4 common weight lifting mistakes

I spend a lot of the time in the gym and I see all sorts of crazy shenanigans. The same people making the same mistakes over and over again.

I don’t claim to be The Mountain or Arnie but the basic tenants of weightlifting and building size hold true for everyone so I’ve put together a top 4 list detailing the main mistakes people make (myself included) when taking their first baby weakling steps in the gym.

The quicker you address these issues the faster you will make progress. Unfortunately, the gym is full of people who never change and never progress despite years of ‘training’. Don’t be one of them!


.#1: Neglecting form


HOW NOT TO DEADLIFT www.fasterfitness.com


This is super important, not just for building your muscles correctly but for avoiding injury. The human body is a fantastically complex bio mechanical machine. When performing an exercise, you will automatically try and lift the weight in the ‘easiest’ way possible. This can take strain off the muscle you are trying to strengthen and places the effort across numerous other muscles which aren’t your primary focus. This can lead to unbalanced development or injury. You want to lift the weight in a controlled and conscious way that maximises muscle stimulation.

Lifting heavy weight should not be your only goal. The goal should be to lift as heavy as possible with good, strict form. The first step is to master the movement before pushing yourself in the weight department. Seeing 17 year old boys trying to deadlift twice their body weight with a spine like a ‘n’ makes MY back hurt. Having youth on their side is a bonus but immediately jumping into heavy lifting with no real muscle base or knowledge of the lift is a disaster waiting to happen.

Research the lifts online, buy a strength training book, speak to a personal trainer or experienced lifter. There are multiple ways to get lifting advice these days. There is no excuse to not know how to perform an exercise correctly.



.#2 : Not eating enough


The definition of sadness
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.When I was younger I was a martial artist and it made sense to stay as light as possible but as strong as possible for my size.  When I took up weight lifting and wanted to gain some size I simply didn’t increase my calories enough.

I was training long and training hard but I just wasn’t getting bigger. It was mainly due to a lack of calories. Not protein, not carbs or fat. Just calories in general. After about 5 months of making little to no progress I decided to really put active effort into eating more. I wasn’t a huge guy so I didn’t eat that much to begin with. 

I trained myself to eat 50% larger portions. I started snacking on protein and fat dense foods like nuts. I supplemented with whey protein for a boost. Slowly but surely my weight and strength started to increase and hasn’t really stopped since.

If you have just started training with a decent programme and are pushing yourself hard but not making noticeable progress then you might also be in that situation. Consider talking to a trainer about nutritional advice or do it yourself and add around 500-1000 calories (from balanced sources!) to your daily intake.

Calorie increases were not the only thing that made huge difference to my progress…



#3 : Avoiding compound exercises


Compound exercises are absolutely key for strength and size. No decent bodybuilder or strongman in history would say otherwise. Compound exercises involve multiple muscles. The major three are…

Bench Press


Dead Lift

Some other popular exercises also fall into this category…


Standing Military Press

Bent Over Rows

The major three should form the backbone of your workout regardless of if you are a functional athlete, strongman or bodybuilder.

These exercises recruit a large amount of muscle fibre across multiple joints. They are physically demanding and promote maximum muscle growth and strength (depending on your rep range).

I started to really push myself on these lifts alongside a calorie increase and saw major progress in only a few months.

These lifts are demanding and hard to do well but persevere with them and don’t be another chicken-legged rat boy.

Check out ‘The 5 best mass-building exercises’ and become king of the gym!



#4: Not pushing yourself




This point is fairly straight forward. Every evening that I train, fully half of my gym (a large commercial one) are sat around on their phones doing a bicep curl set every 10 minutes. These people don’t squat. They don’t deadlift. Most importantly they don’t push themselves at all.

I get that after a days work its hard to spark the fire of gains. I understand that it’s harder to be motivated if you are out of shape compared to if you are a seasoned lifter. But when you enter the gym dedicate that hour or however long to the gym. Get off social media, stop the texting and focus on your goal.

A solid half hour of focused lifting is far more useful than an hour and half of sporadic, distracted, messing around.



Work on your lifting form before the weight. Make sure you eat a good amount of food from balanced sources. Get those big lifts mastered and focus when you enter the gym . You’ll be a muscled god in no time. Hit me up at ed@scienceguysupplements.com


-Science Guy


11 thoughts on “4 common weight lifting mistakes

  1. Hello,

    I want to first start off with I enjoyed reading your page, you provide excellent insight on the mistakes people make when weight training.

    From my PFT experience, I can 100% agree that your Top 4 are not only the Top 4 but are in correct order as well.

    I commend you for your insight and find it to be very helpful for anyone.

    All the best,

    1. Thanks JRay,

      Glad you agree with the list. Lots of mistakes can be made in the gym. But as with most things, learning from our mistakes is important if we are to develop. I believe avoiding these 4 common errors is just the beginning!


  2. These are all really huge. This is a person’s entire platform for fitness. Form is the hardest thing for people. For a long time I was an ego lifter that did not care for form.

    Once you are able to check your ego at the door and lower the weight. You will begin to start lifting correctly.

  3. I think just about every beginner will fall victim to these, through no falt of their own, becuase they are unaware that they are problems. Especially with form, you’ll stuggle to find anyone new to the gym that has taken the time study exactly what routine they should do and how to do it correctly. So already they’re already at a disadvantage… kinda.

    That’s why I think your post will be very helpful to those just starting out, it’ll tell them exactly what they need to do, e.g. research before walking into the and seeking help from others to get correct form.

    And of course they would so the same for your other your other points.

    I enjoyed the read man and I’m sure all beginners will take a lot from it 🙂

  4. Great points made here. I am all for compound movements and their benefits. To often you see people focusing on isolation exercises and limit themselves from greater gains. Those are typically the same people who under eat and cannot figure out why they aren’t reaching their fitness goals. Form and drive are also so important. These are four of the more important messages for any lifters regardless of experience. Great work

    1. Hi John,

      For people who have been lifting or training (properly!) for a while these points seem obvious but so many people in my gym are guilty of this. Month after month making no improvements what so ever.

      Boyfriends with no clue ‘training’ their girlfriends on bicep curls and most importantly training them wrong.

      The more basic information is out there the less time people need to spend making zero progress. I was guilty of some of these when I first started.

      I didn’t eat enough and simply didn’t gain any real weight for a good 9 months into my lifting experience. I’ve made the mistakes so hopefully other people can avoid them.


  5. All of these are very important points and are some of the main fundamentals of weight lifting. I like that you put form at number 1 since I see so many people using terrible form, especially with squats! For the love of god you are supposed to at least go 90 degrees. These young kids use too much weight and have terrible form, it’s kind of amusing. But not really when you think about how this eventually can/will lead to injury.

    1. Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for the comment, glad you liked the article. I think form is so important no just because you need good form to develop real strength but because bad form can be actively damaging and dangerous.

      A lot of young men need to step back and stop ego-lifting and instead really focus on the movement. They may not lift as much straight away but in the long run they will be far stronger and more physically developed if they focus on form over wieght first. Once the technique is mastered, smash the heavy lifts!

      Cheers, ScienceGuy

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