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7 Strength Training Habits That Are Destroying Your Body by 40

Avoiding these mistakes is vital if you want to age gracefully and reap the benefits of exercise.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Strength training is a vital component of staying strong, lean, and healthy as you age. While everyone should be doing some form of resistance training to improve their strength, you need to be careful that you follow the right guidelines. While strength training is fairly safe overall, it does have the potential to cause injury if you follow poor habits and do not perform exercises properly or follow the right methodology. Today, we'll walk you through seven strength training habits that destroy your body by 40 if you are not careful. Avoiding these mistakes is vital if you want to maximize your body's ability to age gracefully and reap the benefits of strength training without suffering the consequences associated with these bad habits.

Keep reading to learn about seven of the worst strength training habits that destroy your body by 40 so you know what to avoid. And next, be sure to check out 6 Popular Exercises That Totally Wreck Your Body.

You're neglecting warm-ups and cool-downs.

woman doing walking lunges uphill

A proper warm-up is vital to safely getting through your workouts and reaping the many benefits of resistance training. Not only does a warm-up improve your performance, but it also helps reduce your risk of injury when you lift weights. You don't need to spend 30 minutes warming up, either. Perform three to five minutes of brisk walking or similar aerobic activity, followed by 10 to 20 repetitions of dynamic exercises using the body part you are training.

For example, on lower-body days, consider five minutes of stair stepper work at a light intensity, then 10 repetitions of walking lunges, and 10 repetitions of slow bodyweight squats with your hands behind your head. For the upper body, try five minutes of brisk walking on the treadmill followed by 10 repetitions of downward dog to cobra pose and 10 repetitions of small and large standing arm circles.

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You're ignoring muscle imbalances.

woman doing foam rolling

All of us tend to perform repetitive activities throughout the day. Whether you work at a desk and spend a ton of time sitting, or you work a physical job that involves a lot of bending or overhead reaching, muscle imbalances are quite common. Your best bet is to foam roll and stretch the muscles you tend to use during your day job and put extra emphasis on strengthening the weaker muscles that do not get used as much during your day-to-day activities.

You're not thinking about flexibility.

woman stretching outdoors

Muscle imbalances or not, flexibility is a must for ensuring your body stays healthy and limber as you develop your strength. Include five to 10 minutes of stretching at the end of your workout. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds or longer. Additionally, be sure to use a full range of motion when performing your resistance exercises, or else your body will shorten the range of motion you can use while exerting functional strength.

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You're lifting too heavy.

muscular man lifting barbell at the gym, close-up

It might be tempting to load up the bar with as much weight as you think you can handle. However, this is a mistake if your goal is to prevent injury and ensure you can train safely and effectively over the long run. Instead, use a weight light enough that it leaves one or two "reps in reserve" after you complete your set, while also allowing you to perform each exercise with a full range of motion on every repetition. It's okay to not train to failure. You will still get stronger!

You're completely ignoring proper form.

fit man doing bench presses strength exercises

Whether you lift light or heavy, ignoring proper form is a major no-no for ensuring you remain injury-free. Common form errors on lower-body exercises include your knees and ankles caving inward and your lower back arching excessively during movements. Common upper-body form errors include shrugging shoulders and jutting the neck forward during pressing and rowing motions.

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You're working yourself way too hard.

man tired after workout, overtraining concept

While you may be tempted to lift every single day, the bottom line is that your body recovers and rebuilds while you rest—not while you work out. If you work out every day, you are not giving your body enough time to recover and will end up stalling or reversing gains and potentially risking injury. Be sure to take a rest day at least twice per week, and avoid training more than two days back to back.

You're doing the same workout over and over.

barbell back squat at the gym

The last of the worst strength training habits that destroy your body by 40 has to do with doing the same workout over and over. Whatever workout routine you follow, it's important to switch it up every six to eight weeks. Similar to repetitive motions, performing the same exact movements in the gym over and over, month after month, risks overuse. Furthermore, changing exercises mix up the stimulus to your muscles, which drives further gains in strength and muscle growth.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler