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Top 7 Workout Mistakes That Are Making You Lose Gains

Are you making some of the most common workout mistakes that are causing you to lose the muscle gains you should be making?

When it comes to working out, there is usually no best way of doing things. What might work for someone else might not work for you.

However, there is a lot of confusing information out there that will cause you to make some mistakes that can cost you some muscle gains.

So let us look at the top 7 workout mistakes that you should be aware of so that you can avoid making them and maximize your muscle gains.

Not warming up correctly

One of the most common workout mistakes is that people treat a warm up as an afterthought. Heck, even I used to do the same mistake and ignore my warm ups.

Most people tend to warm up by either performing some cardio before the workout or performing some stretching and mobility exercises.

But this is not the correct way to warm up. Rather the best way to warm up is to perform the exercises that you are going to perform as part of your workout with relatively lighter weights.

With such a warm up you will benefit in two ways.

One it will warm up your muscles and allow more oxygen and blood to flow through them. This will prep your muscles to be able to lift the maximum weight possible. This means you will be able to make more strength gains and so build more muscle.

Also, when you warm up correctly, you will be using the correct form and technique on your lifts. This will help you avoid injury when you actually lift the heavy weights as part of your workouts. And the less you get injured, the better are your chances of gaining maximum muscle.

To know more about warming up and some correct ways to warm up, please read this post.

Not tracking your progress

Each time you go to the gym you should be aware of what workout you will be performing that day.

This should be based on the workout that you performed the last time and the goal should be to improve on the previous workout in some way so that you can achieve progressive overload.

You can achieve progressive overload by either increasing the weights, or the sets, reps, the frequency of training, or intensity of your workouts.

But the main idea is that with every workout you should try to improve on your previous workout.

And the easiest way you can do this is by keeping a workout journal where you track the number of sets and reps you performed, the weight you lifted, etc.

Most people do not maintain such a journal and make one of the most common workout mistakes of not tracking their progress in the gym.

And when you don’t track your progress, you don’t know whether you are progressing or need to change something and this will stall your muscle gains.

And maintaining a journal does not have to be complicated. There are many mobile apps available that can help you with that. Or you can even just use a simple notebook to track your progress.

Training to failure

I used to do this mistake as well.

The pleasure of feeling the pump pushes us to keep training to failure.

We don’t stop performing the reps till we can not lift anymore.

But this is a bad mistake that we make that can stall our muscle gains.

The problem is that when we train to failure constantly, we suffer from muscle fatigue early in our workout.

And this will not allow us to lift the maximum weight that we actually can because our muscles have already reached their limit.

Rather, we should be working out with fixed number of reps based on our beginner workout program that specifies exactly how many reps we should be performing for maximum strength and muscle gains.

This will also help our muscles to recover better before our next workout so that we can again focus with maximum intensity and not have muscle soreness affect our strength gains.

Always switching between workouts

One of the common workout mistakes people make is to keep switching between workouts and exercises quite frequently.

Some fitness experts claim that such frequent changing can cause muscle confusion that can help to build more muscle.

But there is not much scientific evidence to this claim.

Rather, you should focus on choosing a good workout program that you enjoy and then sticking to the workout and exercises long enough so that you can see significant progress in your lifts as well as your strength and muscle gains.

Only after you have used the workout and exercises for a significant period of time like say 90 days can you know whether it is working for you and whether you are enjoying it.

If it is working for you then you can continue using the workout and exercises without changing anything. If not then you can consider changing things up so that you can continue making progress.

Focusing on isolation exercises

One of the most common workout mistakes that people make is to focus on isolation exercises rather than compound exercises.

Isolation exercises are those that make use of a single joint and target a single muscle. Examples of isolation movements are bicep curls, triceps pushdowns, chest flys, etc.

Compound exercises are those that make use of multiple joints and focus on multiple muscle groups. Examples of compound movements are squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc.

Now, if you take advice from a steroid using body builder or most of the fitness magazines, they will tell you to focus on isolation exercises because as per them you should be targeting single muscle for growth.

While this works for people who are using steroids it is quite an inefficient way to build muscle for natural lifters like us.

The reason is that if you just use isolation exercises, you will have to spend a lot of time at the gym working out each of the muscle groups in the body.

This will lead to overtraining and burning out at the gym as we are natural and our body does not have the capacity to handle the stress.

Rather what works for us to build maximum muscle efficiently is to focus on heavy, compound movements that will help us target several muscle groups together with the maximum intensity possible in the shortest period of time in the gym.

Not resting between sets

Another mistake that beginners make when working out is to not rest between sets or keep a very short rest period.

Some people just rest for 30 seconds between sets of heavy, compound movements. While others do not rest and just continue with drop sets or super sets.

This is a big mistake because the main goal of us lifting heavy weights is to build strength and muscle. And to do that we need to progressively overload our muscles.

This means that each time we perform a set we need to allow our muscles to perform at their maximum levels.

And that can happen only when the muscles have recovered sufficiently by allowing them to rest for a good amount of time.

It has been seen that the best rest times for natural lifters when using heavy, compound movements is 2 to 3 minutes between sets.

This will allow your muscles to recover properly so that you can make the next set productive as well.

Not taking a break

A common mistake that many people make is that they keep on working out for months and months without taking a break.

The problem is that when we work out we are breaking down our muscles in addition to putting our joints and central nervous system under heavy stress.

If we don’t take a break then we will start suffering the symptoms of overtraining that can lead to poor progress in the gym, lack of motivation due to feeling tired, or worse suffering an injury.

To avoid this, it is always recommended to have a deload week every few weeks or intense training.

You can even just take a whole week off from the gym to allow your body to recover so that when you come back you are motivated, reenergized, and will make even better progress in the gym.


I hope you now know the top 7 common workout mistakes that most people make and suffer a loss in their muscle gains.

This will help you to avoid making these mistakes so that you are always in the best of mind, body, and spirit when you workout at the gym.

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