by Mike Hood


Weight lifting is an amazing way to get or stay in shape because it can help you build muscle and lose fat, but it’s important to note that many people get injured due to strength training every year by making common mistakes. Then, their videos wind up on Elgin's channel, which literally adds insult to injury. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when lifting weights and how you can avoid them. 

1. Skipping a warm-up

Going straight into a workout with cold muscles can set yourself up for injury; plus, you may not perform to your best ability. Stay at home to flatten the curve, not because you were a dunce in the gym. Here are some light cardio and dynamic stretches to perform before you start weight lifting:

  • Jump rope 
  • Body weight squats 
  • Jumping jacks
  • Hip rotations 
  • Forward/sideways leg swings 
  • Arm/shoulder rotations

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2. Going too fast 

Many people “cheat” their form by using momentum to get the weight up or going quickly rather than going through the full range of motion. These poor folks wind up inspiring Elgin's T-shirt designs. Without the proper form, you may risk injuring yourself, or simply not have an effective workout. If you’re unsure about your form, search for a video of a personal trainer who can demonstrate or sign up for a form check.



3. Not engaging your core

A weak core while doing lower body exercises, like lunges or squats, will put pressure on your lower back. It could also strain your knees or hips, depending on what you’re working on. Keeping your core tight for every exercise can give you a solid foundation and reduce the risk of injury. Remember to breathe through every movement and exhale during the toughest part.



4. Using high reps to tone 

“Toning” usually refers to a firm body with muscular definition. However, muscles do not go from soft to hard or hard to soft — they either shrink or grow (just the former if you're a crossfitter). As you get stronger, you could experiment with heavier weights little by little with fewer reps to increase strength. If you want that “toned” look, weight lifting paired with cardio can help you lose fat and gain muscle mass.

A healthy diet also plays a huge role in this. Using a caloric deficit can help you facilitate healthy fat/weight loss. Consider drinking a powdered collagen protein powder shake post-workout to fuel muscle and joint recovery. It is recommended that you consult with a licensed dietitian. 

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5. Going too heavy with weights 

It’s good to be ambitious but using too heavy of weights won’t be effective and can even be dangerous. Use a weight that feels comfortable and allows you to get the full range of motion of the exercise without compromising your form. The more you ego lift, the more likely you will wind up in Elgin's "Gym Idiots" series and indirectly pay his mortgage.


Whether your goal is to lose fat or gain muscle, weight lifting can empower you to achieve it. Just be sure to use the proper form and allow your body to recover in between workouts. If you stay consistent and avoid these common pitfalls, you can see even better results. 


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