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4 Common Mistakes People Are Making In The Gym

April 10th, 2008 · 6 Comments ·
 
 

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I have been working out for more than four years and I have noticed some interesting workout approaches in the gym. Well, not exactly interesting, I mean, some of them are actually dangerous approach. These got me thinking of new techniques to incorporate into my own training. By learning few basic knowledge, you can dramatically improve your results while keeping injuries at bay. Let me share with you what I have seen and what I think about them:

1) Lifting Too Heavy Of A Weight
This mistake is more common for men (than women) to do.

When we lift a weight that is heavier than we can handle, often our form becomes incorrect. Not only do we sacrifice the benefits of the exercise, but we may also put ourselves at risk for serious injury.

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I suggest of getting help of a spotter if you lift a very heavy weight. However, using the spotter’s help too much, it may defeat the purpose of training. This person (spotter) is supposed to be there to give you an extra little hand if you need it or if you are risking an injury.

In short, a light weight with good form is always better than a heavy weight with poor form.

2) Using Improper Form
Improper form ties in with the first mistake I mentioned earlier, but it may still happen too even if the weight is light.

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One of the best examples I have often seen is doing barbell curls. Most people lift the weight up by arching their back unnecessary and creating so much momentum that the bar literally flies up as they “curl” them. They move their entire upper bodies. This form is dangerous. A great deal of stress is put on the back joints due to the great amount of movement. This exercise will not provide any benefit. Some programs do require you to lift the weight at great speed to improve power, but, it should still be done in a controlled manner.

Another common mistake is people tend to pull their heads or necks while doing crunches. Use your abdominal muscles. Contract your abdominal muscles inward towards the spine as you crunch.

The other common mistake which I myself have made too is to twist the wrists when doing bench pressing. This unnecessary way holding the barbell may hurt the wrists. Read more about it here.

3) Incorrect Breathing
Some do not breathe correctly, holding the breathe for too long. Keep breath flow steady to constantly nourish your body with oxygenated air. As a rule of thumb, inhale on the easy part of an exercise and exhale on the hard part. Using leg extension machine as an example – exhale as you lift up the weights and inhale as you go down. Another example – bench press, inhale when you lift the weight up and exhale when you lower down the weight to your chest bench press, inhale when you lower the weight down to your chest and exhale when you pushing the weight away from your chest. I shall write more about the correct breathing technique in near future.

4) Leaning On The Cardio Machines
This is a common mistake, especially among those on the stepper machines. Handrails are there in case you are falling off the machine and need help, or to rest your towel on, not to hold you up throughout the exercise.

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I am sure you have seen it many times before, the person on the step machine who looks like they are holding on for too long, their arms supporting all their weight and feet barely even touching the pedals. This person might as well move over to the arm machines if they wanted to give their arms a workout because they are not doing much for their legs.

Another example is the person on the treadmill who is walking on an incline and holding on to the front rails. This is supposed to stimulate you walking up a hill. If you were walking up a hill in real life, you will not have a handrail in front of you.

As for Stairmaster, some tend to step only on the tip of toes the whole time and lean forward too much. Leaning forward can compromise your lower back.

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In A Nutshell
The purpose of working out is to challenge your body. Those examples are only a few of the mistakes that people tend to make in the gym. Everyone, including myself, has been making at least one of them at one time or another (without realizing). But, hopefully, this post has helped you realize what you are doing and fix the problem before it becomes a habit. If it becomes a habit, it will be tough to get rid of it.

Keep these tips in mind during your next visit to the gym. Stay focus in your workouts and perform everything to the best of your knowledge and ability. Take care of your safety and health. I hope that you will see a greater improvement.

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6 responses so far ↓
  • trey // Apr 10, 2008 at 4:37 PM

    Quoting your article :

    As a rule of thumb, inhale on the easy part of an exercise and exhale on the hard part. Using leg extension machine as an example – exhale as you lift up the weights and inhale as you go down. Another example – bench press, inhale when you lift the weight up and exhale when you lower down the weight to your chest. I shall write more about the correct breathing technique in near future.

    i hope you meant, INHALE during the PRESSING phase of the BENCH PRESS is THE WRONG WAY TO DO IT.

    maybe i’m reading your article wrong (the way you put your words kinda got me confoooosed :)

    anyway, always INHALE when lowering the weight to your chest, and exhale to press it back up.

  • Mun // Apr 10, 2008 at 4:43 PM

    Hi trey, Opps. You are right. Sorry for the mistake and thanks for pointing it out. Cheers.

  • trey // Apr 10, 2008 at 7:48 PM

    no problem Mun, i am also learning and soaking in all the knowledge that i can gather. I learn alot from your articles aswell ;)

  • Jubby // Apr 14, 2008 at 3:30 PM

    hey mun, what bout lateral raises and front raises for shoulders. i mean does our hand actually form a straight line through out that exercise, or do we bend slightly in order to have a correct form. ive read some articles saying that we should have a slight bend and vice versa. which one should i follow?

  • Mun // Apr 14, 2008 at 3:35 PM

    Hi Jubby, good question. Thanks for asking that and I shall reply that in a standalone post when I write about lateral raise for shoulders.

  • Calum // Jan 17, 2011 at 5:12 AM

    Guilty of holding onto treadmill rails sometimes :P

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