The recent hype about strength training has led to a lot of new beginners in the field - and with them come a lot of mistakes and myths about muscle gain. Discerning how to properly train in order to gain the most from your training can be difficult for these beginners, especially with all the bad advice and myths running around.
Most training mistakes, however, can be avoided by using common sense, but there are some aspects of training that a lot of people still implement and hold for truth, despite them being completely useless, or even harmful, for your training results. For instance, some of the most unnecessary things people believe help their training includes;
Drinking Protein Shakes
In the world of strength training, you constantly hear about the importance of drinking protein shakes after you work out. Supposedly this is a must in order to bulk up fast. However, you also hear a lot of people complaining that the shakes had no effect on them, and most of the people you see drinking the stuff are weak and scrawny-looking boys.
How can that be if protein shakes are supposedly so great?
Because they aren't. At least not for the average person.
Protein shakes work in the way of providing your body with protein (surprise!), which is commonly known to be used for building muscle mass. The problem, however, is that people seem to believe that ingesting more protein will magically make the body use it and build bigger and stronger muscles. This is not the case. That theory only works if your body needs the added protein - otherwise it doesn't matter if you have an excess of it, since your body won't use it.
Now, I'm not saying the added protein doesn't help build muscle mass - it totally does. But for it to actually have any effect, you need to train hard and vigorously enough for your muscles to actually need the added protein, otherwise it will just pass right through your body unused. And as previously stated, most people don't train nearly hard enough for the added protein to have the slightest effect.
Training Too Often
This is perhaps the most common mistake seen in beginners: the tendency of overtraining. Most beginners are impatient, and want to grow as much as possible as fast as possible, which often leads to them training way too often. This in turn means they do nothing but wear out their muscles, which can lead to some serious injuries.
However, even if they manage to avoid any injuries from overstraining, they also find another backside to this; they don't become any stronger, no matter how much they work out. This is simply because they fail to realize how muscle development works.
In order for your muscles to grow, two components are absolutely vital. First, you must break down the muscle through training, which will tell the body that the muscle in question is too weak and needs strengthening. Then, your body must be given time to rebuild and strengthen that muscle, which will ultimately result in the growth and strengthening of that particular muscle.
Without that much needed rest period, the muscle will only continue to break down and never heal or grow stronger. Therefore, training too often will severely cripple your overall results.
Resting Too Much
When realizing the dangers of training too often, a lot of people cut back on their training to let their bodies fully recover between workouts. And while this is generally a good thing, some people tend to take it too far, and end up resting far too long after a training session. This can actually have a strong hindering effect on your muscle development as well.
Since the principle of strength training is to put constant strain on a muscle in order to signal to the body to strengthen it, you won't gain any results if you don't constantly challenge it. Allow your body to rest too much, and it will adapt to the low amount of strain and actually degenerate your muscles to accommodate.
Over Focusing on Certain Muscle Groups
This is perhaps the biggest mistake one can make when strength training. Overly focusing on some muscle groups while ignoring the rest will leave your body unbalanced, and can actually make you weaker than before. Even if you ignore the added risk of injury, over focusing while strength training has another negative impact; it hinders your muscle growth.
Although it might seem like a good idea to only focus on training your arms, your body will only go so far in strengthening those muscles alone. At a certain point, it will become extremely difficult, if not downright impossible to continue to gain anything from your training, unless you focus on a balance between all of your muscle groups.