One of the biggest problems in gyms are the thousands of gym bros who are lifting a weight that is way too heavy for them!
Performing shoulder presses whilst contorted into a position that would make a yoga instructor wince.
But have you noticed that a lot of those guys are still massive? Because no matter how dangerous, or inefficient they are being they are still providing their muscles with progressive overload, which is what muscles need to grow.
This does not mean that training with terrible form is a great idea, it’s ridiculously stupid. But it means that if you ever want to get stronger or bigger you are going to need to lift heavy.
Incidentally, if you don’t want bigger muscles but instead want to lose fat and look as lean as possible, the answer is the same – lift heavy!
This article will look at why some people avoid lifting, and why they are making a mistake in doing so.
Reason #1. Fear of bad technique
The reason that a lot of people avoid lifting too heavy is a lack of confidence in their technique, they worry that if they increase the weight on a deadlift then their form will suffer and this will lead to ridicule.
Whilst this is an important concern, it assumes that your jump from medium weight to heavy weight is going to be a big one.
If you are currently deadlifting 60kg for 8 reps without breaking a sweat, but you’re afraid to increase the weight to 90kg because you think it will be too big a jump then you’re absolutely correct.
But why would you feel that you need to increase it that much? Why not try 7 reps at 65kg and then progress to 6 reps at 67.5kg or 70kg?
Pyramid training would suit you perfectly, start out with 6 reps at 60kg, then increase the weight by 5kg (you can use lower increments if you desire) and lower the reps to 5.
Have a rest and then increase the weight again and lower the reps by 1 again. Soon you’ll be attempting 1 rep at 85kg. If your form begins to slip at any of these weights, then you’ll know that next time you should lower the weight.
Another way to combat this is to learn how to perform these exercises correctly. Watch YouTube videos, read articles, hire a trainer, attend seminars, whatever you need to do. Practice your technique constantly, and don’t try to be a hero.
Small increments over weeks and weeks might suit you perfectly. Whilst some people might find that they can run through the weight increases relatively fast.
Reason #2. Fear of injury
This is closely tied into the previous reason, if you’re worried that your technique is not good enough to lift heavy then you are probably also worried that the lack of technique will cause an injury.
Well the obvious response it, perform the exercise correctly (as we looked at earlier). But another thing to do is to look at injury occurrence.
The number one most dangerous exercise out there is not weightlifting, it’s running. The reason for that? People are very aware of the potential for injury during lifting, so take a lot of precautions and worry about their form (the ones that don’t become the injured ones).
But running is actually a difficult exercise to master, and nobody gives running technique a second’s thought. Which makes it unsurprising that a lot of people get hurt.
If you are lifting heavy and your technique is flawless, then your chance of injury is remote.
Just build your knowledge and your confidence will rise with it.
Reason #3. Not wanting to “get bulky”
This is a common worry for women, but there are also a lot of men out there who avoid heavy weights due to this fear.
If you are one of those people then put your mind at rest, nobody has ever gotten bulky by accident. If you don’t want massive biceps, then don’t eat 3,000 calories per day! If you don’t want tree trunk legs, don’t take anabolic steroids.
Stop looking at pro bodybuilders as your reference point, check out the natural lifters. In fact if you get the chance ask some of them about the challenges they face putting on muscle.
Ask them how many calories they consume per day, and how many mass gaining supplements they consume. Also ask them how often they train per week, some will be there 8-10 times (double sessions).
Are you doing any of that? So why on earth do you think that you would get the same results by accident? It’s like not learning to drive because you don’t fancy becoming a formula 1 driver.
Whatever your goals, increasing strength should be your main focus.
Increasing strength will improve your health, help injury-proof you, and help with any fat-loss goals that you have.
Treat exercises with the respect that they deserve, and constantly look to improve your form and you will never have to worry about injuring yourself.