On one level, exercise is easy. You move around, lift things up, and put them down.
On another level, exercise is very complicated, and it’s easy to get things wrong. Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make in the gym, and what you can do to avoid falling victim to them.
You don’t have a set goal or plan.
If you are in the gym for the sake of being in the gym, you’re doing it wrong. In order to track your progress, you need to have a goal: whether it is losing weight, getting stronger, or being able to run a mile without stopping. If you don’t have a goal, you will spend your time aimlessly working out, and will have nothing to show for it.
You aren’t resting enough.
If some exercise is good, more must be better. This mentality leads many people to overtrain and injure themselves. You know your body better than anyone else – if it is telling you that it needs a day off, listen to it.
You are lifting with poor form.
Some people sacrifice their form in order to lift more weight. Others simply don’t know the correct way to perform an exercise. In either case, lifting with poor technique is an express ticket to the doctor’s office. Make sure to read up on proper form before trying a new exercise, and always start light and add weight as needed.
You are neglecting muscles.
Many people like to focus on a select few muscle groups – such as chest, biceps, and abs. While there is nothing wrong with giving some areas a little bit of extra attention, too much of it can lead to muscular imbalances.
You are not warming up or cooling down.
Warming up and cooling down is important for maximizing your workout and minimizing your risk of injury. Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t stretch before your workout. Warm up with a light exercise of your choice – enough to break a sweat, but not enough to cause fatigue. Save the stretching for the post-workout cool down.
Want to learn more about common gym mistakes? Check out this list from MSN.com.
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