7 Stupid Mistakes to Avoid in the Gym
I always say that getting serious about weight training is an educational process. In order to keep seeing results, you need to constantly educate yourself, think about what you’re doing, and stay informed.
Today I’m going to help you with that process by reviewing 7 of the most common mistakes to avoid in the gym. I’ve seen clients make these mistakes time and again, and they can have serious implications for your workout success.
So take a look, think about what you’re doing, and get your workouts back on track!
7 Stupid Gym Mistakes to Avoid
1. Not Warming Up
Although the research has told us that stretching is more appropriate at the end of a workout, warming up beforehand remains a key ingredient to workout success. There are a few big reasons you want to warm up before any workout. First, warming up gets your blood flowing and reduces the shock to your body when you dive right into an intense exercise. It also warms up your muscles, which can help prevent injury and improve recovery, two important steps in reaching your goals faster.
TIP: Aim for a minimum of 5 minutes warming up before every workout.
2. Too Much Cardio before Lifting
Although warming up is important, you don’t want to overdo the cardio before your weight training routine. Spending too much time on cardio beforehand can lead to poor form and potential injury once you hit the weights. The problem is that an intense cardio workout takes up a lot of injury and puts a lot of strain on your muscles and joints, compromising your ability once you get to more concentrated exercises.
TIP: Light cardio for 5-10 minutes before weight training makes for a good warm up, but save the longer and more intense cardio for afterwards.
3. Doing the Same thing Every Week
Performing the same routine with the exact same exercises, sets, and reps over and over again is eventually going to stall your efforts. Your body adapts to everything you do, so you need to constantly challenge it in new ways. Changing things up can be as simple as adding 1 new exercise to your routine each week.
TIP: For more strategies on how to change it up on a regular basis, read my article, What is Muscle Confusion?
4. Leaving Your Water Bottle at Home
Hydration plays a seriously important role in your workout routine. Not only do you want to hydrate before a workout, you want to stay hydrated throughout. Water helps sustain your energy and is a key component of the repair and recovery process. Without a water bottle, you’ll also be wasting valuable time at the water fountain.
TIP: Keep a dedicated water bottle in your gym bag so you always have it.
5. Random Rests between Sets
You probably pay close attention to your number of sets and reps, but what about your rest periods in between? You need to pay close attention to these and really watch the clock. Not only can you waste a lot of time by taking random rests between sets, you also won’t be training your muscles in a consistent way for the best results.
TIP: Wear a stop watch or keep an eye on the clock, and time your rests somewhere between 15 and 45 seconds, depending on your goals.
6. Overusing Balance Equipment
Don’t get me wrong, balance boards and bosu balls can add some great variety to your workout routine, but you don’t want to overdo it. Including too many balance exercises in your routine makes your workout more about balance than strength. Although training for improved balance and body awareness is a good thing, you don’t want it to detract from your lean muscle gain efforts as these require lifting heavy weights and challenging your muscles.
TIP: Save the balance exercises for dedicated body awareness days, or add them to the end of your routine as a bonus workout.
7. Leaving Your Core Exercises to the End
I see this mistake time and again. For some reason, people just don’t like to do abs, or at the least, they leave them to the very end of their workout. Exercising your abs and core with such little attention is going to leave your results to be desired. Placed at the end of an intense chest workout, for example, and you’re not going to have the energy to do your core right. Like any other muscle group, your abs and core will benefit from an intense and focused workout routine.
TIP: Try a different approach, and dedicate one of your workout days to your abs and core. Start by trying my Core Ab Workout here.
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