Strength Training Pitfalls

In Barbell Logic Podcast episode #25 we talk about specific training pitfalls that can sabotage your quest to increase strength. We want you to get stronger, so we thought it was time to talk about pitfalls again.

Pitfall Number 1: Making it too complex. You’re going to have to squat, press, deadlift and bench press to get stronger. Those lifts are selected because they are so efficient. Stay with them. Do the Starting Strength A and B workouts as prescribed in the Novice Linear Progression and don’t add more movements that detract from the hard work at hand. Time spent on the hip abductor machine or other accessory is better spent in the squat rack or in the library. Keep it simple; we know from helping many people triple, quadruple, and even quintuple their squats that keeping it simple works.

Pitfall Number 2: Being inconsistent. You’re a strength athlete now, and training three times each week, every week is the single most important thing you can do as a strength athlete. If you are skipping workouts or reps, there isn’t a program, steroid, supplement, or coach in the world who can help you make up for the work you missed.

Pitfall Number 3: Self Criticism. Some of us are unspeakably bad lifters. It’s objectively true. We can’t allow that to affect our approach to training. When we miss a lift we can’t allow ourselves to think that we suck, that we’ll never get this, and we’re not the kind of people who can be very strong. If we believed those things we’d be right! We all have to ignore the self criticism and keep going! If you are being hard on yourself, stop it! We all struggle with this. You’re a member of the club now! Don’t judge yourself, just get back to work.

Pitfall Number 4: Impatience. This is a life long project. The acquisition of strength takes time. It can take a while to reach your goals. But nothing worthwhile is easy, right?

Pitfall Number 5: Giving up when it’s hard. Strength training is hard, but it’s not going to kill you. It’s a privilege to train, to have access to a gym, to be able to make your body the strongest it’s ever been. A hard set of five is nothing compared to the great benefits. 5 minutes of discomfort on the way to being the strongest you’ve ever been!

Pitfall Number 6: Not managing recovery. The Recovery phase is when the magic of strength training occurs. You have to eat, sleep, and rest enough to get your body to exhibit the adaptation for more strength. Sleep 8 hours per night and eat like a strength athlete. During training sessions make sure you are resting 3-5 minutes between work sets.

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