Chances are there is room for improvement in your gym routine. But, do you know where to start? Most don’t. Check out these gym mistakes and make sure you’re not making them.
Picture this situation: You are walking into the gym, headphones are in and your pre-workout just kicked in.
Little did you know about that you would find someone curling or deadlifting in the squat rack. Dang, it looks like your squat everyday workout is going to have to wait at least 15 to 20 more minutes today.
Maybe you have been on the other end of this spectrum?
Ask yourself, are you the one deadlifting or doing biceps curls in the squat rack?
I know it seems like no big deal at times. However, when one has a long day at work and is looking forward to some heavy squats or bench press, the day may just be getting worse for that person.
Common courtesy goes a long way.
As a gym goer, you may be doing some things that are common mistakes. All around the world, people are hazed, looked at funny, taking too long on gym equipment and sometimes being the sweaty person. With that, you might be decreasing your overall progress for whatever goal you have set. Let’s take a look at the most major and common mistakes that people make in the gym.
Let’s get better today.
You’re Taking Too Long On A Machine Or Piece Of Equipment
If you are someone who has a strict workout routine, you likely don’t find yourself taking too long on certain pieces of gym equipment. If you do, your workouts may be taking too long. When your workouts start to get up over an hour, you are actually decreasing your possible strength and muscle growth gains. With that, you may be holding up the gym flow.
Of course you are a paying gym member, however, common courtesy goes a long way in life.
You Only Do Steady-State Cardio For Fat Loss
This common gym mistake is starting to decrease as circuit and interval training becomes more popular across the world.
However, the common fitness myth of doing steady-state cardio for fat loss is still very much alive. If you are looking to burn fat, lift heavy and fast. Developing a foundation of muscle will ultimately burn more calories in the long run. A 200-pound male with 15% body fat will burn more calories than a guy of the same body weight, with 25% body fat. Muscle needs more energy.
You’re Checking Social Media, Emails And Texts
The number one tip for this is to leave your phone locked away in your car or gym locker. If you do not have your phone in sight, it will be out of mind. Your gym selfie may not happen by leaving your phone in the car, but you can always post something when you hit a major goal you have accomplished.
You Spend Too Much Time In The Gym
Spending hours in the gym should be left for the people who work there. Ask the people who are strong or lean. Most of their efforts are done outside of the gym. This is especially hard to overcome if you truly enjoy exercise.
If you love lifting or doing cardio, you simply may not want to leave!
Yet, the best exercises are typically the ones that are short and sweet.
You Spend Too Little Time In The Gym
If you are in the gym and you notice someone who works out for about 10 minutes and hits a few sets of bench press and biceps curls that person may just being doing it wrong. Now, don’t argue that at least that person is getting into the gym and exercising.
Maybe that person can be more efficient with his or her time in the gym. For instance, do burpees for 10 minutes and the workout efficiency will be maximized.
You’re Not Going Hard Enough
If you are unhappy with your strength or muscle gains, maybe you are not going hard enough in the gym?
To build muscle size and strength, the overload principle must be in place. Whether you are overloading the mind and muscles with a heavy load or high volume of reps, you must overload your body. This will allow your body to adapt and become stronger for your strength and muscle hypertrophy goals.
You’re Not Training Legs
With the social media trend of squatting everyday, this is starting to be less likely. If you are looking to increase your bench press or deadlift, maybe you should start squatting more. There is no other exercise that’s better for loading up your body for strength and muscle growth adaptation. While training legs, the male hormone testosterone is also increased. That helps with all three muscle features: Increased size, strength, and definition.
You’re Program Jumping
If you’re not seeing the progress in strength, muscle size or overall exercise progress, program jumping might be the reason. Program jumping is pretty much the process of not following a workout program for more than one or two weeks.
If you want to really see some progress and make serious gains, you must pick a program that makes sense for your specific goals. If you are not following a detailed training program, it might be time to do so.
Sticking with a block of training and building upon each one is what separates people who have training progress and those who do not.
Curling Or Deadlifting In The Power Rack
While touching on this common gym mistake in the intro, you might just need the friendly reminder. Even though this might not happen on a daily basis, when it does happen, it usually is not fun to witness. For every hour that a gym is open, there is going to be at least one person using the power rack for squats or even bench press.
Most gyms have an extra bar that is used for deadlifts.
