There are plenty of risks that fitness buffs face whenever they step through the front door of a gym. It’s not just the risk of photobombing a gym selfie or spilling your shake bottle: heavy weights and overexertion can have very serious consequences. Here are some dangerous workout habits to drop faster than an overhead press.
Stay Clear of These Five Dangerous Workout Habits
1) Overloading weights
This is one of the most common dangerous workout habits that people make. Some fitness routines emphasize a slow, steady build-up of weight in order to go from regular to ripped. For some, however, that’s not fast enough. Powerlifting workouts push a person to their physical limit and beyond in order to look like Olympic athletes. Overloading a barbell to get that all-important one-rep max can be a terrible mistake if it’s just one pound too much. Rather than overload your personal best to make a new personal best on a one-rep max, try to push to three reps of maximum weight before taking the next step up.
If you wonder some days whether the gym is really a fashion show, you may wonder why people come to lift weights wearing crocs. The right shoes make or break a workout routine: you can’t get the grip and balance you need with the so-called “barefoot” running shoes, nor can you push off comfortably in shoes that don’t have good cushioning. Choose the right footwear for your day at the gym; otherwise, you may as well be deadlifting in a pair of stiletto heels.
3) Solo lifting
Curls aren’t much of a risk to life and limb (unless you do them in the squat rack), but many workouts need a spotter to make certain that the heavy weights don’t come crashing down at the wrong time. Never go into a heavy routine of bench pressing, deadlifting, or squatting without a spotter there to make certain that you come through with all your parts intact; a squished foot could be the least of your worries if you drop a bar.
4) Warm-ups and cool-downs
Feeling the burn makes for a fine workout (and political) slogan, but burning usually means your body didn’t do something right. Rushing to a workout leaves you with sore, aching muscles, while hitting the last rep and struggling to get out the door suggests there’s something missing. Take ten minutes beforehand and ten minutes after to properly warm up and cool down your muscles to eliminate lactic acid that causes soreness.
There are lots of ways to get an edge in the gym, but for every benefit comes a cost. Just as steroids can make you a bloated, cranky, impotent monster, so too can muscle stimulants ruin your day. Stimulants like DIAA can result in higher blood pressure and greater risk of heart attack during a workout. Worse, a muscle failure due to overstimulation can literally bring your workout crashing down.