On the never-ending quest to build an impressive physique that is both powerful and can perform well, a lot of weight lifters have the basics covered.
However, there are a few very common mistakes I see in the gym, mistakes that can lead to an unbalanced physique, poor posture, back and shoulder pain, and can even make you look smaller and weaker than you are. Obviously this is something we want nothing to do with.
I’m going to address a few of these mistakes, and show you how you can clean up your program to make sure you aren’t committing any of these.
1. Doing more pushing than pulling exercises.
Think about your last chest workout. You probably had some variation of the bench press, dumbbell press, incline/decline variations, and cable or dumbbell flies. Now think about your back workout. Did it consist of some lat pulldowns, bent over rows, and cable rows? You need more.
A good number of lifters I talk to spend way more time bench pressing than horizontal pulling, and overtime this can lead to issues, including postural problems, shoulder or neck pain, and a hunched over look caused by your shoulders rounding forward. Even that out, and get some extra pulling in.
2. Only training the muscles you can see in the mirror.
Chest. Biceps. Abs. Shoulders. These are the muscles you see when you look at yourself in the mirror every day, and the ones that often get the most attention. When was the last time you had a good honest look at the back side of your body, or your legs? Your legs are half of your body, but a lot of training splits involve 3 to 4 days training the upper body, and only one on the lower body.
A big chest and arms are a dime a dozen, but building a thick, strong back, and traps will make your whole physique look bigger, and people will be impressed even if you have clothes on. And as far as the legs? No one wants chicken legs. Man up and train them.
3. Not working on the muscles that improve your posture.
Want to look great all the time? You need to stand up straight.
Try this: stand up, relax your abs, and let your shoulder slouch forward a little bit. This is how most of us stand. Now take a deep breath, squeeze your glutes and abs tight, pull your shoulder blades back, and make sure your head is line with the rest of your spine, not sticking straight ahead.
See how much better you feel and look?
You’ll like a confident man who knows what he’s doing, not an insecure person slouched over. To work on this, you want to strengthen your upper back and glutes, as these are the muscles that usually aren’t working as hard as they need to be due to long periods of sitting (driving, work, etc…). Try to add in a few sets of face pulls or band pull aparts, and glute bridges to your workouts every day, and just think about having good posture whenever you can throughout the day.
There you go, a few ways to improve your workouts to improve your physique! Training all those muscles that you often ignore will you keep you safe in the long run, and give you a physique and posture that inspires confidence and makes you look so much better.
By John’s Special Guest: Matt Dustin
Matt Dustin is a personal trainer and online coach who works with all kinds of clients, from everyday weight-loss clients to NCAA athletes. He has become known as “The Athletic Physique” guy, as he attempts to bridge the gap between bodybuilders and athletes to teach you how to create a physique that is both athletic and aesthetic.
Matt earned his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Towson University, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For more information, visit The Athletic Physique, Matt’s internet headquarters.