Throughout my time working in gyms, I have observed a number of common mistakes people make that can either hinder their progress or put them at risk of injury. This article outlines the most common mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.
- Not warming up
Time after time I see people go straight into their workouts without doing any kind of warm up. Warm ups may seem time consuming and boring, but they put you at less risk of developing an injury, and can also increase your performance. Always start with a lighter weight, before going on to your working weight.
- Not having a fitness planning
Having a workout plan provides structure and direction, to achieving your fitness goals. It also prevents you from coming into the gym and only doing the exercises you enjoy.
- Not eating before hand
If you coming to the gym straight from work, and you haven’t eaten anything since lunch time. Make sure you have a small carbohydrate snack 1 hour before exercising. If you don’t you can put yourself at risk of feeling dizzy and even fainting.
- Not stretching
Stretching keeps us flexible and mobile. If you are tight in certain muscles, you won’t be able to perform exercises correctly.
- Not doing free weights
Free weights are great for building, stable joints; improving bone density; increasing weight loss; reduce back pain; increasing muscle/toning; and it also makes day to day life a little easier.
- Using incorrect form
If you feel pain or discomfort when doing an exercise, chances are, you are doing it wrong. Get a personal trainer to take a look at your form, or go onto another exercise you know you can do safely.
- Only doing cardio
Cardio is great for your overall fitness, but it isn’t great for toning or building strength so make sure you add resistance training to your routine if either of those is your goal.
- Doing the same workout every day
If you do the same workout, fitness class, and weights every day, your body will adapt and progress will come to a halt. Make sure you keep changing things up to get the most out of your workouts.
- Waiting too long between workout days
- Try not to have more than 4 consecutive days off from working out.
- Not lifting heavy enough
- If you are doing repetitions of 15+, then the exercise is too easy for you. If building muscle and toning is your goal, work at a rep range between 6 and 12, if strength training is your goal; work at a rep range of 1-5.
- Lifting too heavy
A common problem with beginner lifters is lifting too heavy. If you are lifting too heavy that your form is compromised, then you will not achieve the greatest benefit from the exercise. Instead, reduce the weight and focus on your technique.
- Not training hard enough
To see results, you need to push yourself. If you think you can do more, then do more!
- Copying others
Create your own routine, don’t copy others. There are a lot of rubbish exercises you see people doing on social media, avoid doing them and stick with what works.
- Working so hard you throw up
Pushing yourself so hard that you throw up should be come with a badge of honour. Pushing yourself that hard will simply make the rest of your workout suck.
- Doing exercises too fast
Get the most out of an exercise by controlling the weight, the longer the time under tension, the grater the results.
- Taking too long of rests
Don’t spend 15 minutes talking to friends in between exercises. Keep the intensity up, by limiting the rest time to a maximum of 1 minute 30 seconds.
- Not monitoring progress
You must keep an eye on your progress otherwise you will never know if what you are doing is working. Weigh yourself regularly, and write down your previous 1 rep max’s
- Not doing “the big 3” lifts
The bench press, squat, and deadlift should be the pillar of your exercise routine if your goal is to build muscle, increase strength, lose weight or improve sporting performance.
- Starting your workout in the wrong order
Always start you workouts with the main exercise that has the most benefit. For instance, if you plan on training legs don’t start with calf raises, start with squats.
- Not using full range of movement
To get the most benefit out of your exercises you must perform them with full range of movement to get maximum stimulation on the targeted muscle groups.