Dumb Training Mistakes That You Know Are Wrong But Keep Doing

Sometimes we can be calculated, sometimes we fall into bad habits. Sometimes we keep doing something in our training even though we know we don’t need to or probably shouldn’t.

I thought it’d be cool to maybe list a few of these we make and maybe even offer little tips to help people avoid certain things, or even tell them that it’s not as dumb as they think, I don’t know, just see how it goes I guess because “dumb training mistakes” could be quite a wide net.

I’ll start off with 3 that have bothered me recently.

Getting distracted and losing set count
This doesn’t happen often but it’s always a risk if I’m going 5 sets or higher. I did Overhead Press today, got into some great conversations with an acquaintance there and have no idea whether I did my 5 prescribed sets or just the 4. I usually wait until after my session to update my log so foolishly lose count at times. Should have learned my lesson by now.

Missing fully expected reps and then adding another set to make up for it
This is another infrequent one, and luckily I only do this with assistance exercises. As long as the overall volume in the block has increased I don’t worry about it too much - definitely something I try to avoid though but in the moment I can’t let missed reps go. Usually happens when I’ve had a stressful couple of days, lack of sleep or whatever and I try to force progress.

Overdoing it with grip training
I have no massive requirement to have great grip strength, and I’m one of those that held off on straps for longer than I should have. 3-4x a week I end up doing either 2-3 sets of deadhangs or some sort of loaded carry. With all the other grip work I do in my workouts (weighted chins etc) I’m pretty sure it’s overkill and the more I read about heavy hand work being so neurologically demanding, the dumber I feel for trying to train it every session.


I had a hard time not doing unplanned max effort lifts. There’s something about walking up to the deadlift platform and going heavier than I should that really gets my goat.

I do the same for squats too.

Ironically I don’t ego lift during bench press - perhaps because my bench is shit :sweat_smile:


I don’t think the first two things you mentioned are really mistakes in the first place, particularly for an intermediate to advanced lifter. That’s just having a bit of flexibility within a given workout. It won’t negatively affect outcomes.

The third is not something I’ve ever done, but that can definitely be an issue. I personally minimize grip training, and save my grip for when I really need it. I do all my deadlift training with straps, and only tax my grip on things like farmers walks, where I can’t use grip in competition. That being said, I already have a very strong grip, so I don’t NEED to train it in the first place.

I’m personally guilty of going for 1rm ‘testing’ today often. I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but this used to really hinder my progress. When I was first approaching a 315 bench, I was attempting it every session, and incidentally never got there (at the time). I ended up having to back off, and a year or so later hit that mark.


I would suppose a mistake I made throughout my lifting decades was that I never kept a log. It just seemed too much like work. Doing the Surge Challenge is the first time “trying” to keep a log.


This topic is right up my alley! I’m a pro in the dumb-mistakes department.

Good call on becoming more aware of unnecessary grip work!

I did a lot of grip-intensive stuff (loaded carries, fat bar exercises) and ended up with burning pain that traveled from wrist to elbow. It lasted about a year and really messed with my training. I can’t use a fat grip on anything anymore. So hopefully you’re not getting any negative feedback from your body like that!

Most Recent Dumb Training Mistake

I got hooked on the feeling of metabolic conditioning. Christian Thibaudeau calls people like that, “stimulant junkies” and it rings true in this case.

I loved to feel breathless during every workout and take super short rest periods because it was FUN and my physique responded to it really well.

But unfortunately training this way – for years – caused some kind of a chronic inflammatory response in my lungs. And as a result I’m now basically “allergic” to anything remotely close to cardio. I can’t even superset exercises.

There’s a forum on it in here somewhere in here. Yes, I went to a doctor and got tested for everything. But ultimately her best guesses were pleurisy, asthma, or allergies.

So I just lift with normal rest periods now… and it’s alright! The longer I go without cardio or metcon, the better my lungs feel. So I’m pretty sure I brought this on myself.


I feel like most of my mistakes are mistakes of omission, e.g., I skip single-leg work way too frequently.


Me too. :grimacing:

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Really interesting what you say about the grip training and wrist to elbow pain. It’s not an issue for me as such but a couple of times on my last rep or two of deadlifts I’ve felt a weirdness from my wrist to elbow in my right arm. I was thinking maybe it’s just one of those things “a necessary deload should happen soon!” but my excess of grip training may be the problem! Thanks as you may have inspired me to make one of my dumb mistakes less and save me the hassle of going through what you did!

