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Daniel Mesa

What Is Ego Lifting? How To Avoid It

ego lifting

We’ve all seen “that person” at the gym: the one who goes for the highest weights puts out a few wobbly reps, and then looks around for approval. You have to shake your head at their blatant disdain for form and technique and wonder if their joints will hold up in the long run.

For those of us who have been in the gym long enough, though, this scene is all too familiar: ego lifting. It’s a common mistake that can slow down growth and even lead to physical harm. In this blog, we’ll tell you the simple truth about ego lifting, help you figure out if you do it, talk about the risks it poses, and, most importantly, give you tips on how to avoid it so you can get the most out of your fitness journey.

What Is Ego Lifting: The Simple Truth

Let’s get to the heart of the matter: Ego lifting can be summed up as the act of lifting excessively heavy weights with poor form, all for the sake of impressing others or boosting your ego. It’s when your pride takes control, leading you to compromise proper lifting mechanics and, in turn, potentially putting yourself at risk.

You see, ego lifting is not just about lifting heavy weights. It’s about lifting those heavy weights without regard for your body’s capabilities or the correct technique. It’s about sacrificing form and control in favor of trying to showcase your strength or prove yourself to those around you.

The truth is ego lifting is a misguided approach that can do more harm than good. While it might provide a temporary sense of accomplishment or admiration, it often comes at the expense of long-term progress and even your overall well-being.

How To Tell If You Are Ego Lifting

Let’s get deeper into the topic and examine how to tell if you’re sliding into the ego-lifting trap. Keeping on track with your training goals requires you to be in tune with your body and recognize these warning flags. Here are a few indicators that you might be succumbing to the allure of ego lifting:

Poor Form

poor form

Pay close attention to your form as you increase your weight. If you notice your technique deteriorating or compromising to lift heavier weights, it’s a clear indication of ego lifting. Sacrificing proper form not only diminishes the effectiveness of your workout but also increases the risk of injury. Remember, it’s better to perform an exercise with lighter weights and perfect form than to lift heavier weights with poor form.

Your Weights Are More Than You Are Ready For

One common mistake with ego lifting is trying to lift weights that are too heavy for you right now. It’s important to know that strength and growth are built up over time, little by little. Trying to lift weights that are too heavy for your current fitness level not only makes you more likely to get hurt but also slows down your general progress. Focus on challenging yourself within a safe and manageable range.

Recurring Injuries

If you find yourself frequently dealing with nagging injuries or strains, ego-lifting could be the culprit. Overloading your muscles and joints without proper preparation and technique can lead to chronic injuries that impede your progress. Listen to your body, give it time to recover, and prioritize proper form and technique to avoid unnecessary injuries.

Stalled Progress

Ironically, ego lifting can hinder your progress rather than propel it forward. If you always try to lift bigger weights without paying attention to your form and how your muscles are working, your gains may stop coming. You need to give your body enough time to change and get stronger. By prioritizing technique and gradually increasing weights, you’ll achieve more sustainable progress in the long run.

Limited Range Of Motion

When you lift your ego, your range of motion often gets smaller, making it hard to do workouts to their full extent. This limitation makes your workouts much less efficient and can lead to muscle imbalances and joint problems over time. Focus on keeping a full range of motion during workouts to get the most out of them and lower the risk of getting hurt.

If you know about these warning signs, you can take steps to avoid ego-pulling and the problems that can come with it. Remember that training should be more about quality than quantity, right form than too much weight, and long-term progress than quick satisfaction. Now let’s talk about how to avoid ego lifting and get the most out of your training. But first, let’s find out what makes ego-lifting dangerous.

The Dangers Of Ego Lifting

Higher Chance Of Injury

One of the primary risks of ego lifting is the higher chance of injury. When you prioritize lifting heavier weights over proper technique, you’re placing excessive stress and strain on your muscles and joints. This can lead to a variety of injuries, such as sprains, strains, and tears. Not only can these injuries be painful and require time to heal, but they can also set you back in your fitness journey.

Stalls Your Progress

If you don’t care about your form or your range of motion, you won’t be able to target the right muscles and get the most out of progressive overload. To maximize muscle building and strength, progressive overload recommends progressively increasing workout intensity over time. But ego lifting means ignoring the quality of your reps in favor of lifting greater weights, which slows you down in the long run.

How To Avoid Ego Lifting

Now that we know the risks of ego lifting let’s look at some practical ways to avoid this trap and get the most out of your training. You can use these interactive tips to stay on track and reach your exercise goals while putting safety and effectiveness first:

Prioritize Your Form

Make it a non-negotiable rule to prioritize maintaining proper form throughout your exercises. Focus on engaging the targeted muscles, using controlled movements, and ensuring a full range of motion. Remember, quality reps trump quantity. By emphasizing form, you’ll maximize the effectiveness of each exercise while minimizing the risk of injury.

Record Your Sets

Use an app or a workout book to keep track of your sets and see how you’re doing. By keeping a thorough record of your lifts, you’ll be able to give yourself a fair evaluation of how well you did. This lets you track your growth over time and make sure you’re putting on weight slowly while keeping your form. Also, it feels great to look back and see how far you’ve come!

Only Move Up In Weight When You Are Ready

Don’t try to get ahead just to show off or feed your ego. Instead, you should focus on your own journey and only add weight when you are ready to do so. Building power slowly and getting your form right should be the main goals. Remember that it’s not a race against other people but rather a way to keep getting better at what you do.

Train Unilaterally

Add unilateral exercises, which work only one side of the body at a time, to your program. Some examples are squats with one leg, rows with one arm, and shoulder pushes with one arm. By training one side at a time, you can find and fix any muscle imbalances and lower the chance of ego pulling. Since you can’t use your stronger side to make up for your weaker side, both sides of your body have the same chance to get stronger and more stable.

Use Higher Reps

Change to higher rep ranges every once in a while to test your muscles differently. By doing sets with more reps, you improve your muscles’ ability to work for a long time and make sure you keep your form perfect the whole time. This method helps you improve your form and reduces the chance of ego lifting because you’ll be more focused on doing each rep perfectly.

By using these tips, you can get out of the ego-lifting mindset and set up a base of safe and effective training methods. 

What Is Ego Lifting: The Bottom Line

Keep in mind that ego lifting is a trap that will slow you down and put you in greater danger of injury. Take charge of your training by learning to detect the warning signals of ego raising, realizing the harm it can do, and developing and applying tactics to avoid it.

Your training should always start with a focus on form and technique. Avoiding injuries and maximizing gains are both possible when you prioritize quality reps above the total weight lifted.

Improving your fitness is a process that takes time and requires you to be patient, consistent, and knowledgeable about your body’s limits. So, avoid letting your ego control your lifting habits and practice self-control and mindfulness. Doing so will help you establish a healthy and productive exercise regimen that provides long-term benefits.


Can ego lifting ever be beneficial?

While there may be specific scenarios where lifting heavier weights can have benefits, it’s crucial to maintain proper form, progress gradually, and prioritize safety over ego.

Are there any exercises particularly prone to ego lifting?

Compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and bench presses are often associated with ego lifting due to their potential to showcase strength. However, it’s essential to approach these exercises with proper form and avoid sacrificing technique for heavier weights.

Can ego lifting affect muscle growth?

Yes, ego lifting can hinder muscle growth due to compromised form and limited muscle engagement. To optimize muscle growth, focus on proper form, progressive overload, and maintaining a full range of motion.