5 of the Dumbest Things I’ve Done in Training

By: Jonathan Byrd

We bounce around article ideas all the time, and being part of a tight knit group like ours allows for us to really be honest. Sometimes the honesty is brutal and hits home. Brian suggests, “Byrd write an article about the 5 dumbest things you have done in training.” Part of me wanted to be aggravated, but he is right, I have done a lot of dumb shit! The problem is I have done so much dumb stuff I am not sure I can limit it to just five! Let me be clear, most of this was when I was a young lifter. I really thought I knew much more than I did, and was even more hard headed than I am now. That in itself is a very bad combination, and one that I am trying to help you avoid!

1. I completely neglected warming up. I was young and strong, who needs to warm up. I would go from 135 to 405 in the bench in about a 5 minute time span. No blood flow, no core work, no nothing! Just a complete dumbass really, there is no way else to phrase that. This lead to countless small injuries until I finally blew my pec tendon completely off. You bet your ass I take my time warming up now!

2. Not enough rows! I did not do anywhere near enough upper back work early on in my lifting. There’s no real excuse other than I just never focused on it. It took years for it to catch up to me, but even now I am fighting that battle. With the men and women I coach now, back work is a big part of their training. I have been smart enough to learn from that mistake, and try to not let my clients make this same one!

3. I never cared about my diet. For the longest time I simply ate to get as heavy as I could to help me be stronger. In reality that was far from what I needed. I ate my way up to 323lbs and really never got that much stronger. Looking back I can see how dumb it was really, but at the time it seemed logical.

4. Accessory work! I was really lazy about my secondary work, and when I did do it, it was the same thing over and over. That is no way to address my weaknesses. It would have been one thing if I was weak at those movements, but I always picked things I was strongest at. I have come to the conclusion that you really need to do some of the movements you hate. It will suck for a bit, but it will improve your overall strength.

5. Insanely heavy curls! Yes, I had a whole day dedicated to just arm training. I guess I have always been a closet bodybuilder, bro, or whatever the hell you want to call me. It wasn’t having a day dedicated to it that was bad, but the fact that we went really heavy. We would do seated isolation curls with 70-80lbs and use a spot, WHAT THE FUCK! My old training partner, Matt Honeycutt will tell you, it is a miracle we didn’t blow apart a bicep. For this very reason today, I keep most of my curling to a high rep range. Going insanely heavy on an insolation movement for my arms was just dumb, in fact, it is beyond dumb. It served no purpose, didn’t make me any stronger and luckily it didn’t end my lifting.

There you have it, just 5 of the really dumb things I have done with my training. If by chance you are doing any of these things, STOP! Reevaluate what you are doing. Each movement, everything you do in the gym… it all has to serve a purpose. Most injuries, and stalled progress can be avoided if you just limit the dumb shit you do in the gym. Take it from me, I did a lot of dumb shit!

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Jonathan Byrd

Jonathan Byrd is a competitive powerlifter, with over 16 years of training experience. Byrd has been ranked nationally for the past 6 years under multiple categories. His total has ranked as high as second nationally in the 275 class. He currently has a best total of 2500lbs. Best individual lifts include a 1040lb squat, a 750lb bench press, and 735lb deadlift. His 1040lb squat ranks him 26th all-time squats at the 308 class. Jonathan currently trains out of Team Samson Gym in Jacksonville, FL. Before powerlifting Jonathan was a college athlete at Methodist University as both an all-conference football player and track athlete. Following graduation he played four years of arena football in various leagues.

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