3 Novice Lifting Pitfalls

1. “Junk Volume”

You’ll hear this term thrown around a lot but it’s unfortunately never very well explained.

“Junk volume” simply refers to any training for a given muscle group that has already been maximally stimulated. This means any additional training you do for the muscle group in question will have no training benefit and will only be hindering your ability to recover.

Beginner lifters can often get mixed up with junk volume because they are told “the more volume you do the bigger you’ll get” which IS true…up to a point.

To determine whether your training volume is sufficient consider checking out this video by Jeff Nippard on the subject.

2. Always Testing Never Training

Since you can generally make progress session to session or at the very least week to week when you are a beginner lifter, a bad habit is engrained very early on for most lifters.

They constantly want to hit a new PR every training session. While I wish I could tell you that you’d be able to PR every session for the rest of your life this simply isn’t the case once you hit the intermediate lifting stage.

Each training session isn’t going to be a max effort day. Instead you’re going to be a well planned out long term training program that works you up to new PR’s slowly overtime.

The sooner you can learn to play the long game the better. Don’t be the guy coming into the gym to max out every single training session, and learn how to intelligently design your training so you can continue to progress for years to come.

3. Program Hopping/Coach Hopping

There’s a fair bit of #trusttheprocess that comes with the territory of any lifting related endeavor.

Meaning, you’re probably not going to truly know whether something is truly working for you or not, until you are already months into the process.

Particularly impatient lifters will try a new training program, or a hire a new strength coach out for all of two weeks and decide “it’s not working”, only to hop to a new program/coach the very next week.

This is guaranteed to get you nowhere fast. While it can be a pain, you need to run programs all the way through and collect as much data as possible to determine whether or not something “works”. That means approximately 3 or so months of putting your head down and just training before you come to any snap decisions.


Matt Molloy

Matt Molloy

I'm a graduate the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Exercise Science. I’m a local guy (North Penn) and athletics has dominated my life. I've led teams in basketball, baseball, soccer, golf and my passion, long distance running. I've been strength training for 6 years with a focus in power-lifting but have recently stretched to strongman since joining the pride here at the Den. When I’m not in the gym I enjoy, spending time with my friends, music, and relaxing and playing some video games.