When you’re just starting out you’re eager to learn and often you hear all sorts of weird advice in the gym.
Unfortunately I was bought-in to some of this stuff and it derailed my progress for months. In this article I will mention the 3 worst pieces of training advice I ever got!
#Advice 1 – “You don’t have to train your legs, running is enough. If you do squats and dead lifts your hips will become very wide and you’ll never be able to get that V-Taper symmetrical look.”
I got this advice in my first year of training and I took it 100% serious. It made total sense the way the guy explained it.
So for the next 7-8 months I didn’t do any leg training, just a few sets of leg extensions per week.
It was a horrible piece of advice as you might imagine. My lower body was severely underdeveloped as all the “Newbie” gains were only made in the upper body.
And for the next 5 years I had worked very hard to bring my legs up to decent development. Little did I know that squats and dead lifts have so many benefits both for muscle growth and strength.
#Advice 2 – “You’ll start losing muscle if you workout lasts longer than 45 minutes because testosterone goes down.”
This one big guy told me to cut the rest period to put in as much work as possible within 1 session. I was doing everything in super-sets, tri-sets, giant sets. The whole workout was 1 big set.
The way he explained made sense because I remember reading something similar on a bodybuilding forum.
Of course today we know better. Resting very low didn’t allow me to progress in strength at all for the whole 3 months I was doing this, and I also didn’t gain much muscle.
Now we know that training volume is the key to growth both in strength and muscle.
Essentially you shouldn’t let the rest between sets reduce the amount of weight / reps and sets you can do as we’d be sacrificing training volume which is a lot higher priority than rest.
#Advice 3 – “To build muscle you need to take sets to failure.”
The good old muscle failure advice. It made so much sense to take each set to failure because you really feel like you’re squeezing out all the potential gains. We all know how Arnold said that the last few reps are the ones that count.
Taking every set to muscle failure is very poor training advice because same as with the rest interval you’re basically sacrificing training volume for some potential benefit of muscle failure.
Let’s say I can normally do 3 x 10 with 225 lbs / 100 kg on Bench Press as the first exercise of the day. And I’m leaving 1-2 reps left in the tank for those sets.
Compared to taking my first set to muscle failure with 225 for 12 reps. I’ll be so exhausted that the 2nd set will probably be 7-8 reps and the 3rd set I’ll have to go down with the weight.
So I’m effectively reducing the amount of training volume and the amount of effective reps for something like muscle failure.
Now we know that the main mechanism of muscle hypertrophy is Progressive Tension Overload. This means that you’re going to get stronger and progressing with the amount of weight you’re doing, or being able to do more reps with the same weight.
The smart way you can apply muscle failure is to leave it for the last few sets of the workout, and for those isolation movements with smaller muscle groups.
Going to failure on a Squat or a Dead lift isn’t the same as doing so with a Lateral Raise. Your shoulders will recover faster, same as your biceps / triceps, calves or Abs.
So if you take the last sets to failure you’re not losing any potential strength gain as you’ve already gone through your main compound lifts and now it’s just about the last few % of gains.
Save yourself years of headache and lack of progress by avoiding these mistakes in your own exercise programs.
Let me know in the comments below what is the worst training advice you’ve ever been given.
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