Every new rookie to weight training is usually well-intentioned, overly excited and ready to get to the gym to start adding muscle immediately!! They have their stack of hard-core muscle magazines, with at least 30 different workout routines of the professional bodybuilders.

Actually, I just realized that at the age of 17, I was one of those overly-excited rookies!  Of course, we all started with the “vanity muscles”. Twenty sets of biceps was a great way to begin. After biceps were completely obliterated,  the chest muscles had to be worked, to avoid looking like a wimp at the gym. The bench press bar was loaded with as many plates on each side as possible. All eyes at the gym were subtly watching anyone doing the bench press. The rookies would grunt, yell, and grab the bar carelessly and put out what they thought, was a lift worthy of all others to respect! The form was always horrible and dangerous. After another 20 sets of horrible, dangerous presses, the rookies would feel as if they proved that they could “hang” with all the other “wanna-be,” juiced jocks, at the gym.

After months of this type of absurdly, dangerous over training, (of course, only the pecs and biceps were trained), all of the rookies would feel that they were now ready to train with the big boys. In the meantime, nobody was willing to admit that the pain from doing way too many sets, especially with bad form, had taken all the strength and energy out of the entire body. The chest and biceps actually had some mass and shape, but the constant pain would remain. Legs were completely neglected, and every rookie had ” pencil leg” syndrome. No one, including me, wants to admit that every man who has trained with weights, has been in this exact scenario. Unfortunately, rookies are not the only people still caught in this scenario. The majority of men that I see in the gym, are still stuck in this endless cycle of over training, with limited results.

To avoid getting into the above situation, or getting out of this situation, I will give you some training mistakes to avoid. I have learned , and made ALL of these mistakes myself.

All of us want to look great, while still adding some good lean muscle mass–without over training. It has taken me 20 years to achieve the level of mass that I wanted, but I have done it without anabolics, and without any injuries! Below, is my list of ten, terrible, training tragedies to terminate.

1. You shouldn’t follow any workout that is supposedly used by any professional bodybuilder. The majority of these workouts are not even used by these bodybuilders, and even if they are–these are professionals with years of experience and pharmaceutical assistance.

2. You never need more than 5 sets, TOTAL, of any muscle group, to achieve good, lean mass. Any more than 5 sets, is counter-productive, and can lead to over training.

3.  The entire body needs to be trained. This means that neglecting legs, will lead to less results and embarrassment at the pool or beach.

4. To avoid pencil leg syndrome, squats are the best leg exercise, as well as the best overall mass builder, for the entire body! Stop doing all those endless sets of leg curls and leg extensions. Three sets of squats will always beat 10-20 sets of any other leg exercises!

5. You don’t need to workout for more than one hour at each workout. The body’s testosterone levels start to drop after 45 minutes of weight training. More importantly, optimal recovery from each workout will be enhanced with shorter workouts.

6. For optimum mass and recovery, you should not workout with weights for more than four days per week. More than four days per week, will eventually lead to over training.

7. Stop trying to be a hero at the gym. I have never needed to lift over 200lbs. for any exercise, to get fantastic results. Less weight, with great form, always beats bad form with heavy weight!

8. Make sure to be well hydrated before every workout. This may seem obvious, but most people are not consistent with this element of training. Proper hydration will lead to better strength, and will keep you from passing out after those three sets of squats!

9. Compound (barbell) exercises will always be the best exercises for mass! You need dumbbell exercises, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that you will add more healthy mass with light dumbbell training.

10. You don’t need to run for hours on the treadmill! If you are trying to add muscle mass, too much time on the treadmill will limit your results. This is because the body is trying to recover from two types of training at the same time. A ten minute warm-up and 10 minute cool- down, on the treadmill, is sufficient.

These are the most common training mistakes that are made, when trying to add lean, healthy muscle mass. There are many more mistakes that are made, but that will be for a future article. If you stop making the mistakes above, you will start to see better gains within just a few weeks. Be patient–it takes about 90 days to achieve a total physique transformation. For those of you that are still a little hesitant, or totally against making the above changes, go back to the scale and weigh yourself, then ponder why you sill aren’t getting any bigger!

[box type=”note”]If you still are not convinced that you need to stop making these mistakes, go to the pool or beach and see what kind of quiet reaction you get!! Until next time, train hard, but train smart!!![/box]



Dushawn co- founded breaksconnection.com with Grant Warren in September, 2010. Dushawn has worked in the fitness, and fitness supplement industry since 2001. He worked with industry leading product formulator and developer, Dr. Charles Mesko N.D., in research and development, and has consulted with two other major supplement companies on how to properly formulate products. Dushawn has spent the last two decades designing workout training programs for health care personnel. He has also trained MMA fighters, football players and all other types of people that require adding healthy, lean, muscle mass. Dushawn is passionate about sharing his decades of research, training and results producing training regimens, to help as many people as possible. Dushawn is also currently a PhD candidate in Natural Medicine. He is looking forward to the opportunity to use the B.R.E.A.K.S. training philosophy to continue his passion for helping others transform their physique. Dushawn currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.


  • November 10, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Great article – and inspiring. I would even stress MORE the point concerning overtraining. This one is by far the biggest mistake, and impedes progress more than the rest of the mistakes combined. If people knew how much progress was lost due to those 20 sets per body part, they would weep grievously. I think all of us older guys have all learned the hard way with regard to overtraining – over and over again ;-)

  • November 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Excellent article Dushawn. I cannot believe that no-one has commented on it. It is exactly this type of basic advice that is most needed. Preach it brother!


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