Static stretching before strength training. Numerous studies have shown static stretching (holding a muscle in a stretched position for a prolonged period) before a workout reduces strength. Static stretching reduces neural drive, particularly in fast twitch motor units. Stick to dynamic stretching, some lighter sets of exercises on your program, and exercising through a full range of motion wherever possible.
Static stretching…at any time! I’m not a huge fan of static stretching but at times it can be useful. Flexibility is an individual consideration – joint laxity, stability in adjacent joint, muscular shortness, injury, bone length variations, muscular bulk, swelling, bony blocks etc. can all affect how far you can stretch. Remember, a little stiffness isn’t always a bad thing. Better to focus on joint stability through exercise and leave stretching to a skilled physical therapist who can assess you properly
Prolonged warm ups. Warm ups prepare your body for the workout ahead. If you’ve watched half an episode of Eastenders warming up on the crosstrainer, you’re wasting your time. Foam roll, mobility drills, specific activation exercises (if required), some lighter sets of your workout and you’re done.
Squatting heavy barefoot. Deadlifts, yes. Light squats, perhaps. Heavy squats, nope. If you want to sit down with an elephant on your back you need a stable foot, a neutral arch and a strong, mobile ankle joint. Don’t expect your feet to behave like a gymnast’s after wearing shoes all day. Weightlifting shoes have a raised heel and inflexible sole for a reason – to stabilise the foot/ankle and allow your knees to travel further forward while you squat. You are not Tarzan. Protect your knees!
Resistance bands overuse. Yes, they’re cheap and portable. And yes they come in pretty colours. Bands can provide benefit but only if used to compliment the strength curve of an exercise. They’re basically a poor substitute for free weights. I dont care what Tracy Anderson says – you will not build a JLO booty lying on your back with your knees tied together. Lift. Some. Weight!
Bro Splits. The Bro Split: Monday – shoulders. Tuesday – back. Wednesday – arms….Unless you’re a bodybuilder bringing up a lagging body part, training one body part per day is a poor use of precious gym time. It’s not enough frequency for muscles to get repeated stimulus to grow. To put on some muscle mass, train muscle groups more regularly using compound exercises (squats, lunges, rack pulls, chest press etc) with a lower number of quality sets each workout.
Too much pre-workout. Pre-workout stimulants make you move faster. Handy when you’re sprinting to the bathroom after too many scoops of your Nuclear Volcano Grenade Explosive Tornado™ pre-workout drink. Also, lifting weights with the jitters while wired on caffeine is not a good idea.