10 Muscle Building Mistakes! A Great Guide (2024)

Muscle Building Mistakes: Building muscle is absolutely essential for us guys. In fact, muscle hypertrophy is the topmost motivation for us to dive into the world of weightlifting.

Hence, it becomes imperative to dedicate sufficient time to ensure we’re doing it correctly. Otherwise, we run the risk of squandering our precious time and energy, merely going around in circles, without experiencing any substantial progress or witnessing noticeable gains in our muscle mass.

10 Muscle Building Mistakes You Should Avoid

10 Muscle Building Mistakes You Should Avoid Review-Itis
10 Muscle Building Mistakes You Should Avoid

Mistake 1 – You Don’t Eat Enough:

You Don’t Eat Enough Review-Itis
You Don’t Eat Enough

Your body demands the essential “fuel” it craves to facilitate the synthesis of fresh muscle tissue – there’s simply no escaping this fact.

To put it plainly, you must consume a surplus of calories exceeding what your body needs to maintain its current weight. Reflect on this: your body cannot magically conjure up new muscle out of thin air. The food you ingest serves as literal energy for your body. Constructing new tissue, whether it’s muscle or fat, necessitates an excess of energy. In the following discussion, we’ll delve into how you can ensure that this surplus energy is utilized for muscle growth rather than fat storage.

If you find it challenging to gain weight, begin by incorporating these weight-gain strategies into your routine.

Mistake 2 – You Don’t Lift Heavy:

You Don’t Lift Heavy Review-Itis
You Don’t Lift Heavy

It’s absolutely crucial to lift weights that truly challenge your strength level if you want to give your body a valid reason to embark on the muscle-building journey.

Simply hitting the gym and repetitively bench pressing a stagnant 135 pounds for 3 sets of 8 won’t cut it. You need to provide your body with the necessary stimulus to synthesize fresh muscle tissue. This can be achieved by progressively lifting heavier weights, progressively creating an internal “demand” for increased muscle mass. This is precisely what ensures that the weight you gain through consuming additional calories is predominantly muscle rather than fat.

If you need clarification about how to enhance your strength, begin by implementing this fundamental progression strategy.

Mistake 3 – You Don’t Do THESE Exercises:

You Don’t Do THESE Exercises Review-Itis
You Don’t Do THESE Exercises

When it comes to achieving a particular goal, there are numerous approaches one can take. However, it’s essential to note that some methods are bound to be more effective than others.

Your objective should be to engage in exercises that enable you to handle the heaviest weights possible. By doing so, you can effectively challenge your body’s limits and deliver the crucial stimulus required to initiate the development of new muscle mass. Generally, these exercises revolve around foundational, compound movements that have gained considerable attention. To kickstart your journey, begin incorporating these exercises into your routine:

  1. Barbell back squat
  2. Barbell deadlift
  3. Barbell bench press
  4. Barbell overhead press
  5. Barbell bent over row
  6. Weighted pull-up

Note: It’s crucial to understand that prioritizing the mentioned exercises doesn’t imply excluding others for your arms, shoulders, and abs. However, your primary focus should be directed to the aforementioned exercises. When you witness progress and strength gains in these movements, rest assured that your body’s major muscle groups will experience growth.

Mistake 4 – You Try to Confuse Your Muscles:

You Try to Confuse Your Muscles Review-Itis
You Try to Confuse Your Muscles

You’ve come across the concept of ‘muscle confusion’ at some point, perhaps through a TV infomercial (hint, hint).

Essentially, this notion promotes the idea of constantly altering your workout routine in an attempt to ‘confuse’ your muscles and provoke growth. However, let me be clear: this is nothing but pseudo-science. Your muscles do not possess brains within them; they do not experience confusion.

Instead, it’s far more beneficial to stick with foundational exercises like the ones mentioned above and focus on progressively getting stronger in a select few movements. This approach allows you to concentrate fully on exercises that yield the greatest impact on your growth and provide the most effective results.

Mistake 5 – You ‘Hop’ Routines:

You ‘Hop’ Routines Review-Itis
You ‘Hop’ Routines

Just as it’s unwise to follow a constantly changing exercise routine to ” confuse” your muscles, it’s equally unwise to frequently alter the routine itself.

