Skipping the warm up
Nothing screams impending injury like skipping your warm up. Most of us sit all day- in the car, office, car again, and at home on the couch. Our joints are stiff and the muscles surrounding them are tight.
If you jump into a workout like this you are asking for trouble. ALWAYS include mobility followed by stability techniques in your warm up routine. These are followed by workout specific warm up exercises.
Walking into the gym without a plan of action is like going to the grocery store without a list. Your family may forgive you if you forget the milk- however your body is not so forgiving.
Most men and women should be in and out of the gym in 1 hour. Warm up and cool down should be incorporated into this 1 hour but it really depends on what you're doing. If you need a lot of mobility work prior to your session then it may be best to do this beforehand.
Timing and minimizing your rest will also improve your efficiency and overall length of time in the gym.
Lifting too heavy too soon
If you hit the gym regularly, you'll often see people lifting weight that is way too heavy for them. Obvious giveaways are slamming weights constantly, a look of death in their eyes, and bad form.
Although lifting heavy will get you improvements in strength and a little bit of muscle growth (hypertrophy), you must be within your lifting capacity.
Lifting with poor form
Doing anything with improper form is a huge no no. If you choose to ignore form and technique you will be on fast track for an injury.
It's simple- if unsure, ask. That's what trainers and gym staff are there for. When you enter the gym leave your ego at the door and you will experience much better results.
Focusing on isolation exercises
Isolation exercises are movements that target an individual muscle group. A popular example of this are bicep curls, as they primarily focus on the bicep muscles and not much else.
Although these exercises have a place in anyone's workout plan, it should definitely not be your focus, and should not dominate your workouts.
What should be a HUGE part of your strength training are compound or primal movements. By this I mean pushing, pulling, hip hinging, squatting, twisting.
Remember that advanced moves are the basics mastered; clap push ups may look cool but if your push up form needs work then you are taking 1 step forward, 2 steps backward.
Always do your big lifts (squats, dead lifts, bench press, etc) FIRST, when you have the most energy. From there you can wind the workout down and progress into more isolation if you wish.
We hope you found these tips helpful, make sure you give us a shout if they did!
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