6 Common Mistakes You’re Making During Each Workout

August 22, 2017

People make mistakes while working out; however, some are more frequent mistakes than others. While you may not be making each of these mistakes, I can almost guarantee you are making at least a few of them.

Thanks to spotty school physical education and the overwhelming amount of bad exercise information in circulation, it can be hard to make sure you’ve got your workouts down. These are the 6 most common mistakes I see people make on a regular basis during their workouts.

1. Skipping Your Warm-up/Cool-down

When you’re focused on fitting a workout into your busy schedule, you may feel the urge to skip a warm up or cool down to make up for time.

But your body needs time to prep for the workout you’re about to put it through. Many muscle-related injuries such as sprains, strains, and muscle-tears could be avoided simply by warming up the muscles before engaging in your activity. You only need to spend about 10 minutes warming up.

You will need to engage in a dynamic warm-up, which are stretching exercises that utilize movement to warm up the body. Using static stretching (think sit and reach stretches) for your warm-up could overextend your muscles and cause muscular tears. So before you start your workout, add in a dynamic warm-up such as:

As for your cool-down, give yourself 5-10 minutes to assess how your body is feeling. You may want to do some yoga poses for flexibility and to help stave off soreness after your workout or other types of more static stretching.

2. Pushing Your Limits Too Soon

Whether it’s more weight to your lifting routine or extra time to your endurance workouts, it can be tempting to start adding to your workouts too quickly. We want to become better at our chosen activity and we want it now.

Instead of risking injury by pushing beyond your body’s capabilities, find a training program that will help you guide your expectations. Some of the ones I like are:

Whatever training plan you go with, listen to your body. While I don’t recommend skipping ahead in a training program, I completely encourage you to redo segments of your training if you don’t feel ready to progress with your workout.

3. Skipping Workout Planning

While you do receive some benefit from working out rather than skipping it altogether, it is better to plan ahead and maximize the time you spend exercising.

Also, if you don’t have a plan before your workout, it is much easier to convince yourself to just skip exercising entirely.

For instance, rather than wandering into the gym and doing a couple of sets and 20 minutes on the elliptical, start creating a plan for what you would like to improve. You can use one of the above plans as a base for your own tailored workout.

4. Performing The Same Routine

This mistake is less likely to injure you, but it does have downsides nonetheless.

  • It’s boring – Doing the same workout routine over and over is boring and raises the likelihood of skipping your workout entirely. Scary bonus is if you start skipping workouts because you’re bored, you can lose 50% of your fitness progress in a week of inactivity.
  • Bodies adapt – No matter how intense your routine, you body will adapt to it over time and you will benefit less from your workout if you do the same routine every time you workout.

Try rotating through at least 3 different routines to keep your body challenged and your mind engaged during your workout.

5. Neglecting Good Form

Good form doesn’t receive enough credit for injury prevention. Having a strong and correct form can help you avoid many of the injuries that plague gym goers.

Workouts that will injure you the fastest with bad form are:

  • Running – Many runners tend to hunch over as they tire during their run. Not only does this restrict their breathing but it also can cause back strains and spasms. Heel striking is another common problem among runners. When striking the ground heel-first, runners absorb too much of the shock along their joints, which will lead to a multitude of injuries.
  • Weightlifting – Poor form while lifting can breakdown your joints and muscles and leave you in need of surgeries and possible joint replacements. This becomes even more true when you are doing crossfit. Make sure you are not wrenching your body around to complete lifts, as this is one of the key times injuries occur.

6. Training Muscle Groups Too Frequently

Lastly, you can over-train your body, breaking it down beyond safe parameters. Your body needs rest days. Working out puts stress on your body and creates micro tears in the muscles, which need time to recover. Two rest days a week, where you don’t do anything more strenuous than walking, will allow your body time properly heal.

So, did you make it through without finding any mistakes you’ve committed? If so, congratulations on taking care of your body so well! If not, you now know what you need to work on to keep working out injury-free.

Kevin Jones is a health and fitness blogger and regular contributor to a number of fitness websites. He writes for NordicTrack. During his free time, he likes to be very active and spend time with his wife and two children shredding the slopes of Park City, Utah or chasing down the Salt Lake City Korean food trucks. Connect with him online; LinkedInTwitter

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