In response to everyone else, I think that “1RMing” too much will be relatable for everyone. I know i’ve certainly done it… mostly on bench and deadlift. Deadlift day for the longest time was “work up to 1 rep max”.

With single-leg work I rarely actually see anyone do it unless they have a dedicated leg day, and even then it’s few and far between.

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I am the champion of bar misloads when training at 0400.


Training too heavy.
Always taking every set to failure.
Going hard in grappling even tho i know my elbows will hurt the whole week and ruin lots of my fun feeling in the gym.

Being easily led by the efforts or results of others. For me this refers mostly to conditioning work and it is usually me seeing something horrible that @T3hPwnisher or someone else is doing and thinking sure I can do that. Only to find out time and time again that it kicks me square in the ar$e. But I keep doing it and I keep doing it on purpose because sometimes doing things that aren’t good for you is good for you!


Always taking every set to failure

This kind of ties in with what I say about adding a set when I don’t make my programmed reps. Usually it’s just on accessories, I want and expect 8, 8, 8 but get 8, 7 (failure), 7 (failure). I add another set maybe doing just the 2 reps I missed with the same weight within 30seconds, rest longer and get another set of 6 or 7, or reduce the weight a little and get the full 8. On something like cable rows though, if I know I’m gonna fail I’ll sometimes cheat to get the rep but I don’t feel too terrible about that as I still seem to move in the right direction.

With grip training, what do people actually deem as too much? Do I even need it with weighted chins, cables rows, deadlift warm-up sets, and the rest of the average program stuff? Maybe 2 sets of deadhangs (paired in with leg raises) one day and then just one set of kettlebell carries for as far as I can go on another, other 2 days none at all (other than regular program).

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Letting minor injuries turn into major ones.

Every serious injury I’ve had in the gym has had warning signs that I ignored. Usually, it’s because I’ve had a competition coming up, and I’ve just said 'i will deal with this later. Sometimes that’s worked out, but more often it has not.


Still doing (some) sets til eyeballs-out failure, because I thought it was the right way to train, “with a gun held at your head”. LOL

At 48, still doing excercises not feeling right for me, because they supposedly are considered good (military press for example). During a recent strength phase I took this too far, and ended up with a (fortunately) mild impingement.

At 48, still having the mindset of becoming as big as I naturally can, not accepting reality where more important priorities in life mean much more, as well as genetics (and age) dictating the rules.

I often question whether life would be much simpler if I hadn’t been sucked up in the meathead philosophy?


My mistakes are that I can’t stick to any particular program. I get bored very quickly and often my desires change. I have even written on this subject. I train as I like. Once it will be a Full Body, another time PPL, then 5/3/1, which I did at most 3-4 cycles, then 10x1, 8x3, 3x10 and so on. I have been training with the same weights for several years and I don’t care at all.
But because I’m older, I tell myself that the most important thing is to be physically active with weights and to be in better health. I don’t care if I can Squat with a lot of weight, for example. I can barely Squat my own weight. The Bench Press and the Rows are stronger than Squats.


This is a cool thread. I know I go to failure too much. On the other hand, I’d rather at least err toward working too hard… so it’s a mistake but the lesser of evils (maybe?).

I definitely am one of the folks that “tests” too much and, in turn, never gets stronger.


Checking my work emails before I lift. That always screws me up.

Not doing calf work. Where I have torn both mine they have to stay stretched out or my plantar facititashit flares up.

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Consider pulmonary fibrosis?

•Not getting enough water. Sometimes I will bring just one bottle, go through it, and just won’t be bothered to hit up the fountain even though my mouth is beginning to seal itself just from being so dry. One day I just couldn’t pin point what was wrong. Drank two bottles of water, laid on the floor for 15 mins, and then blasted through the rest of my training.

•Grinding reps out. Sometimes I can use that to progress further, but most of the time it means I’m either fatigued, or moving stuff that’s too heavy for me.

•Going all in straight out of a deload

•Relying too heavily on my belt, and relying too heavily on my wraps (which I just started using, but will more than likely do it anyways). If I’m doing a work up or anything sub max where I can achieve overall tightness even in my weak areas, there’s no need for me to have my belt on.

•Training on a full stomach

•neglecting pre/re-hab work and slowly getting stiff as a board over the months

•Overuse of caffeine. When I was running Westside I remember maxing out one day, and I guess doing that, coupled with the insane amount of caffeine I consumed that day, left me trembling all afternoon until I took one of my husband’s Ambien and passed out. Woke up the next next day and thought I had been asleep for a week.


That’s got to be a little terrifying

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