Of all the mistakes athletes make in their quest to get stronger and faster, most can be attributed to lack of education and awareness.
There are lots of mistakes we see, especially when we go “off-site” to work with athletes, groups, and teams at high school and college weight rooms, and recreational facilities. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive, but here are some of those mistakes:
- Too much weight. It’s important that athletes challenge themselves with heavy weight. That’s one of the ways to engage fast-twitch muscle and build strength and power. And, although we don’t encounter this very often with our female athletes, it’s a common issue with the guys. The result is poor technique (which could be added to this list) — bad form and biomechanics — and an increased risk of injury. Lifting a challenging weight with proper technique, through a full range-of-motion, is more effective and safer than overdoing it.
- Not enough total-body training. Once again, more of a problem with the guys (sorry, gentlemen), who are enamored with exercises that focus on their chest and biceps (in fairness, we also work with some females who are more than a little preoccupied with exercises that focus on abs and butts). Think of your body as one, big, interconnected (and inter-dependent) functional unit. More of your training should be movement-based, as opposed to muscle-focused.
- Lack of variation. Traditional, iron-pumping exercises are still some of the best for building strength and power, but we also use tools like kettlebells, medicine balls, stability balls, TRX suspension trainer, Rip Trainer, and balance-focused equipment like the Airex pad and BOSU. Diversify your program by performing different exercises — using a variety of equipment — for similar movement patterns.
- Overtraining. This includes too much frequency; too much volume; too much focus on the same muscle groups; and too little rest. The result is often an increase in the potential for injury. Be smart. The goal isn’t to do as much as you can; the goal is to do as much as you need to in order to achieve your goal.
- Bad nutrition. Another area of improvement for most of our athletes. Virtually everything we do is fueled by nutrition and adequate hydration. Quality, quantity, and frequency of meals and snacks are key components of performance nutrition; and dehydration is the primary cause of fatigue-related performance decline.
- Inadequate rest/sleep. Remember, it’s the “rest” phase that provides muscle the opportunity for regeneration and growth. You need to be training hard, eating right, and sleeping right to ensure continuous improvement.
Here’s a related article from my friends at WeckMethod, Functional Training: Top 5 Mistakes.
Get some help. An experienced, qualified strength and conditioning professional can provide expert advice, guidance, and direction; and make a big difference in your development.