As I have preached many times on my blog, weightlifting does not make you bulky! It was actually one of the main ways I was able to torch body fat and build lean muscle. Females that incorporate more weightlifting exercises into their routines are generally healthier and fitter. However, just like with any exercise, there is always a right and wrong way to do it.
When you execute an exercise using proper form, you can reap the results and avoid injury. Here are some of the most common weightlifting mistakes:
1. Mistake: You’re doing a lot of reps with a light weight
There are so many sources out there that say the only way to gain lean muscle is lifting light weights many times. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While using light weights can increase your endurance, in order to build muscle and burn fat you need to up the weights along with decreasing your reps. Ladies, lets be realistic… it is quite difficult for women to get bulky from heavy weights due to our high level of estrogen and low levels of testosterone. In order to achieve that toned, lean physique you need to challenge yourself by increasing the weights and lowering the reps.
2. Mistake: You’re only using weight machines not free weights
While machines can be great for beginners by adding resistance to your workouts, in reality it does not imitate proper lifting technique that we would perform using free weights. Machines ignore basic functional movements that we tend to do on a daily basis. They isolate particular muscle groups and are not as efficient compared to exercises that target multiple muscle groups like squats and deadlifts. Machines can be great to slowly build up your strength before you move onto more complex exercises. However, it is important to not depend on them too much and make it your ultimate goal to build up to using free weights.
3. Mistake: You’re not focusing on your form
I am always that person in the gym that is filming my workouts. Not only because I post them on my social media but I also scrutinize them heavily to make sure that my form is correct. Using the correct form when you are lifting is vital to avoid injury and get the most out of your workout. I know it may seem daunting but ask someone at your gym to look at your form while you are doing a exercise to see if you should tweak anything. I will be the first to say that I have definitely thrown my back out a few times from deadlifting by not using the correct form. Personally I noticed that the heavier I went on my deadlifts, the more my form started to deteriorate, which led to injuries a few times. To assist me with my heavier lifts I now use a weightlifting belt to keep my posture on point and not put too much strain on my posterior vertebrae. Take time to learn the proper technique! There are loads of free videos and guides online.
4. Mistake: You’re over-training
In order to see the desired results you need to give your body adequate rest. It is so easy for us to push ourselves too much and not take a break but this can have a negative impact on our body. Our muscles need a break so that they can repair themselves and grow. People are so adamant to see quick, fast results that some may think going to the gym everyday with no days off is the answer. Getting fit takes time, dedication and commitment. In order to give each workout your maximum effort and performance you need to give your body time to rest.
5. Mistake: You’re not working hard enough
I have seen so many females come over to the weights, have a dumbbell in one hand and their cellphone in the next. You want to make your time at the gym worthwhile. Weightlifting is intense and you want to keep your heart rate up throughout your workout to torch fat and maximise your gains. I always try to superset (doing two exercises back-to-back) or triset (doing three exercises back-to-back) all of my weightlifting exercises with pylometrics and bodyweight exercises. This is challenging and increases the intensity of the workout.
Try this next time: Do 5 rounds
-8 BB Front Squats
-8 Box Jumps
-8 Push ups
Your heart rate will skyrocket!
Now it is time to get moving. Don’t let anything hold you back. You are closer to your goals today than you were yesterday. Consistency is the key!
Love Mel x