6 Workout Mistakes that Limit Muscle Growth

Coach Sapna on November 05, 2016

It’s important to stop and reconsider your current lifting routine if you suddenly stop getting any noticeable results. There are six main mistakes that you need to specifically take note of as far as reaching your full potential in terms of developing muscle tone and growth.


Most people who visit the gym embody the singular objective of either losing weight or building muscle. In fact most are there for both, they are prepared to dedicate a lot of time to get bigger and stronger muscles. But if they are making the following workout mistakes then they are holding themselves back from reaching their full muscle growing potential.

Mistake #1. Not Contracting the Muscle Properly

Imagine a guy trying to perform dumbbell curls with the help of 20kg weights. One noticeable aspect about his routine is that he uses his momentum to lift the weights up, rocking back and forth while doing so, from the start position to the end. Yes, his biceps are definitely involved in this particular performance, but they only feel about a fraction of the weight that he his lifting. It is the rest of his body that takes the main brunt of the force. 

To properly work a muscle you need to concentrate on performing the concentric contractions and eccentric contractions properly. Using the bicep curl as an example, curling the weight slowly using just your arm and then squeezing the muscle at the top is a true concentric contraction.

Lowering the weight slowly and allowing your muscle to stretch out in the eccentric part of the movement is actually even more important! The eccentric part of the movement is actually where the greater hypertrophic response is created.

Use a weight that you can both concentrically and eccentrically contract properly and you will get the most muscle growth possible from this.

Mistake #2. Not Consuming Enough Protein

The process by which the body uses protein to build up muscle fibers which have been worn down due to wear and tear as a result of exercise is known as protein synthesis. It is a physiological fact that during the course of any type of contraction, the muscle suffers varying degrees of damage. This is known as the breakdown of muscle fibers. Protein synthesis can help in increasing the strength as well as the cross-section of the muscles which get worn down during exercise.

Mistake #3. Not Getting Enough Sleep

Increased sleep has been seen to be a definite aid when it comes to improving athletic performance. This has been observed in the case of both team as well as individual sports. At the same time, one essential facet of this fact is that it is derived from a study that looked at the effects of extra sleep on the performance of athletes instead of normal sleep hours.

The benefits of this extend not only to performance but also to basic physiological mechanisms, such as hormone responses. The study found that extra sleep hours have a positive impact on the way in which athletes perform owing to the fact that it causes a definite increase in the amount of growth hormone that the body releases. At the same time, lack of proper sleep also results in a decrease in the levels of testosterone in the body.  

Mistake #4. Not Training Often Enough

Even though this might not be considered as important an aspect as the ones mentioned above or below, not following a routine can have an immensely negative impact on your body and your fitness goals in general. Just think about how often people segregate their exercise schedule into chest day, leg day, arms day and so on.

Although this might seem like a systematic means to develop your physiology, it also prevents the individual from focusing on doing full body workouts, thereby leading to strain on only one muscle group per day. The issue in this case is that one muscle group is only trained once a week instead on a regular basis, a practice that could have negative consequences.

Mistake #5. Getting the Weights Wrong

As previously mentioned, not performing your contractions with proper stance and technique can result in limited and even stunted muscle growth. This negative impact can stem from the fact that you are utilizing weights which are higher than your optimum capacity or are performing the exercise ina wrong manner.

Once you exceed your optimum lifting capacity in an attempt to push yourself too far, you are bound to either injure yourself or use momentum to carry out the exercises. Either way, both these ramifications are best avoided at all costs.

Another problem, which is quite contrary to the one mentioned above, involves using weights which are too light as compared to your optimum lifting capacity. In order to gauge how much your lifting capacity if, let’s take an example. If you are able to do 10 reps of a bench press using 80 kg weights, you are quite well suited to manage that particular weight.

Did you know that there are certain hidden concepts in weight lifting that most people choose to ignore?

Mistake #6 Overly Relying on Machine Weights

It has been observed through experimental studies that a greater hormonal response is achieved when free weights are used as compared to machine weights. In this case, free weights have been shown to improve the levels of both testosterone as well as the human growth hormone to a significant extent. The stimulation of muscle fibers has also been noted to be much more during the use of free weights as compared to machine weights. Hence, the verdict appears to be that free weights improve muscle growth to a larger extent as compared to machine weights.

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Coach Sapna

PGDM from Kirloskar Institute Of Advanced Management Studies | PGDHRM from Symbiosis | Graduation in Microbiology (Hons) from Delhi University Marketing enthusiast by profession, with the love for interacting with consumers to understand their psychology towards any brand/product. Through my articles, I intend to help all those who are looking for inspiration and happiness in life.