Whether you love working out or whether you hate it, most of us would agree that we want to get the most bang for our fitness buck. As a personal trainer, I spend a lot of time at the gym. Of course, when I’m with my clients they get my undivided attention, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t see a lot of wasted time and effort, not to mention potential danger, going on around me. Unless you are a personal trainer yourself (or being trained by one), here are five things you are probably doing wrong during your workout.
5 Things You’re Probably Doing Wrong During Your Workout
You’re Not Using the Right Weight
I originally was going to call out mostly women for not using enough weight to challenge their muscles. I hate to stereotype here but yes, some women are still afraid that they are going to “bulk up” if they pick up anything over five pounds. On the other hand, many (mostly) men still use too much weight, leading to poor form, bad results, and potential injury.
Here’s the deal. If you don’t challenge your muscles, they will not get stronger. If you can pick up a five-pound weight and do a million bicep curls with it, you will not make any advances. You will not turn yourself into a body builder by choosing weights that challenge you. Nope, will not happen.
And to those
men people who insist on choosing too heavy of a weight, then practically do a backbend trying to swing their arms up into a curl, stop doing that! The correct weight is one that challenges you, but that you can perform with good form for the number of repetitions that you choose.
You’re Doing the Same Thing Over and Over and Over Again
Some people have a plan. They go to the gym, they warm up (or not), then they hit the machines, along with maybe some free weights. Every. Single. Workout.
Is this you? While it’s great that you’re exercising, doing the same thing all the time will lead to diminishing returns as your body adapts. Change is good! Try different exercises, a different load, a different number of repetitions and sets, a different order, just try something different!
Changing up your workout every four to six weeks will lead to better gains in your strength. And it will keep you from boring yourself to death.
Note: As I was researching this post, I read a few articles where experts stated that changing up your routine is not necessary. According to these experts, as long as you are still making advances, and presuming your goals remain the same, and you’re not bored to death, you can stick with your routine as long as you like. I, personally, will continue to change my workout as well as that of my clients, but it is up to you to make your choice.
You’re Not Waking up your Glutes
Almost all of us sit too much. It’s a fact. Even those of us who pride ourselves on being runners or cyclists, or triathletes. We all too frequently finish our workout, then head to our sedentary jobs where we proceed to sit on our asses for the rest of the day.
The truth is, our butts have forgotten how to work properly. The muscles that propel us start to slack off, forcing our bodies to recruit alternate muscle groups that weren’t intended for the job. Back pain, anyone?
Yes, this is a little simplistic, but we really need to learn how to activate our gluteal muscles before a lower body workout to get the most from the workout. Spend some time doing some simple glute activation exercises before you start with the squats, lunges, and deadlifts. It is time well spent and will lead to a much more successful workout.
You focus only on strength and forget about balance and flexibility
We are all busy. As far as fitness goes, that means that we only have so much time to dedicate to our strength workout. Most people decide that the strength portion of that workout should get priority. They get in, pump some weight, and get out.
Wrong! While strength is an important part of every fitness plan, skipping on the other essentials like flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular work, is a mistake. Grab that foam roller before or after your workout, add in some flexibility training, and incorporate some balance training into your workout. And go beyond five minutes on the treadmill before you weight workout.
You do the exact same Workout as your Training Partner
Having a workout buddy is great. There is nothing better than having a friend who helps keep you accountable and motivated to get to the gym. The mistake comes when you do the exact same workout as that friend. Unless you are both the same age and physical condition, with the same goals, your best workout is going to vary from theirs.
What’s a goal-oriented fitness enthusiast to do to make sure that they are getting the best workout they can? Ideally, hiring a personal trainer to design your workout program will ensure that you are doing the right things at the gym. Even a session or two will help get you started. They can check your form, make sure you are doing the exercise correctly, and create a plan that will help you achieve your goals.
What do you see people doing wrong at the gym? What advice would you give?
My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!
Meatless Monday with Sarah and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie and Dixya
Tuesdays on the Run with Marcia, Erika, and Patty
Inspire Me Monday with Janice
Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie, Michelle, Jen, and Nicole
The Plant-Based Potluck Party with Deborah
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Giveaway Roundup and Try Out Thursdays with Smitha
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