Working in commercial gyms its fair to say I have seen many of the mistakes made by beginners in the gym, we all make mistakes so I am not here to make fun of people (actually quiet the opposite) I am often left inspired by the effort and bravery of people as commercial gym can be a pretty uncomfortable environment for many people. Below I am going to outline 5 of the most common mistakes I see beginners make in the gym;
- Focus on mobility and stability before progressing with weight. Only increase weight by 5 to 10% where warranted.
- Perform a warm-up to increase performance and decrease the risk of injury.
- Maintain balance with your training by utilising both strength and cardiovascular protocols.
- Create a connection between ribs and pelvis to perform core exercises correctly.
- Stretching before a workout stretches muscles belly fibre’s and can decrease performance and increase your risk of a muscle tear.
Progressing To Fast
I get why we would want to lift the heaviest weights in the gym and do the ‘fun’ exercises like back squats, and deadlifts but trying to progress to fast often leads to injuries. When we first start in the gym our focus should be on two things – Mobility and Stability. This doesn’t mean the sessions are easy (they will often have you shaking like a leaf) but your priority should be how well can I control my body throughout the movement and what limitations do I have with my range of movement when starting out. Once you have control throughout the movement you can look to advance by increasing the weight or performing a move advanced version of the lift. Research also suggests we only increasing weight and training volume by 5 to 10% each week where sound technique is sound.
Tip: When starting out use tempo’s to help you improve both mobility and stability for example with a goblet squat count to 5 from the top to the bottom of your squat.
Not Performing A Warm Up
First of I will admit we have all been guilty of this, especially when we are younger but an older body does not tolerate not starting your workout with a warm up. A warm up gives the body the opportunity to increase your core body temperate, lubricate your joints, it enables blood flow to be increased to your extremities (arms and legs), and overall prepares the muscles for the stress of the strenuous activity its about to encounter. When we warm up we perform better which helps us lift more, lose more weight, and most importantly not get injured and have longevity.
Doing Only Cardio Or Only Weights
If your goal is to build muscle you will likely do more weights but still benefit from adding some cardiovascular exercise to help with your recovery and overall health. If your goal is to be able to run 10km you will still benefit from completing a couple of regular gym sessions to help you be more durable when running and to perform your runs at a higher level (FASTER). We often enjoy one thing more than the other but taking a balanced approach helps increase your results, stay injury free, and live a healthier life.
Performing Core (ab’s) Exercises Wrong
When you walk in the gym you will always see someone pulling on their neck doing sit ups or excessively arching their back doing leg raises. The number one focus when training ab’s is the contraction of the muscles between your rib cage and your pelvis. Ab’s can be trained by completing exercises other than crunches, variety is the spice to life. We recommend utilising exercises like cable chop’s, Kettlebell carry variations, and paloff presses to include weighted core exercises.
Tip: It takes more then abdominal exercises to have a flat stomach. Creating a calorie deficit is essential for removing unwanted abdominal fat around the waist.
Stretching Before Working Out
I want to make it clear we don’t blame beginners for making this mistake because for many years the fitness industry said you should stretch. The recent research however recommends utilising more mobility and activation based exercises to warm up as opposed to static stretches. Stretching is known to pull muscle fibre’s away from each other decreasing performance and once again increasing our chances to injury through muscle tears. Cold muscles and ligaments respond better to gentle movements that lengthen and lubricate joints similar to those you will use in the workout.
They are 5 of the more common mistakes to avoid when starting out as a beginner in the gym. If you are starting out in the gym and want some guidance along the way you can do so by joining our mailing list, or following us on our socials (facebook, Instagram, and Youtube).
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