Wondering why your gains don’t match the effort you’re putting in at the gym? Well, you might be guilty of a couple of these.
To be able to experience the positive impact that exercise can have on us, we need to know how to do it correctly and safely. Following are my top six common mistakes in the gym and a few tips to correct them.
1. Lifting too light
One of the most common mistakes a person can make whilst exercising is not lifting the correct weight for their body. There are multiple factors associated with the weights you should be lifting. These include your weight, height and muscle mass, as it’s important to lift a weight that is suitable for your build. For example, if you are lifting a weight lighter than 5kg and your weight is 60kg, you may be wasting your time and effort at the gym. We should all remember that light weights can be suitable for cardio training but not for building muscle endurance.
2. Lifting too heavy
When exercising, a fitness goal is important because it can help keep you motivated. A fitness goal could include training for a body building competition or losing or gaining weight so you can fit into your favourite outfit. When you are lifting a heavy weight during strength training, it’s important to consider your own wellbeing. For example, you may risk injury to muscle, which can delay your training while you wait for your muscles to heal. The barbell bench press is the most commonly used weight machine, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. Ideally, if you are training with heavy loads, then use free weights instead of the machines. That way you can control how much you are lifting, pulling or pushing. Remember to always consult a qualified personal trainer, to establish a fitness program that is right for you.
3. Taking too much rest
Taking too many rest periods or breaks during exercise can result in a greater build-up of glycerol and fatty acids. An extended rest period will also delay the ability for your body to build muscle memory, which can prolong the achievement of your fitness goals. A moderate exercise of 30 to 60 minutes each day is optimal to see results.
4. Relying on speed and momentum to perform the exercise for you
If you are using repetition and speed during your exercises, you are reducing the challenge you are placing on your muscle fibres, which will lessen your overall results. If you slow your movements down while you perform them, and always ensure you warm up first, then you will be less likely to endure an injury, and your desired results will tend to come more quickly. Always take your time; it’s all about controlling the weight and momentum, not the speed.
5. Leaving the session without stretching
Stretching is important after exercising, as it helps you to avoid injury, and assists in maintaining your flexibility. Many people do not stretch before or after a workout and they end up injured, with major muscle discomfort. You should always stretch your legs, arms and back, especially after a heavy lifting session. It is also helpful to do a cool-down, before leaving the gym.
6. Using poor or incorrect form
Using poor or incorrect technique when you exercise can diminish your ability to reach your fitness goals. So, each time you do any form of exercise, try and think about how you are doing it, and make sure you are consciously in control of each movement. Avoid swinging or jerking weights around, as this results in less muscle fibre usage, and less muscle growth during training. It can also pose a risk for injury to your arms or neck. Always be mindful of the way you arch your back during exercise, as poor posture can also result in serious injury.