10 mistakes many athletes make in the weight room

By Joe Frollo | Posted 2/28/2018

Football season is still months away, but athletes are working hard in the weight room to get ready for the fall.

Sometimes, though, players work too hard or inefficiently, leading to injuries or other setbacks to the offseason.

On Stack.com, strength coach Tony Bonvechio shared 10 errors many high school athletes make in training:

1. Skipping warmups

Stretching and warmups improve mobility and flexibility, and decrease the chance for injury. A proper warmup also raises the body’s core temperature and mobilizes and stabilizes joints. Take 10 minutes to get loose.

2. Too many isolation exercises

Football requires a wide variety of body movements, so why spend all your time on one body part? Big arms look impressive, but pick multi-joint strength exercises such as squats, deadlifts, push-ups, jumps, sprints and throws to build explosiveness instead.

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3. Never de-loading

Nothing leads to injury like pushing to the brink of exhaustion. Every once in a while, take a step back to take two steps forward. Take a week-long de-load every four to eight weeks to recharge your mind and body.

4. Training to failure

Workouts should build you up, not break you down. Leave one or two good reps in the tank at the end of each set to assist with recovery while still making progress.

5. Wearing the wrong shoes

Do you wear running shoes to squat or deadlift? Those soles are designed to cushion impact while jogging. When lifting heavy weight, you want a solid heel to produce force into the ground. Squishy shoes reduce stability and limit force from the legs.

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6. Sacrificing form for weight

Big weights may impress your buddies, but it’s doing little to help you on the field. And maxing out often leads to shortcuts in form, which in turn leads to injury. Don’t lose your offseason to a bad back because of ego.

7. Too much cardio

Football is about short sprints, so why spend hours running long distances? Cardiovascular endurance is important, but sport-specific endurance should take precedence and make up the bulk of conditioning.

8. Not enough cardio

Avoiding cardio totally is also a bad idea. Cardio helps in recovery because it drives oxygen through your body, so whether you jog, bike or something else, get that heart rate going in balance with weight lifting.

9. Neglecting unilateral exercises

Football is about sprinting, jumping, throwing, swinging and putting the body in unique positions that require limbs to act independently, so use single-leg and single-arm exercises in the weight room. Lunges and rows can help with this.

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10. Constantly checking your phone

Coaches don’t let you bring your phone to the practice field, so don’t fidget with it in the weight room, either. Distractions mean a lack of focus. Set your playlist, turn off the ringer and get to work.

This is an updated version of a blog that originally published March 29, 2016.