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Biggest Dumbbell Mistake Killing Your Gains!

Everyone Does It!

Posted by Scott_Herman - May 16th, 2018

Today I want to talk to you about the number one dumbbell training mistake that’s killing your gains. This is more of a ‘common sense’ type of video, as you will see later on with the mistake, but to be honest I feel like a lot of people don’t cover topics like this because of how simple they are, but at the end of the day this is something that even I do from time to time. I know that if I’m doing it, there’s a good majority of you reading this that are doing it as well. But I’m going to help you correct it so that every one of us can see MUCH BIGGER gains!

Before getting into the mistake, there is another article/video I made called ‘Why 3 Sets Per Exercise Is Killing Your Gains!’, which has a lot of really great information, so I want you to make sure that you check that out after reading this article, because they both can relate to each other.

What Is The Biggest Dumbbell Mistake?

This mistake can be made with any exercise, but I’m going to cover it by demonstrating a dumbbell bicep curl. It can be applied to barbell exercises too, I just see it more commonly with dumbbells, which is why it’s a dumbbell mistake. Imagine if you were doing your sets, and you had 50lb dumbbells and were aiming for sets of 8, you would start curling. Chances are, by the time you get to your second or third set, you’re not going to be able to get 8 repetitions per side. Let’s say you get to your third set, and on the fifth rep you can barely get the dumbbell up, so you can’t do any more with that weight. You would then put the dumbbells down, go over to the rack, grab some lighter dumbbells, and finish the 3 repetitions per side to finish up your 8 (because you always need to make sure you’re finishing up your sets, because you need to get all that volume in).

The mistake I see here, is that most people, as soon as they go down in dumbbells, they then stick with the lighter dumbbells and put the heavier ones away. This is because mentally, they weren’t able to get all 8 repetitions in their set, but they know they have to get 8 – 10 repetitions per set, so they put the 50lb dumbbells away and stick with the 40lb dumbbells instead. This happens for a few different reasons. Number one is that you want to make sure you get all your repetitions in without having to stop. Number two is that if you’re training in a busy gym, you don’t want to be a dumbbell whore, so you put the dumbbells back to be nice so other people can use them.

How Can I Fix It?

There seems to be a misconception that you HAVE to do all of your repetitions in a row in order for a set to be complete, and that’s not true. If you were doing 50lb dumbbells for your curls, and you got to 5 repetitions before having to put them down and grab 40lb dumbbells to complete your set, that means on your next set, you should still start with those 50s. Even if you pick up those 50lb dumbbells, and now you’re only able to get 4 repetitions on your own, before having to put them down, grab the 40s, and do your last 4 repetitions to complete your set, that’s OK.

You have to remember that you still need to be overloading as much as possible in order to see growth no matter what muscle group you’re training. So in your current workout program, how many times have you lowered the weight, but then never bought it back up to get as many reps as you can before lowering it again? Most of us just lower it once, and then for the rest of the workout, we stick to the weight we lowered it to. The biggest mistake training with dumbbells that’s killing your gains, is that you’re lowering the weight (which is fine, lowering the weight is OK, and stopping to lower the weight to get better reps in is OK), but you’re then never going back up to increase the intensity. You have to always make sure you’re pushing yourself.


Also, as you have probably seen from my Cheat & Recover program, if you’re going for reps and you get stuck but you don’t want to use lower weights, or maybe someone else has the weights you want, if you’re doing an exercise like dumbbell curls, just use a little momentum, and then correct your form and focus on the negative for the last couple of reps in your set, because that’s OK too, so you have options! Always be pushing yourself, always be increasing the intensity, and always lift the max weight every single time you train. If you have to lower the weight, that’s fine, just make sure that when you get to the next set, you raise it back up.

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These normal errors could be genuinely impeding your increases. beyond any doubt you don't capitulate to these regular oversights that can wreck your exercises and execute your advance So break out the barbell and play out the huge lifts.
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