A good routine requires time to yield results. By constantly hopping from one routine to another, you not only do yourself a disservice but also undermine the very foundations of the routine and muscle growth as a whole. Your tendency to quickly lose interest prevents you from fully benefiting from the routine, as you essentially short-circuit its potential.

Aiming for a minimum of three months is highly recommended when testing out a new routine. This timeframe allows you to settle into the routine, maximize any neural adaptations that occur, and genuinely experience significant gains in strength and muscle growth.

Note: Neural adaptations refer to the strength gains resulting from performing new exercises (or performing familiar exercises in different rep ranges) as a result of your nervous system becoming more efficient in executing the movements. This is distinct from actual muscle growth, which enables you to lift heavier weights due to increased muscle size.

Mistake 6 – You Expect Instant Results:

You Expect Instant Results Review-Itis
You Expect Instant Results

Let’s be clear: muscle hypertrophy is a process that unfolds over months and years, not mere days and weeks.

Certainly, if you’re new to weightlifting and possess limited muscle mass, you may witness relatively faster gains. However, even in such cases, overnight transformations are unrealistic. Setting unrealistic expectations, like aspiring to transform from an average-sized individual into the Hulk within a single summer, only sets you up for disappointment and failure. These outcomes often lead to giving up altogether, which ultimately hinders any substantial muscle growth.

Every impressive physique you encounter at the gym or on the beach is the product of consistent training and nourishment over the course of many years. To attain the bulging chest, robust shoulders, sculpted arms, and defined abs, you desire, you must integrate strength training into your lifestyle and learn to derive pleasure from it. This way, you’ll stay committed long enough to achieve your envisioned physique.

Mistake 7 – You Don’t Track Your Progress:

You Don’t Track Your Progress Review-Itis
You Don’t Track Your Progress

Undoubtedly, increasing strength plays a pivotal role in muscle hypertrophy. Now, the million-dollar question arises: How can you ensure genuine progress in strength?

The answer is crystal clear: You must track your progress. Regardless of your routine, it’s essential to meticulously record the number of sets and reps performed for each exercise. Additionally, note down the specific weight utilized in every set.

Only with this information can you determine the weight to lift during your next session, ensuring continuous strength gains. Through this data, you can truly ascertain your progress and confirm that you are becoming stronger. Unfortunately, most individuals neglect this crucial step. Consequently, many find themselves in the same spot at the gym three years down the line; still, bench pressing the same 135 pounds as they did today… and looking remarkably similar in appearance.

Mistake 8 – You Do Too Much Cardio:

You Do Too Much Cardio Review-Itis
You Do Too Much Cardio

When it comes to muscle building, the topic of cardio tends to ignite debate. Some view it as the nemesis of hypertrophy, while others argue it’s essential for maintaining heart health and minimizing fat gain during the weight gain phases.

As is often the case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Cardio can impede muscle growth since it burns calories. If you struggle to gain weight (commonly known as a ‘hard-gainer’), this directly opposes your efforts to increase body mass. As we’ve discussed earlier, weight gain is crucial for synthesizing new muscle tissue.

However, completely excluding cardio from your routine can be detrimental to your heart health. Depending on the intensity of your weightlifting regimen, you may already be engaging your cardio-respiratory system sufficiently. Yet, abstaining from any form of cardio puts you at risk of inadequate cardiovascular exercise.

To strike a balance, it’s generally advisable to incorporate one day of cardio per week into your training regimen if your primary focus is gaining mass. This way, you prioritize your heart health without compromising your weight gain efforts by burning excessive calories.

Mistake 9 – You Have Poor Form:

You Have Poor Form Review-Itis
You Have Poor Form

Lifting weights with improper form poses numerous hazards, but the greatest peril undoubtedly lies in the risk of injury. If you end up getting hurt, your weightlifting endeavors will be put on hold for a considerable duration, leaving your muscle-building aspirations in the dust.

Regrettably, this reality fails to motivate most individuals, particularly men, to pause and reassess their technique. So, let’s consider this: although it’s possible to still amass a considerable amount of muscle using the subpar form, it’s far less efficient than mastering proper form.

