Gym mistakes are a dime a dozen. From beginners to advanced athletes, everyone is making some mistakes or the other. We list down some of the most common ones so that your gains don’t stall.
Everyone makes mistakes. That’s life. However, some mistakes are more obvious than others, thus we should avoid them proactively. Gym mistakes often occur due to various variables. A lack of a good personal trainer, lack of equipment, and various others. The important thing to remember is to work with the resources you’ve been given and make the best use of the time. The top mistakes you must avoid in gym not only include form mistakes but also others like the mindset of a gym goer.
- Spending too much time– Everyone who comes into the gym thinks that more is better. Whilst this maybe true for some cases, a workout should not stretch for hours and hours. Your warm up, workout and cardio should be finished in 45 minutes or maximum an hour. For athletes, and advanced bodybuilders, training for 1.5 hours is the max. After this time your body will deplete its glycogen stores and thus use muscle mass as energy. Instead of making these exercise mistakes, ramp up the intensity in each workout.
- Waiting for equipment– There are multiple ways this can be avoided. Firstly get yourself in the gym during the times when the crowd is at a minimum. This could be in the early hours of the morning or the late hours of the night because it makes no sense to just stare at someone working out on your bench press. Secondly one can always alter their plan that he or she doesn’t do the same muscle group as everyone else. Remember how Monday’s is international chest day. Trying doing legs that day!
Tip: Always have a backup plan in case your machine is taken. For example if the bench press is taken, do some cable fly’s or incline press till the machine frees up
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- Stretching before your workout/ Not warming up at all– A dual mistake because both ends of the coin are terribly wrong. These are prominent workout mistakes to avoid at the gym. Whilst it was popular belief that stretching will help you, this has recently been debunked. Stretching your muscles before a workout leads to less tension and thus more chances of an injury. Although dynamic stretching after finishing your workout is still beneficial. Similarly this doesn’t equate to not warming up at all. Yes, you might save time skipping the warm up but this will lead to long term injuries that will keep you out of commission for far longer making not warming one of the biggest workout mistakes to avoid at the gym. A warm up can consist of light sets of an exercise, some moderate cardio and/or both. It should just be enough to get your heart rate going.
- Having no said routine– Out of all the gym mistakes you must avoid, this will surely kill your gains. Not having a routine in the gym is like going to the grocery store with no list. You’ll be wandering off here and there and furthermore indulging in exercises that will either waste your time or cause you some amount of injury. Always, always have a routine.
- Ignoring good form for heavier weights– Listen I understand the fascination with lifting heavier weights. I’ve made this mistake myself. Here’s the deal. If you’re below 18 years of age, you have no business lifting super heavy because of your growth plates. Stick to a weight that you can rep out 8-12 reps with. Other lifters should also stay within this range except for competitive powerlifters. In bodybuilding the objective is to make the exercise harder so stick with moderate weights and focus on the mind-muscle connection.
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- No variety- While it’s necessary to have the discipline to stick to a program, keeping the same routine for years, is another mistake. If you do the same thing over and over again, be it the weights, sets and reps, machines or routines, then your body will not grow because it’ll adapt. Like the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger said “It’s necessary to shock the muscles.”
- Too much too soon- Arguably one of the biggest beginner mistakes in the gym. All the new young guns are over enthusiastic and coupled with the nonsense of statements like getting six packs in a month or losing only belly fat in 10 days; leads to a beginner doing too much in the gym. An absolute beginner needs 3 days in the gym, following a full body 5×5 workout. Don’t go for accessory movements. You don’t need them. Focus on compound exercises.
- Not tracking your progress- If you’re doing everything correctly and don’t track your progress then how would you know you’re improving. Whether its a kg lost or increasing the reps or weight on a particular exercise, tracking is imperative.
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Tip: Keep a exercise log with you to track your progress on how effectively you are performing each exercise
- Doing cardio incorrectly– Cardio exercises are firstly either done in excess or not at all. Not practicing moderation here is a common gym mistake. H.I.I.T (High intensity) cardio should only be done after a workout and that too for 15 minutes maximum whereas L.I.S.S (low intensity) can either be done either after a workout for 30 minutes or in a fasted state in the morning. The thing about cardio is that one needs to consider it as an accessory and not as a necessity.
- Lack of Intensity- This ladies and gentleman this is the biggest mistake one can make in the gym. Whether you are doing one set or multiple ones, how you do the set is most important. Other things considered, Dorian Yates, a multiple Mr.Olympia winner, only used to do one true working set but he did that set to extreme failure. Attack every set with the ideal training mindset so that you can make the most of every rep and see yourself grow!