, cut your ties - pronto!