Walk onto any average joe gym floor, and you’ll probably notice guys using cringe worthy exercise form or doing moves that don’t really accomplish anything.
Some of them have got me thinking of new techniques to incorporate into my own training, some have made me cringe at the thought of how much pain that must or will be causing the person, and some have just made me laugh… So I thought I’d compile a list of some of the more common mistakes I’ve seen to help prevent others from doing the same.
Guys get “forced” out of the weight training game by the time they reach their forties for many reasons. But the most tragic one is when mistakes they made when they’re younger haunt them in the form of nagging injuries. While you can’t turn back time, avoiding a few mistakes in your younger years can make a world of difference.
Same old, same old
Routines get boring – just ask your girlfriend. The body relies on challenges, so mix things up so your muscles have to respond differently. For example, if you only do barbell bench-presses, add an incline or decline. Similarly, swap out lat pulldowns for chin ups instead.
More is less
Working muscles until they howl in protest and will no longer lift another gram isn’t the way to increase strength. All this does is deplete your fast-twitch fibers – which are the key to lean growth. Instead, knock back the kilos you’re lifting to a number where you can actually finish all the reps in every set. Working body weight? It’s better to finish six sets of two chin-ups than have an incomplete roster of four sets of three.
The bike or treadmill at the gym is the go-to warm up equipment but they generally only prepare your lower body for a lifting session. Instead, get your legs prepared to train with squats. For the upper body, you want a blend of bench-presses and rows. Start with a weight you can lift 15-20 times but only do six reps. Take half a minute break, then bulk up the weight to one you can lift only 10-15 times but with only four reps. After another 30 second break, find a weight you can lift just 5 to 10 times, do two reps and you’re good to go.
Control the ego
If you don’t yet have what it takes to perform an exercise through the correct range of motion in a controlled way, deal with it. Make that an eventual goal as opposed of something you have to do TODAY. Your body is not something to be proved wrong but listened to. If you have to, work on something else and come back to it.
Check yourself Flex boy, those mirrors aren’t for creating Tinder profiles. They’re in the gym so you can keep your technique where it should be. If you aren’t holding a weight there’s no reason to look at a mirror. Things to look out for in mid-session include barbells that aren’t parallel to the floor (indicating muscle fatigue in your less dominant form) or a swaying torso (meaning you’re using momentum rather than distinct muscle groups to get a weight up and down).