Common Mistakes Beginners Make When Lifting Weights – 5 Mistakes You Must Avoid

Mistakes Beginners Make When Lifting Weights

If you are trying to get fitter and sculpt your body, then lifting weights is a really great way to add and tone muscle and improve your physique and shape. However, it’s important to do it correctly so that you get the best results, but also for your safety to prevent injury

There are a few common errors which people make when first starting out so we have pulled together a list of the common mistakes beginners make when lifting weights, so that you can avoid making them when you start out down at the gym, or at home, with your own weight-training program.

Not Using Compound Exercises

One of the issues which is common with beginners starting out on lifting weights, is they try to work on a particular problem area of the body and only tone that, using isolated movements. Carrying out compound lifts, like the examples here, will give you great results:

  • Squats – the back squat is a great first-time compound exercise for beginners – make sure you maintain a natural curve to avoid back injury.
  • Deadlift - there are many forms of deadlift but again, maintain your natural back curve to avoid injury and keep the barbell close to your legs
  • Bench press - this is a staple exercise for all lift workouts – just make sure you use a suitable weight and don’t bounce it off your chest. Get some guidance before starting to bench press as it’s easy to do it wrong and risk injury
  • Rows - these exercises can really work your back muscles – try imagining your hands are hooks and pull your arm back from your elbow. Focus on your back.
  • Pull up and Chin ups - these are also good for working your back muscles.
  • Overhead press  – this can be done seated or standing to suit your own confidence and ability levels. Just keep the weight directly over your shoulders.

Not Doing A Proper Warm Up First

It’s really important to carry out a proper warm-up before starting any exercise routine, to get your blood circulating and your muscles ready. Many beginners are tempted to miss this step and launch straight into lifting the weights but this is a really bad idea and puts you at great risk of injury.

A quick five-minute warm-up before you start is all that is required to prepare your body and reduce potential harm. It gets your blood flowing, increases your muscle flexibility and also gets you into the right frame of mind ready to start exercising. Equally important is to do some stretches and cool down after the routine as well.

Not Resting Enough

It might be tempting to get into the gym every single day for hours, but as a beginner particularly, you need to take enough rest time between workouts. Remember that your body creates the muscle after you leave the gym, not when you are working out.

You need to have rest days between workouts for your body to recover and build the muscles back up for you because when you are actually working out, you are tearing the muscle tissues down.

Not Lifting The Correct Weight

You need to challenge yourself to get results. It’s not about starting out with the biggest weights possible as that will put you at risk of injury, but equally if the weights are too low you won’t achieve anything.

You need to build up gradually and make sure you don’t just settle into a routine and stay there. You need to gradually increase the number of reps you are doing, and increase the weights you are using, as you continue to work out, to ensure you are physically challenging yourself regularly.

Not Paying Attention To Proper Form

It’s really important to use the correct form when working out and many beginners fail to do so – you can ask your trainer to guide you or search for correct form tutorials online. When you use the correct form, you are using all the correct muscles to carry out the lift. If your form is wrong, you will be using some muscles more than others and will find yourself not losing as much weight and not making progress.


If you warm-up properly, use the correct level weights to challenge yourself, and pay attention to your form, then you will find building muscle and losing weight should occur easily. Avoid focusing on one area of the body and use the compound exercises for overall strength and tone