You hit the gym regularly and love working out. Stronger muscles should follow, right? Not if you’re making mistakes that are holding your body back or making it more vulnerable to injury. When we asked Gold’s Gym fitness experts to share the gym mistakes they see the most, the three areas cited below came into focus. Read on to find out what you might be doing wrong – and how to make it right. And if you’re unsure about anything, remember to ask a Gold’s Gym trainer for help.
Common gym mistake 1: Using the wrong weight
Strength training with enthusiasm is great, as long as you don’t overdo it.
“Too often, people try to lift heavier than they should or attempt speeds and movements they are not ready for because they see others doing it,” Carlisle Price says.
On the flip side, working out with too little weight isn’t good for you, either.
“People are generally not comfortable being uncomfortable, and because of this, they do not utilize equipment correctly to elicit results,” Andy Coggan says. “Not selecting the appropriate load and not performing the correct volume reduces work efficacy and doesn’t allow them to achieve their ultimate fitness level in a timely manner.”
Check out Resistance Machines Progression: Know the Basics for advice on getting started.
“We are more than happy to show you how to use a piece of equipment properly and help you find the correct resistance,” Ally McKinney says. “Let us show you the ropes.”
Common gym mistake 2: Flawed form
Fitness pros love to see confidence and motivation to exercise, but they also want gym goers to make smart choices.
“It’s common to see people do a dumbbell bicep curl really fast by flinging it toward their shoulder and then letting it drop back to their side,” Brooke Daniels says. “There was no ‘workout’ there. A more slow and controlled movement is always, always, always a truer workout, which is why we come to the gym in the first place.”
Using the proper form is the foundation to progressing your workout.
“It’s usually pretty easy to tell if someone is ready for a particular bodyweight move based on their form or the amount of struggle they are having early on in the set,” Austin Johnson says. “A perfect example is the push-up. To begin with, many gym goers are doing push-ups with their elbows bowed out instead of at a 45-degree angle at the armpit. Bad form could injure your shoulder.
“A person who is struggling probably has not developed the upper body strength needed to do push-ups. Instead of doing push-ups, they should use some form of chest press to build strength. After a few weeks, try push-ups again. If you can get a set of 10 with good form, then maybe it’s time to start incorporating them.”
Try these workouts from Gold’s Gym fitness experts: Arms Progression: Beginners, Focus on Form Before Flex and Chest Progression: Building Muscle Starts With a Push.
After learning how to do the moves the right way, you have to stay mindful and not just go through the motions.
“I see a lot of mind-body disconnect, where people attempt a movement without thinking about contracting the proper muscles to execute the movement as intended,” Daniels says. “A common example is air squats, where they quickly pop up and down without ensuring that their butt is back and that they are pushing the ground away to fire up their glutes, adding that squeeze at the top.”
Common gym mistake 3: Not having a plan and sticking to it
Work with a Gold’s Gym trainer to develop a fitness plan that will help you reach your goals. Then, give it 100 percent without straying to the latest trend.
“Everyone likes to get creative with their bodyweight movements,” McKinney says. “Just remember that everything you find on the internet may not be the best for you. Make sure you are getting workout information from credible sources. I can’t tell you how many injury stories start with, ‘I tried this new exercise today.’ Find a professional at Gold’s Gym and ask for help — we mean it when we say we will be there every step of the way.”
That professional fitness education will have a positive effect on your performance and can even inspire the people around you to boost their own efforts. Price says he notices when people push each other further than they would have gone by themselves.
“I truly feel that everyone should invest in the learning process as much as possible so that they can not only help themselves achieve success in the gym but others as well,” Coggan says. “If everyone who is new to fitness found a buddy to spend time with in the gym, their consistency would dramatically improve. It shows in group fitness.”