The best workout is a smart workout. When building muscle — to get the most effective muscle results efficiently, you need to understand the key is knowing what not to do, what to do, and when.
In addition to losing weight, building muscle is one of the main reasons people start a workout routine. Gaining lean muscle is a great way to both look and feel good. Not to mention, increased muscle mass is beneficial to your overall health. Strong muscles improve your posture, protect your joints, increase bone and joint strength, and boost metabolism. We could keep listing, but hopefully, you get the idea.
So when it comes to trying to build muscle, taking the right approach will prevent injury and give your muscles the most bang for their workout buck. Below are a few mistakes people make when working out and building muscle.
- Lifting Too Light
Strength workouts should be challenging, so if your workout is flying by and you haven’t felt “the burn” then you should definitely increase the intensity. As a general rule if you can do 15+ repetitions without losing form, then you’re lifting too lightly. Select a weight that challenges you (again, while keeping good form) and aim for 10 to 15 reps.
- Lifting Too Heavy
If you are performing a typical routine for muscle strength and can only get to 4 or 5 reps, the weight is most likely too heavy for you. Yes, you can still gain strength when lifting in that range, but for the best results you’ll want to shoot for 10-15 reps as we mention above.
- Lifting Weights Too Fast
Slow and mindful weight lifting is something we really try to stress at BootCampSF. The reason the pace in which you are lifting is important is because muscles must have time under tension. This tension is where muscle fibers get the full resistance and where the actual muscle takes place.
If, for example, you knock out 10 reps in just 10 to 15 seconds, your muscles aren’t receiving that necessary tension. To actually build muscles, shoot for making those sets last around 30 to 45 seconds.
- Lifting with Poor Form
This one may seem obvious, but bad form is one of the biggest muscle building mistakes we encounter and why it is good to have a professional show you the proper technique for lifting. Also, you want to perform the exercise with good form, and make sure the weight is one you can control with good form. Just know, if you can’t control what you’re lifting, you might be working out everything BUT the target muscle. Controlling the weights you are lifting also is crucial to avoiding injury. Weight that is too heavy combined with poor form is a recipe for straining joints and muscles.
- Not Getting the Proper Amount of Sleep
A good night’s rest is vital to muscle building. Sleep is key to helping your body repair and recover. If you are sleep deprived, you are interfering with the growth and repair process. Also, sleep deprivation raises stress hormones which will lead to you gaining body fat more easily, lower energy levels, and negatively impact your workout.
- Avoiding Carbs
Low-carb diets like paleo or keto may hinder muscle building. Performing tough workouts requires you to restore your energy reserves, and your body can get that through the glucose from “good” carbs. Good carbs include oats, quinoa, bananas, sweet potatoes, amongst plenty of others. Carbohydrates will help give you the extra push needed to lift more which results in better muscle building.
Building muscle is a great way to both look and feel good. Supervised workouts like at San Francisco’s BootCampSF are a good way to build muscle strength safely and effectively. If you’re looking for a team atmosphere with personal attention, consider trying a class today.