Then for curls, use the dumbbells or other bars that your gym has available. Unless you can biceps curl 135 pounds or more, stay out of the power rack while doing curls. As for deadlifts, there really is no reason why anyone should be deadlifting inside a power rack cage.
You’re The Dirty Guy
Sweating and working hard in a challenging workout is awesome. But, if you typically sweat a lot, make sure you are cleaning your trail of sweat. That applies whether it is in a group or individual setting. Having sweat drips can be unsanitary for the people around you. Make sure you are carrying a towel around with you. Then, use the gym facility’s machine or seat cleaner.
Whether that is spray bottles or wet wipes, make sure you are cleaning up after yourself.
You Talk Too Much
Every gym in the entire world has someone like this.
Hey, sometimes this can be a good thing!
But, sometimes people are on a strict schedule and their workout can only last so long. Talking someone’s ear off is sometimes a huge inconvenience for people trying to get in a hard workout. With inconvenience comes lack of motivation.
Instead of talking to someone about what happened during last night’s big game, ask if they will work out with you. That way, you can talk about the game while changing weights or resting between sets.
You’re Not Using Proper Technique
One of the most important tips that you should take from this article is that you need to use proper technique. If you are struggling with the form or range of motion for a certain exercise, make sure you are executing the lift with the proper movement pattern. If you are able to master the movement pattern of an exercise, you will become significantly stronger, guaranteed.
Tip: Record a video of your technique on an exercise and compare it to other people that you see in the gym. Recording movement patterns will go a long way in your training progression.
You’re Knocking Others
As you already know, most gyms have all levels of fitness. That ranges from the first time gym goer to the experienced bodybuilder or powerlifter. If you are someone who would be seen as intimidating, make sure you are helping others and not putting them down. When it comes to hazing, don’t do it. If you see someone hazing another gym-goer, speak up and be a leader.
Lift people’s spirits.
Don’t put them down.
Your Music Is Too Loud
With most headphones now being bigger and louder, the people around you can hear them. If you feel that your music is pretty loud, simply ask someone if they can hear it. It doesn’t have to be a stranger. Ask the gym manager and see what he or she says.
This is something that a lot of commercial gyms nowadays currently ban. Grunting shouldn’t be eliminated completely. If you are lifting very heavy loads (like 500 pound back squats) grunting will probably not be frowned upon. However, if you are only doing a couple plates (or less), you shouldn’t be grunting. It is typically wasted energy that you could use to do more weight.
You Make A Mess
If you incorporate deadlifts into your training program, you more than likely use chalk. If you do, don’t be the guy that claps his hands together and puts dust in the air. We have all seen LeBron James do it, so we get fired up and tend to do the same. Out of common courtesy, don’t make a mess and treat your gym like you would like you own home to be treated.
After reading all of these common gym mistakes, you may have found yourself guilty of a few of them.
If you have, what will you do to fix that?
One thing that works wonders is writing out your actions. Then come up with a plan for how you are going to achieve a goal that you set to correct these mistakes.
For example, if you know that you need to be training legs more often, here is a great challenge for you over the next seven days:
Day 1: Back squat: 3 sets of 5 reps at 65% of your estimated 1 rep max. Tip: Don’t overestimate your squat max. Make sure you have good form.
Day 2: Walking lunges: 3 sets of 2 minutes at the end of a workout.
Day 3: 100 Bodyweight squats
Day 4: Back squat: 4 sets of 3 reps at 70% of your estimated 1 rep max. Follow the same tip as day 1.
Day 5: Walking lunges: 2 sets of 3 minutes.
Day 6: 100 Bodyweight squats
Day 7: Work up to 50% of your 1 rep max for multiple sets of two.
With that seven-day challenge, you can easily apply something like that to all of your common gym mistakes that you have found. Do you not talk to anyone at your gym? Set a goal to say ‘Hi’ to the front desk or office worker. Sometimes a short, yet polite comment can make someone’s day.
Not all gyms are the same.
Not even close!
A mainstream chain gym in Seattle is often nothing like an old school gym in Ohio. They tend to be two completely different types of gyms with members who have different goals in mind. In spite of this fact, these common gym mistakes are likely to be most of the common gym mistakes seen across the world as a whole. If you know you are at the right gym, then that is awesome.
Keep up the great efforts and continue to crush the day.
Just make an effort to correct your mistakes. If you can do that, you’ll better your odds of achieving your goals.
By Patrick Thompson, NSCA-CPT
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