Heavy lifting is what you should be doing if you want to get big and strong muscles – muscles that not only look good, but allow you to perform at peak levels in anything you do. However, you can’t lift heavy if you’re injured. You won’t be making any progress if you’re busy recovering and wishing you just did what you needed to do to be safe.


Use proper form on pressing movements to avoid shoulder pain.

Use proper form on pressing movements to avoid shoulder pain.


The biggest mistake many people make is being too naive and putting too much weight on the bar and lifting with bad form. People’s ego’s get the best of them or they lack the understanding what proper posture and movement does to make muscles grow. If you’re a beginner? You should be very careful when working with weights you are not familiar with. We always recommend you hire a trainer, so you may learn strict form. A general rule you shouldn’t lift more then 8 reps since most pople lose form as a beginner after 8 reps based on research.


Focus on Breathing. A big mistake many people are making is not paying attention to breathing. Proper breathing is essential to completing a particularly difficult rep with good form. You typically need to focus on breathing in or inhaling during the negative or eccentric part of the lift. Then breathing out or exhaling during the concentric or positive phase of the movement. There has been debate about holding breath during certain parts like at the bottom of a movement to maintain internal abdominal pressure. Though you can also do this be pursing your lips and slowly exhaling to maintain this pressure. You never want to hold the breath too long. This can be very dangerous. Man powerlifters feel holding your breath at the right time, you can push the bar a tiny bit harder in order to complete the repetition. Many powerlifters inhale and hold their breath (“big air”) ad use a lifting belt to maximize their strength output especially with squats and dead lifts. This for most people is not recommended.


A very common mistake is letting your spotter lift the weight for you. This is especially prevalent during bench presses, where too many people try to impress everyone by loading 100lbs too much on the bar and then ask for a spot. They obviously do not understand that a spotter only comes in to assist with a very, very difficult rep using a properly estimated weight. They should at most be lifting 5lbs at the last rep, just so you can rack the bar.


Ignoring pain is another common mistake many lifters make. There are two types of pain – chronic, which is long-term, and acute, which happens in response to an immediate stimulus. Acute pain is your body telling you to stop doing what you’re doing. Chronic pain is your body telling you you’ve been doing something wrong for a while. Dealing with acute pain is simple – just stop whatever you were doing and apply the necessary care to the painful area. Chronic pain is more complicated, since you’ll have to examine your form when doing every lift.


Another very common mistake is cheating to finish a rep. This is usually in the form of limiting the range of motion during squats, arching the back during dead lifts, or bouncing the bar off the chest or shoulders during presses. While doing these allows you to complete the repetition, it is still bad form and could still lead to injury.


Stay safe, use weight you can handle properly, and try to train with a spotter if you really want to push yourself to the limits of sanity.

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