Common gym mistakes ... don't do these (part 1) February 25, 2015 03:00


Are you going at this whole gym thing all wrong? Do you have a set plan and goals in mind or is it just a matter of showing up and copying what others are doing? From talking with personal trainers, it seems like too many people just go through the motions at the gym. They are either copying what they see others doing (possibly incorrectly), or they aren't focused and are on autopilot (no gains there).



Here are some common gym mistakes, and some tips on how to avoid them.


Insufficient Warm-ups

Warming up is just as important as your main workout. Sure, it’s easy to push the warm-ups aside because they’re typically a small part of the entire training session. However that shouldn’t be the case.

Warming up serves two purposes: to prevent injury and to prepare the body for the training session. A proper warm-up should get your heart rate up, improve mobility, and charge the nervous system for the work to come. The best way to do that is with a dynamic warmup (where the muscles are moving) and not a static one (stretch and hold).

Dynamic movements include jumping jacks, glute bridges, skipping, and various band exercises such as pull aparts, face pulls, and lateral raises. On top of the dynamic movements, soft-tissue work can be incorporated as well. Foam rolling the lower extremities, and mid back is a good place to start. For the upper body, using a lacrosse ball on the upper back and shoulders does well to loosen most people up.

The Fix: Each workout, take an extra 10 minutes to do the warmup properly. Start with a brisk walk for 2-3 minutes, followed up by the dynamic movements and foam rolling like mentioned above.


Doing Cardio Before Heavy Weight Training

If your goal is to be stronger or put on muscle, then doing cardio before weight training sessions might not be the best idea. Some attempt to get in some cardio training such as a 2-3 mile run or bike prior to their heavy weight training. This is a beneficial type of cardiovascular training, but can limit your potential for strength gains and adding muscle. If we tax our energy reserves, we limit the amount of intensity we can put into our maximal effort under the bar.

The Fix: Instead of doing a full-on cardio session before your weight training, move it to another day. Just do a simple 10-minute dynamic warm-up before heavy lifting to ensure you’re ready for your strength session.



Remember, your time is precious. Make sure you use your designed gym and workout time frames as efficiently as possible. That will help you get the most out of your training.