Stepping onto a gym floor for the first time in years [or maybe ever] can be a daunting task. There are many variables that you need to consider if you want results yet it is impossible to know everything.
In this post I am sharing the most common gym mistakes that I see inexperienced gym goers make and I will also share some advice on how to fix these so that you can keep yourself safe and increase your results in the gym.
When I first started strength training as a teenager I know I made some of the same mistakes that I’m going to point out here.
Mistake 1: Focusing on Isolation Exercises
Isolation exercises are small single joint exercises and are typically used in bodybuilding style programmes, or for advanced or high level athletes. Some examples of isolation exercises are dumbbell flyes, wrist curls, calf raises and dumbbell curls.
These exercises have a place in strength training programmes but should not form the bulk of training for beginners. We wrote a separate article detailing our rationale on this some time ago.
What we recommend: focus on large muscle groups or multi-joint exercises. As a beginner we recommend performing goblet squats, dumbbell presses and split squats.
Mistake 2: Inconsistent Rest
Few people track their rest time between sets and exercise yet it is one of the most important variables to control if you want to progress and get stronger in the gym. Too little rest time between sets will hinder your strength capacity while too much rest will mean that you are not stressing your muscles enough to ensure progress. Scrolling Instagram, having text breaks and chatting with other gym members could be destroying your gym progress.
What we recommend: turn your phone on airplane mode and resist the urge to check it during sets or exercises. Better yet- buy a cheap digital watch and record your rest time between sets. A good rule of thumb is to rest 1 to 3 minutes between sets.
Mistake 3: Using the Wrong Technique
Incorrect technique when lifting weights can quickly lead to injury. Gyms can be dangerous places if you don’t know what you are doing. Poor or incorrect technique is usually a result of two issues; lack of knowledge about how to perform an exercise correctly or simply using too much weight.
What we recommend: If you are unsure about how to correctly perform an exercise ask a professional. Most gyms will have a floor supervisor or coach that can help you. If you have zero training experience you could start with a couple of personal training sessions or a gym introduction programme to ensure you know how to train safely. Also, don’t be afraid to start with lighter weights as you begin to build your confidence and coordination in the gym.
Mistake 4: Not Warming Up
If you’re like most of us you probably can’t afford to spend a long time in a gym each time you train. But if you live a sedentary lifestyle, have a deskbound job or get to the gym within an hour of rolling out of bed you need to warm-up. Most gym goers skip a warm up or fail to understand its role in training.
What we recommend: spend 5 to 10 minutes each day preparing your body for the demands of your upcoming training session. The goal of this period is to improve mobility and flexibility and limit the likelihood of injury. For example, if you plan on having an upper body strength session your warm-up might include the rowing machine instead of walking on a treadmill. Small, simple changes starting from your warm-up will ensure that you feel better, can train harder and limit your potential for injury.
Train at Motiv8 Fitness
We offer pay as you and small group strength and conditioning classes in Waterford. View our current timetable here or send us a message for more information.