Five Mistakes at the Gym
Are These Stopping You From Reaching Your Goals
Walk onto any gym floor, and you’ll probably notice some very cringe-worthy exercise forms or moves that don’t accomplish anything. No one is perfect, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gym-goer, you’ll likely find yourself making one of these common strength training mistakes at some stage.
To save yourself time, get faster results, and make your workouts more effective, make sure you avoid the following mistakes. The good news is that they’re all pretty easy and quick to fix.
1. Not Putting In The Effort
This is pretty straightforward. If you’re not breathing heavily, sweating, or uncomfortable in any way, then it’s unlikely you’re going to get any meaningful results. All the good stuff happens outside of your comfort zone, so train yourself to get there if this is not a natural thing for you. Most people know intuitively if they’re working hard and putting in enough effort. You don’t have to kill yourself in the gym, but some hard work is required if you want to succeed.
2. Keeping Things The Same
Mixing up your sessions is a great way to get stronger. That’s not to say you should be swapping out the back squat for the leg extension, just that you should be tweaking the main compound lift to stimulate the muscles differently. Going through the same repetitive routine is a quick way to get bored and stall any results. Your workout routine should change every few weeks either by alternating the exercises or the acute variables like sets, reps, and rest times.
3. Too Heavy, Too Soon
Going too heavy, too soon, is a common mistake. Men are generally the biggest offenders here. Call it ego, an inflated sense of capabilities, or the desire to impress the ladies, but all too often, this is what you’ll see if you walk into any public gym. Reduce the load is one easy way to tidy up a lot of training technique straight away and save many injuries (and forced time off training as a result). When you enter the gym, leave your ego at the door, start light, practice the proper form and gradually progress the weight.
4. Too Light, Too Long
This might seem contradictory to the previous one, but they’re both common mistakes. It’s time to pick on the ladies here (and some of the guys too, actually). The whole point of strength training is to lift a challenging load to create stress on the body. The body adapts to this stress over time, in the form of increased strength, bigger or more toned muscles, improved work capacity etc. Assuming form is acceptable, then it’s essential to increase your weights to keep getting results progressively. If you keep lifting the same weight week in, week out, your body won’t change. Lifting heavy won’t make you look like a guy!
5. Poor Exercise Selection
It’s common to see people show up to the gym and randomly hop from one machine to the next or pick an arbitrary sequence of exercises with no rhyme or reason. Exercises are tools that can help us achieve a goal, so it’s important we choose the right tool for the job. Bicep curls should not take up half of your training session. Focus instead on compound strength exercises. These are exercises that use multiple muscle groups at the same time. Think of them as BIG movements. Squats, deadlifts, push-ups, lunges, chin-ups, rows and variations of these exercises should be the staple of your strength training workouts. These exercises give you the biggest bang for your buck and will provide the best results. Save all the smaller isolation exercises for the end, or many time-poor people could even scrap them altogether and replace them with these bigger lifts.