Common Mistakes that Make Workouts Less Effective

Among the most popular tips that you’ll get when you join a gym is that you should get a personal trainer, at least at first. This is why so many gyms offer personal training for their members for an additional cost. Some gyms, like Blink Fitness, also get you free consultation with a personal trainer so you can at least tailor a workout plan designed to achieve your fitness goals.

One of the main reasons against DIY workouts is that it’s very easy to make mistakes when you’re doing your exercises. It may be a case of improper form, or perhaps you have some bad workout habits you need to quit. With a personal trainer nearby, you’d be able to identify and correct these mistakes.

If you don’t have a personal trainer yet and you’re still working out at home, then at least you should try to correct the following workout mistakes:

Building Momentum when Doing Resistance Training

Sure, if you’re trying to beat the current record for long jumping (Mike Powell’s long jump of 8.95 meters), then building momentum is a good idea. But not when you’re lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises.

This is quite common, especially for tricep push-downs and bicep curls. It’s easier when you swing your arms to build momentum, but that’s just cheating. Worse, you’re also increasing the risk of injury.

For best results, stick to doing a 2-count when you’re in the contracting phase of the exercise, and then go with a 4 or 5-count during the stretch phase.

Gripping on the Handles

The elliptical trainer isn’t as effective at burning off calories when you’re gripping tightly at the handles. The same goes when you’re on the treadmill and you’re grasping the sidebars too much.

You may tell yourself that you’re doing these things because you’re afraid of losing your balance. But in the end, you’re just using your arms to make it easier on your legs, and that reduces the effectiveness of your exercises. Also, using your arms tire you out faster because your arms can’t work as hard as your legs.

So, if you’re on the treadmill, just keep your fingertips lightly on the sidebars. If you’re on the elliptical and you really feel the need to hang on tight on the handles, just slow down your pace or maybe lower the incline a little bit.

Waiting Too Long for a Machine to Be Free

It’s great when you’re a member of a gym with lots of equipment so that when you need a particular machine, there’s always one free. But that doesn’t always happen, and sometimes you have to wait for the current user to get done.

But you can’t wait while doing nothing. Do nothing for more than 5 minutes between sets and you’re lessening the effectiveness of your workout. So, while you wait, do exercises that use a machine that’s free. Or you can do exercises that don’t need a machine at all, like pushups, planks, and crunches. Do some high-knees, or get a jump rope. Just don’t sit there twiddling your thumbs.

Stretching Between Exercises

You might think that while you’re waiting for a machine to be free, you can do some stretching in the meantime. That might seem to make sense, but studies show that it’s actually a bad idea. It’s been discovered that when you stretch in between exercises (especially when you do static stretching), it reduces the weight you’re able to lift afterwards.

So, do your stretching before the workout, and then stretch again at the end when it’s time to cool down.

Not Warming Up

Warming up prepares your body for serious exercise. It increases the blood flow to your muscles, and also reduces the risk of injury.

You should also stretch, but stretching is different from warming up. They’re not the same thing. Warming up means you raise the temperature of your body, and you can do this with some light cycling or jogging.

Stretching is all about loosening tight muscles, so you’re able to increase your flexibility.

What you don’t want to do is to stretch cold muscles. Doing so may end up causing a rip or a tear in your muscles, and that means you won’t be able to work out properly afterwards.

You Quit Too Easily

Sure, some workouts involve doing reps until you can’t do any more. But some people just quit too easily, and give up once they encounter some type of challenge in their workouts. In case you don’t realize it yet, challenging your body is actually the whole point of the workout.

Don’t substitute easy exercises when your workout plan specifies a more challenging task. Just get on with it. Find something to motivate you, and always keep in mind that if you just give up too easily, then there’s really no point to working out at all. You’re just faking it!

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