Rookie Weightlifting Mistakes to Avoid

(Last Updated On: June 2, 2020)

When you are new to lifting you often are full of motivation but not so full of knowledge as to what it takes to make gains in terms of muscle building. Too much motivation can lead to you doing too much at once and overtraining.

Also, some people try and do every workout on the planet and end up taking one step forward and two steps back.

If you want to make gains you need to stop making these rookie mistakes and approach your training in the correct manner. Take a look at these mistake to avoid when training these muscle groups


Rookie Back Training Mistake

pull ups 

Rookie Mistake: Focusing on lat pulldown and not doing enough pull-ups

What You Should Do: More Pull-ups

When you think about someone who has a strong upper-body, most people tend to think about the bench press. The bench is a great exercise for strength and mass. So is the lat pulldown for that matter. The pull-up is the king of them all though. The pull-up requires every muscle in your upper body and demands absolute strength. If you ask any person that has wide lats and a thick back what they did to build it, pull-ups will definitely be in the conversation.


Related: How to do More Pull-Ups


Rookie Leg Training  Mistake

squat girl

Rookie Mistake: Too many isolation exercises

What you should do: Squat Variations

Lots of rookies come to the gym and start hammering out isolation exercises like leg extensions, leg curls and calf raises. These exercises have a very small learning curve and will give you a nice burn to make you feel like you are really building the muscle. The problem is these exercises recruit a low amount of muscle, don’t build a solid strength foundation and elicit fewer hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone.

In order to build a solid foundation of lower body strength and muscle, you need to do some variation of the squat. The squat, regardless if it is done with a bar on your back on with one leg and a kettlebell or dumbbell is essential to athletic performance and physique enhancement. Squat variations work a lot of muscle and produce a nice hormone surge.

If you still want to do those isolation exercises you can do those have the squatting is done.


Rookie Chest Training Mistake

Michaela Augustsson

 Rookie Mistake: Not doing push-ups often enough

What To Do: Do more push-ups (Obviously)

Since we were kids in school the push-has been a workout staple. Most kids cheat and don’t do them correctly but I digress. Done correctly, the push-up can be a nice muscle builder though. Take it up a notch by elevating your feet or placing weight on your back and you can build real upper body strength. I love the bench press as much as the next guy but the push-up is the foundational exercise of chest training. Mix in some weighted push-ups and build slabs of muscle on your chest.


Rookie Shoulder Training  Mistake

shoulder press

Rookie Mistake: Doing too many dumbbell and cable lateral raises

What To Do Instead: More presses

Doing overhead presses can be tough, no matter what anyone says. not only does it tax your shoulders but it also works your legs and core. The whole concept of working more muscle at once to increase hormone production is a key to building strength. You can add in the lateral raises when needed but the bulk of your shoulder training should be pressing movements with a barbell, dumbells or kettlebells overhead presses.

Think of it this way: if your shoulder training workout were a dinner your overhead presses should be the main course and your raises should be the dessert.


Rookie Trap Training MistakeBuild traps

Rookie Mistake: Just doing shrugs

What To Do: More upper-back work

Shrugs can definitely help you build some nice traps. The problem is, shrugging is only one movement pattern and the traps are more complex than that and require a variety of movements to hit the lower mid and upper traps to the fullest potential. Instead, make sure to focus on exercises like face pulls, high pulls, deadlifts, dumbbell rows to hit the traps to their fullest. For a complete article on this subject, check out our article on How to Build Mountainous Traps.


Abdominal Training Mistake

Best ab exercise

Rookie Mistake:  Using isolation ab exercises

What To Do: Work them as a whole

Sometimes the abs get a bad wrap. Lifter shun crunches and sit-ups saying they don’t need to train abs if they lift heavy. Oh how wrong they are. That is like saying you don’t need to train biceps if you do chin-ups Sure, chin-ups do hit the biceps but you need more detail work on top of that.  Focus on exercises like hanging leg raises, ab wheel rollouts and weighted carries to give you a bulletproof core and strong looking midsection


Rookie Gym Mistake


Rookie Mistake: Worrying what people at the gym think about you

What to do: Not worry because no one cares

New lifters always worry that everyone in the gym is staring at them and laughing. They aren’t. The truth is no one cares what you are doing, most people there are just focussing on themselves and couldn’t care less what others are doing much less the new guy/girl.

The truth is, at the gym, people only pay attention to a hot girl, a buff guy or a really strong guy. They also pay attention to people who are comparable to themselves. So if you are a newb you will likely have other newbs watching how much you are lifting to compare it to themselves, people way ahead of you or behind you won’t care what you are doing.

Also, people who laugh at the new people at the gym is pretty rare, I have been going to the gym for 30 years and have never seen it happen, but there jerks in all walks of life so it’s not impossible, it is highly unlikely though.

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