Lifting heavy weights is something every gymgoer is trying to do, but is it always the best thing to do ? There are some signs that can tell you that you might want to lower the weight on that bench bar.
Everyone knows that guy that puts 3 plates of 15kg on each side of the bench bar, lays down, starts grunting and yelling like a black bear, moves the bar 5 inches, and slams it back into the holder. This is one of those signs that tell you that you are lifting too heavy. Lifting too heavy is one of the biggest mistakes people can make in the gym. And no, looking like a fool isn’t the worst thing that can happen while lifting heavy.
Sure, there are people who can curl 34 kilograms per arm, but not everybody has that amount of strength to perform a decent curl while holding that dumbell. You should try to handle a weight that you can lift while still having correct form, and being able to maintain that form during those 8-12 reps. If you don’t, you can seriously injure your bicep, shoulder or even your lower back. When this happens, you’ll say goodbye to some months of training, and you will lose the gains you were trying to make in the first place.
You should not think that lifting the same weights as the bodybuilder with 20 inch biceps next to you will automatically make you look like him. Only hard work and dedication will get you there, there are no shortcuts. That dude will probably have been working out for 2 to 3 years to reach the level at which he is able to decently handle those dumbells.
If you can’t use the weights in the right way, don’t use them at all. One of the things you should not try to do is rush your trainings. Don’t increase your weights every week if you know you can’t handle it. Stick to the same weight until you feel confident enough to go for a higher weight. If you are able to do 15 reps with 20 kilos during squats, you can move on to 25 kilos or 22,5. You can try to increase the weights by a low amount each time, to see if you can handle it. If you can’t, decrease the weight again. There’s no shame in trying and failing, because at least you tried! and that’s more then most people ever did…
“Hey man, try to add another 5 pounds.” A sentence you hear often in the gym. Two guys, trying to lift more weight than the other one. This can be a good thing, because if it is your regular training partner, you know what he can handle. But never be persuaded to lift more weight than you know you can handle. It’s still YOUR body, and YOUR choice to add more weight. It’s better to do 12 reps with 15 kilos, than to do 6 reps with 20 (with a bad form). You will train a lot more if you use those 15 kilos, and after some time, you’ll be able to lift those 20 kilos in a decent way, and man, does that feel good!
Being able to lift the weight without have to grunt like godzilla and doing it in a decent way, without the entire gym disapproving of what you are doing, feels a lot better than failing at every exercise, but being able to tell your friends you lifted 20 pounds.
While working out, there is only one thing to remember. You are doing this for yourself, you are the center of what is happening. You are creating a masterpiece, a masterpiece that is your own body. I never saw a painting from a great artist that had been completed in 5 days! They could, no doubt, but it would not be the same. It wouldn’t be as beautiful as it could be. The same thing counts for your body. Yeah, you can try to rush it and lift a lot with horrible form, but will those gains really compare to the injuries you sustained? Having a great looking body is nice, but give yourself the time to grow to that level. You can show off on the beach, but in the gym, you only have to work hard for yourself. And if 15 kilograms is the heaviest you can lift, so be it.
You should see this as a point where you can redevelop yourself and build yourself up, but this time healthier and stronger!