While there are loads of training errors, this list provides the most common mistakes people make during exercise at the gym. Leading to discomfort, drop outs, de-motivation and in severe cases even injury. The trick is to objectively evaluate the following points and see which of them apply to you and may impair your expected exponential progress.
1. The all-or-nothing theory: Even if you do not have all the time you would like to invest in your workout, research papers showed that just ten minutes of exercise can provide important health benefits. A little bit can add up over time, so just do what you can for the time being and slowly increase your workout time according to your daily schedule. The world wasn’t built up in one day!
2. Unbalanced strength training programs: Most people focus only on certain muscles (like the abdominals or biceps), but it’s important to work your whole body and core to achieve balanced fitness. A common cliché is the continuous training of the upper body part (chest, shoulders, arms etc.) and neglecting the lower part. Toned glutes and legs are as an important as a toned upper part. Disproportion is the worst thing you can do for your aesthetic body.
3. Utilizing poor technique or form: Using incorrect form can lead to injury. A few examples include: letting the knee extend beyond the toes during a lunge or squat; continuously locking the knee during leg extension, thus transferring the tension from the muscle to the joint; the using of momentum and body anguish instead of muscle contraction to lift heavy weights; not exercising through a full range of motion and only concentrating on partial repetitions will produce less-than-optimal results. To learn perfect and safe exercise form, it’s helpful to seek professional guidance by hiring a certified personal trainer.
4. Inconsistent Progression: Exercising too hard and too often or increasing intensity/volume too quickly is a widespread mistake leading to the famous overtraining syndrome. Consistency and gradual progression are crucial for avoiding injury as well as for making sound and long-term improvements.
5. Lack of periodization: Many people stick too long to a routine and then never change it. The same workout week after week will lose its effectiveness over time and may lead to boredom, injury and burnout.
6. Incorrect Machine Set-up: Exercise equipment is adjustable and it’s important that you set it up to fit you before you use it. If you don’t know how to do that or how to use a machine properly, ask a staff person. Using poorly adjusted equipment is a carte blanche for injury.
7. Skipping the Warm Up: Taking about 5-10 minutes to gradually increase your body temperature and heart rate has been shown to decrease your risk of injury. In addition to this, the lungs and other parts of the cardiovascular system get ready to pump oxygen rich air and blood to the working muscles. You never take your car to a quarter mile drag race without warming it up! Right?
8. Poor Goal Setting. Unrealistic or vague goals can easily contribute to exercise dropout. The key is to establish a smart training objective that is specific and appropriate for your current fitness and skill levels. Not for a professional athlete. Try to define challenging but not impossible goals accompanied with a reasonable time frame.
9. Outdated and obsolete exercises. A lot of exercises that were "in" a few years ago are obsolete now as studies expand in the fields of fitness and kinesiology. Examples are the behind the neck pull down and the behind the neck-press.
Dr. Alhussein El-Shennawy
Certified Nutrition Consultant and Personal Trainer Nile Gold’s Gym
El-Fayoum street, behind Chili’s El-korba,