How to Avoid Weight Lifting Fatigue

June 25th 2019


A person dedicated to physical fitness is just that- dedicated. Sometimes this means training multiple days in a row to meet goals. However, many high-powered gym goers and weight lifters alike can suffer extreme fatigue during and after sessions. Being tired during weight lifting training can be hard to overcome, but here we’ll give some helpful tips on how to fight back against fatigue!

Why do I feel tired during resistance training?

Under-recovery, not enough sleep, dehydration and overuse injuries are several ways or combinations of reasons why you are feeling exhausted during resistance training. In order to best combat fatigue, making sure to prioritize your health by taking steps toward promoting recovery, such as managing inflammation, getting blood work done, and by constantly moving are several strategies you can use.


The problem is that it can be hard to achieve a full and satisfying workout if you become tired during your workout. The causes of this can vary. You may be feeling tired during your workout because of: 


  • “Overtraining”/ Under-recovery 


While it can be tempting to do high-difficulty workouts every day, rest is important. It gives your muscles time to rest and recover before the next big training session. Training for consecutive days in a row can cause you to be overly tired during your sessions. The strain that overtraining puts on your body, as well as the toll it can take on your immune system, is not healthy. This is especially true if you are using heavy weights for all your workouts. 


  • Not Enough Sleep. 


The Active Times (1) lists lack of sleep as one of the most common reasons that weight trainers can feel tired during their workouts. Without enough sleep, your body hasn’t had time to properly recover. This can lead to being lethargic or sluggish during workouts, which of course, can make getting through a full workout much harder! According to (2) resting is vital to getting the most out of your workouts and is often the most overlooked of the tenants of weight lifting. 

If you are only getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night, you may want to rethink your entire strategy with building muscle. If you want the best results from the gym, treat it like a full-time job.


  • Dehydration. 


Proper hydration is essential all day long, not just during workouts. By drinking water during your day, and drinking replenishing sports drinks during exercise, you can prevent dehydration, electrolyte loss, and in the same way, prevent fatigue during weightlifting. If you’re tired during weight lifting training, hydration is a simple and easy step to try to fight that fatigue!


  • Overly Repetitive Routines. 


If you are running a program like Smolov, you have no choice but to squat with high frequency and volume for an extended period of time. But make no mistake, this could spike your risk of injury drastically. 

It is common advice to do something new in the gym or to avoid certain movements. Yes, you should definitely not do movements that cause you pain. But to tell someone that they should not deadlift or squat because these exercises are “bad” for your back is just nonsense. If so, nobody should be running because most aerobic exercises are “bad” for the knees.

You will not get hurt if you perform exercises properly, complemented with proper rest. Of course, there are some random freak events that might occur but that is a small percentage of the millions of lifters out there in the world. 


Especially important for those that lift weights is knowing how to get results without causing extreme tiredness. Keeping your body refreshed and renewed will help your workouts overall.

If you are a beginner, linear progression programs would be your best friend - Greyskull LP and Starting Strength are my two go-to's. If you are someone who does not like running programs and enjoys the flexibility of training, run with that.

Tired during my 4x a week routine?

If you are feeling drained from your workout routine and are thinking about switching, I invite you to reflect on it a bit more. Would you quit your work because you hate going to the office 5x a week? Most likely not. So, why would you quit your workout routine when it feels a bit tiring currently?

Build a tolerance to handle more stress and to get stronger. You may feel tired now and that may be a normal feeling for you. In my experience, I did feel exhausted for extended periods of time during harder workout sessions. At the same time, I did take it easy on myself by not training as hard as I should for several months following hard training sessions.


In addition, take time for recovery! These are critical components of weight lifting training. Taking the time to rebuild the muscles that you’ve broken down over your sessions will help make you stronger. Weight lifting can be easy to throw yourself into and become obsessed with spending time in the gym, but the real story is that if you aren’t able to prioritize recovering from your weight lifting or strength training sessions, you won’t see very fulfilling results. Some general tips are to try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. It’s also important to take a rest day immediately after a really intense workout. 


Being tired during weight lifting training can happen to anyone. So what are some active steps you can take to prevent it? 

One great way to prevent tiredness during workouts is to manage inflammation. According to (3) this starts with eating a diet filled with whole grain starches, vegetables, and Omega-3 fatty acids. You can also try to add 2-3 four-ounce servings of certain fish, like salmon, codfish, or halibut. Supplements are also an option, like fish oil, but you should be sure to consult your primary care physician before starting any new vitamins or supplements. All of these can help to reduce inflammation in your body. My minimizing inflammation, you can strengthen both your immune system and your muscles so that you can maximize your workouts! 

Another way to fight fatigue is to make sure that you feed your muscles! Having a light meal that contains protein right before you start your workout can help increase your energy level during your workout. The American Heart Association recommends foods like whole grain cereals, brown rice, and fruits and vegetables to get the right amount of energy you need to sustain your energy level during weight lifting or strength training. And of course, don’t forget to hydrate all day long, and especially before your workouts. 

Fighting fatigue can also happen during your workout. This is why warming up before your main workout is absolutely vital. Be sure to stretch after your routine too! This stretching and pre and post exercise routine can make sure that you start off easy and slowly build up in intensity, giving your muscles time to adjust. On the note of reducing inflammation, yoga is a great way to reduce inflammation at the gym. A little post-workout yoga session could make a big difference in your energy level. 

While it may seem simple to just start right off with demanding and challenging exercise, make sure to take the time to learn how to do the exercise with proper form. Doing an exercise without the right form can do more harm than good in most cases. Using correct form during weight lifting training can prevent your muscles from being used improperly, and help sustain your energy level throughout the whole workout. Having the right amount of both strength and flexibility can help you maintain correct form during your weight lifting fatigue (3)

Additional note - get your hormones checked

While I did give you a list of recommendations you can implement to solve your fatigue from resistance training, take it with a grain of salt. I do not know your body. I am not you.

You know your body best. Treat it as your most sacred temple. What works for me may not work for you. Find something in your life to optimize and then see if that fixes your energy levels. 

If you are young, your doctor may not want to test your hormones comprehensively. They may give you a basic lipid panel, metabolic panel, and urine test. But if you are not feeling that extra spring during your workout, you should do your research and get an extensive blood test done. You are lifting weights and you want to be at your maximum potential for that. Why would you give anything less than 100% if your heart and soul belong in the gym?

In my experience, I recently tested low on Vitamin-D and am currently taking supplements for that deficiency. In one day, I already feel incredible after addressing that issue. So, treat your health as the highest priority and you should be golden for many years to come.


Whether you are just beginning to get into weight lifting training or strength training, or if you’re a veteran, being tired during weight lifting training can be straining. Fatigue is a normal side effect of exercise that can become too intense if things like proper diet, sleep, and form during exercise are not maintained. It is ultimately in your own best interest to follow the steps in this article and beyond to make sure that you are able to maximize your workouts, and avoid overtraining. By following some of these simple changes, you can be sure to prevent yourself from hitting a wall during your routine. Follow these tips, and start fighting fatigue today!



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