Here is Part 1 of a run down of muscle mistakes that I see all to often in the gym. These could be keeping you from tapping into your muscle building potential.
Bad Form– Form is everything, cheating on a movement is really just cheating your gains. It is also unsafe. Learn how to properly engage muscles and watch your strength explode.
Too Much Weight– “Chasing weight” is only good for building egos. Muscle has no idea what the number on the side of a dumbbell is or how many plates you slap on the bar. It only knows resistance. Performing an exercise correctly (perfect form, pace, squeezing) will help you build muscle a lot faster because the muscle is properly activated and stressed. Also, heavier weight will also stress the joint’s ligaments and tendons forming injuries. My advice is to get the best workout with the least amount of weight possible. If you look like you lift heavy weights no one will care if you don’t.
Using Too Many Machines– Free weights are king! Using machines can be considered safer for some but I find that to only be true if the person is properly aligned in the machine, meaning it is set to your body. Some bodies just aren’t made for machines thus making them less safe than free weights. I also feel that just handling free weight helps functionally strengthen the body. Machines lock the movement of the body along a distinct, specific path and plane. Free weights allow the body to move the weight in a more natural motion.