The previous entry got really long really quick and I realised I left a few things out that I had thought of earlier. So lets continue!
Mistake 4: Not training shoulders.
Mistake 4a: Training “shoulders”.
Because exercises targeting chest and back muscles typically involve movement from the shoulder joint, it’s not uncommon for people to follow programs that do not include any exercises to target the shoulders specifically. For men, in my opinion the cornerstone of a strong and athletic physique is broad, powerful shoulders. For women, you may not want to be as broad and square in the shoulders as your male friends, but good shoulder posture is still just as important. Poor shoulder posture is very common for a variety of reasons often related to ergonomic issues in the workplace, for example.
While the shoulders muscles get some work performing exercises for chest and back muscles, our aim with these exercises is to minimise the work of the shoulder muscles and isolate the targeted chest or back muscles as much as possible. For this reason, it’s also required to perform exercises specific to the shoulder muscles.
With that being said, it’s not enough to just “train shoulders”. You really need to consider your choice of exercises carefully and be sure to target the anterior (front), posterior (rear) and lateral (middle) deltoid muscles as well as the trapezius (although you may prefer to target the trapezius on back day) to build symmetrical shoulders. I also like to include exercises for the muscles of the rotator cuff which support the shoulder joint.
Mistake 5: Not squatting deep enough.
I have to admit, I used to be very guilty of this one! I would load up the squat machine with a huge amount of weights, but then not quite perform a full movement of the exercise. I was probably stopping just short of a good movement, not 1/8 of the way like I have seen some people do!
Unless you have a flexibility or other mobility issue which prevents it, squats should be performed to a depth where your thigh is parallel to the floor, with knees at a right angle. I honestly find simple body weight squats with a full movement a lot more challenging than a reduced movement with heavier weight on one of the squat machines. These days I still use the machines at times, although tending more towards barbell squats using a full (below parallel) range of motion.
Mistake 6: Assuming everyone else is “lucky”.
Don’t you hate this one? Don’t be that guy (or girl) in the gym who assumes everyone in better shape is just blessed with great genetics and an easy life. OK, there are some people like that, but they’re pretty rare! It’s much more likely that those guys and girls with the great physiques are just working harder and SMARTER, and sticking to their plan!