When you start training, you obviously want to do everything right so you can make gains. You also want to strive for constant improvement. Unfortunately, that yearning for improvement can lead you to commit training mistakes that hold you back.
Sometimes knowing what not to do can be as important as knowing what to do. Avoid these mistakes so you can prevent injury and get better.
1. Ignoring the Negative
Negatives are important in training. I'm talking about lowering the weight—i.e., the eccentric portion of the movement. Let's use the barbell Curl for example. Curling the weight up is the concentric (or positive) portion of the lift. The eccentric part is when you lower the weight to the starting position. Just allowing the weight to drop and letting momentum and gravity do the work for you will impede your progress. But when you control the weight on the way down, your muscle fibers tear down. As lifters, this is what we want, because when we eat and recover, the fibers rebuild so they will be prepared for the next workout. This is the progress we are looking for. Ignoring the negative on your lifts means you're not breaking down the muscles as much as you could be. They don't have to work as hard and thus, you won't see improvement.
2. Focusing Too Much on Weight
As exciting as it is to see the numbers going up, the dumbbells getting bigger and more plates being loaded on the bar, your focus as an athlete should not be on the weight itself. Doing so can lead to an inflated ego and possibly a serious injury. The weight is a tool, a means to an end. You should focus instead on working your muscles sufficiently. Using our barbell Curl example again, instead of focusing on curling 100 pounds by any means necessary, work on contracting your biceps without having to recruit other muscle groups to assist or swing the weight. You might have to drop the weight down to 60 or 70 pounds, but the result will be bigger and stronger biceps. If you apply this principle throughout your entire training program, you will benefit both in the weight room and on the field.
3. Failing to Stay Hydrated
Yes, in 2014, I still see countless athletes making this mistake in gyms and on fields. Training for a long time without a water break does not make you tough. When you're dehydrated, you become susceptible to dizziness, lack of focus and a decrease in athletic performance—and this is if you're only slightly dehydrated. It gets worse as you become more dehydrated. You may develop migraines or fever, or faint. How can you tell if you're dehydrated? If your urine is bright yellow or amber-colored, get water immediately. I always recommend athletes take in one gallon of water a day. In the video player above, sports dietitian Leslie Bonci explains how to know if you're properly hydrated.
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