This holds true for two primary reasons:

  • Firstly, the proper form enables the recruitment of your targeted muscle groups more effectively. Instead of relying on haphazard movements that strain your bones and joints (think of executing a deadlift with a rounded back), you’ll rely on your actual muscles to carry out the work. This enhanced muscle activation triggers a greater surge in muscle protein synthesis, ultimately fostering more substantial muscle growth.
  •  Secondly, employing improper form significantly heightens the likelihood of encountering strength plateaus. This occurs due to underlying compensations within your body when executing movements with flawed form (such as excessive forward lean during a squat, which shifts the workload from your quads, hamstrings, and glutes to your spinal erectors). When you reach a strength plateau, you’ll be unable to provide your body with the necessary stimulus to synthesize new muscle tissue. Consequently, your hypertrophy goals will be undermined once again.

Mistake 10 – You Rely on Supplements:

You Rely on Supplements Review-Itis
You Rely on Supplements

The supplement industry has ballooned into a mammoth-sized entity. It’s no wonder it’s effortless to become ensnared in their all-encompassing marketing campaigns and develop a reliance on supplements. While a handful of supplements have demonstrated effectiveness, 99 percent of them are nothing more than pure BS.

The issue arises when you convince yourself that you must consume a concoction of X, Y, and Z supplements to achieve muscle growth and witness progress. In doing so, you sell yourself short. It is unnecessary to rely on supplements for building muscle, and it distracts you from focusing on the fundamental aspects of your diet and training regimen; instead of laser-focusing on surpassing your personal record while at the gym, you find yourself seated on the bench, engulfed in the caffeine rush of your pre-workout drink, sipping on your intra-workout concoction, and fixating on your post-workout shake.

Consequently, you need to push your boundaries within the gym. You need to improve in attaining dietary excellence outside the gym. As a result, your aspirations of developing significant muscle mass are thwarted.


Understanding and avoiding common muscle-building mistakes is paramount on your journey to achieving the gains you desire. By being aware of these pitfalls and taking proactive steps to rectify them, you can optimize your efforts and pave the way for success.

 Remember, building muscle is a gradual process that requires consistency, dedication, and a smart approach. By implementing the right strategies, staying focused on proper nutrition and training, and maintaining a positive mindset, you can overcome these common mistakes and propel yourself toward your ultimate fitness goals.

 So, equip yourself with knowledge, stay committed, and let your determination drive your transformative journey. Here’s to building the strong, sculpted physique you’ve always dreamed of!


Can I still build muscle if I make some of these muscle-building mistakes?

Absolutely! You can make progress without making a few muscle-building mistakes. However, addressing and correcting these mistakes is important to optimize your results.

You can continue building muscle effectively by learning from these common pitfalls, adjusting your approach, and implementing proper techniques.

How do I know if I’m making any of these muscle-building mistakes?

Recognizing muscle-building mistakes can sometimes be challenging, especially if you’re new to fitness. Educating yourself about proper training, nutrition, and recovery techniques is crucial.

By staying informed and seeking guidance from reliable sources, such as this guide, you’ll gain valuable insights into common mistakes and be able to assess your own approach.

Are these muscle-building mistakes only applicable to beginners? 

No, these muscle-building mistakes can affect individuals at any fitness level. While beginners might be more prone to certain errors due to lack of experience, even seasoned lifters can fall into common traps.

It’s important for everyone, regardless of experience, to be aware of these mistakes and continually refine their approach to ensure ongoing progress.

Can I still achieve my muscle-building goals if I’ve been making these mistakes for a while? 

Yes, you can still achieve your muscle-building goals even if you’ve made these mistakes in the past. The key is identifying where you may have gone wrong, making necessary adjustments, and adopting a more effective approach moving forward.

Consistency, proper training, nutrition, and recovery methods will all contribute to your success, regardless of any previous missteps.

Should I be concerned if I’ve been unknowingly making these muscle-building mistakes for some time? 

It’s understandable to feel concerned if you’ve unknowingly been making these muscle-building mistakes. However, the important thing is that you’re now aware of them and can take action to correct them.

By implementing the right strategies and focusing on proper form, nutrition, and training techniques, you can overcome setbacks and progress significantly toward your muscle-building goals.

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