There’s room for improvement in every routine – and these five workout mistakes are extremely common. Are you making any of them?
- Warming up with static stretching. As I wrote earlier, static exercises – like touching your toes and holding it – decrease speed, reduce strength and increase injury risk. Dynamic stretching – like jumping jacks or arm circles – are a much smarter choice.
- Holding onto the treadmill. Or the stairmaster. Holding onto the sides of a treadmill makes the exercise easier – which translates to fewer calories burned. It worsens balance, increases injury risk and doesn’t translate to real world running. Moreover, holding onto the treadmill negates the incline. You’re better off decreasing the speed and letting go.
- Bench pressing with your legs up. Watching people bench press while keeping their legs lifted, elevated or resting on the bench is one of my biggest gym pet peeves. While exercisers may believe this makes the bench press more challenging, it’s actually incredibly unsafe – and it cuts your results short. Much of the lift in bench pressing is created by pressing into the floor through your feet. By keeping your feet flat on the ground, you’ll actually be able to press higher levels of resistance and obtain better results.
- Not resisting the pull on cable exercises. Cable exercises are a popular choices because – unlike traditional free weights – they provide constant resistance. Free weights, on the other hand, only provide resistance when you’re lifting them against gravity. However, many exercisers forget to resist the pull when returning the cable exercise to the starting position. Instead, they just let the weight drop back down without control. In the process, they lose half the exercise and half the benefits.
- Resting too long. Resting between sets is important – but seconds can quickly turn into minutes. If you’re a bodybuilder looking to make serious gains, resting for a few minutes makes sense. But for the rest of us, keep an eye to the clock and limit your rests to no more than 45 – 60 seconds. In fact, decreasing rest time is a great way to intensify your workout. Or, you can introduce supersets to make your workout more efficient.
If you’re guilty of these mistakes, there’s no shame. They’re all extremely common and certainly easy to overcome.
In the comments below, please share some other common workout mistakes that you see at the gym.