Sometimes we overlook the smallest things because we're so focused on going for our end goal. We end up missing small but valuable things that could help us get to our goals much quicker and more efficiently. Sometimes we tend to cut corners because we simply feel like it's much easier to do, or we just simply get lazy and do it just because we can. Little do we know we are only cheating our gains and could potentially be putting ourselves in harm's way. All of us at one point in time reach a plateau and sometimes we can not figure out why. The following are some observations I have made and also tested out in order to break off that plateau stage.
1. Utilizing proper posture and correct technique
I'll be the first to admit I have horrible post most of the time. So for me to correct this in a gym setting was really hard to do. I had to keep reminding myself to correct my posture. Not only does correct posture help you out with your lifts, it also saves you from injury. It causes the muscle group you're working to work even harder, and saves you from cheat moves.
A good way to test this out is to try some curls with your back against the wall. Try using 20 percent of your max and focus on keep your back as straight as possible. I usually use 50's when I curl, and when I tried this I had trouble getting through a set of 8 at 30 pounds. It forces the bicep area to solely work and alleviates the stress off of your lower back.
I see people using really heavy weights swinging their backs wildly trying to look cool. Little do they know people do not give a crap about how much they can curl, all they are doing is setting up for an injury. The same goes for any other exercise you do in the gym. If you're cheating the lift and not doing it properly, you're just cheating yourself.
2. Not giving it your all
How many of you have left the gym thinking, “damn I'm not really that tired”, or “I have something to do tomorrow, so I'll take it easy”. The funny thing is we ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING TO DO TOMORROW. So this trend keeps going and you never really get anywhere.
The other thing is that we tend to have other excuses, so we do not put our all into it. The biggest excuse I hear about is when someone does not have a weight lifting partner so they can not go very hard. Well I've been lifting for almost 2 years alone, and I've forced myself to create a way I can safely go hard. The way I did this by watching a few Greg Plitt videos. In one of the videos he stated these “When there's an obstacle in your way what do you do? Go around the damn thing and get to your destination”.
3. Using equipment the wrong way
Not only is this a good way to get injured, but if you're not using the equipment right, you're not going to maximize your gains. Before you jump on a machine and go to work, study it or get someone who knows about the machine to explain its benefits and how to use it properly. I see way too many memes about people using machines the wrong way to get a workout in.
Let's put it this way, if the machine you're looking for is being used, do not use something completely different than what for what its intended purpose. Do not squat on the leg press machine, and vice versa. Not only do you look like you do not know what you're doing, but I can bet that people will be making bets on how long it is until you get hurt doing what you're doing.
4. Not using enough oxygen
Breathing is very important to your muscle winning efforts. If you're not breathing correctly, your muscles are not getting eh proper amount of blood to them. Without it, your efforts are going to be in vain, and you will not see the results you're hoping to eventually see. So if you do not know how to breathe correctly, ask someone who does know how to do it. If not, there are multiple videos online that can help you out with this problem.
5. Utilizing the trainers and those who work in the gym
All too often we think, “Well, they're too busy to help me so I will not even bother them.” In reality this is the main reason that these people are in the gym in the first place. Ask them questions about things you may not know about. It may just save you some time and effort and even a trip to the doctor if you do. These people are trained professionals, and they know what to do, and what not to do.
So seek advice from these people on the little things that can make a big difference. If you're not sure about something, then you should always ask someone who is sure about it. The worst thing you can do is absorb something, then go for it and end up getting hurt. Remember it's the little things that can make a big difference.