When I first began going to the gym and lifting weights, what held me back the most were the following three things:
1) I was reading muscle magazines like Flex, Muscle & Fitness, Iron Man, Muscular Development, and Musclemag International. All of those were espousing nonsense that was totally unproductive for me. I haven't read them since 2004 or 2005, but if they're anything like how they were back then, beginners should avoid those (and similar) publications like the plague.
2) Another early hindrance to my success in strength training was not doing squats consistently, every week, and then doing very shallow squats for a few years. It was only when I started doing squats on a regular basis and going deep (hip below knee) that I really made leaps & bounds in both my strength and physique. My advice regarding squats is that if you think you're going deep enough, GO DEEPER.
3) Lastly, as everyone who knows my infamous lifting history is aware, my deadlift technique was beyond atrocious because I was extremely overambitious. This caused me to hitch/ramp all of my deadlifts for a few years, significantly delaying my goals of getting bigger and stronger, while also greatly increasing the chance of catastrophic injury. Luckily for me, I escaped mostly unscathed, but the same can't be said for the vast majority of novice lifters if their ego makes them constantly attempt weights that they're not ready to lift. I'm not telling newbies to avoid heavy weights and personal records; I'm saying that they should progressively lift heavier, but those heavier weights must still allow them to utilize decent (not necessarily perfect) form.
Last edited by DieselWeasel; 03-29-2012 at 03:59 PM.