Mark Laws has been keeping tabs on some of the biggest mistakes being made in the gym. Are you guilty?
We all make mistakes. That isn’t a problem as long as we learn from them. Here are some of the most common blunders happening in your gym right now… and how you can avoid them.
The most obvious mistake here is that some people often have ridiculously long rest periods, which can lead to long sessions. The longer you are resting, the greater the risk of being distracted by your mates, your phone, staff members or hot members of the opposite sex. Rather than doing things for the sake of it, do some research and identify the optimal length of rest for the type of training you are doing – somewhere between 45 and 90 seconds should cover most of you.
The less obvious mistake being made with regards to rest is that some people never get enough. Your body can only properly repair and recover when you aren’t training, so by insisting on training six days a week only gives you one recovery day. I have had better results with clients who only train three days per week. If the quality of your sessions is high, then less is certainly more.
Learn to appreciate rest… but don’t sit on that bench for too long in between sets staring at your phone please!
These days any meathead with broadband and a mobile phone can spread their message far and wide within seconds. Lines become blurred between what is reliable information and what is not. You might hear that certain exercises are good for certain things, or that certain workout types are brilliant for achieving certain results…but that doesn’t mean they are suitable for you.
Exercises like squats and deadlifts are often referred to as crucial lifts that everybody should be doing… and that is true, but only if they are done well.
My advice? Find a coach in your area who has at least 10-15 years experience and some expertise in biomechanics, sports therapy, movement screening, osteopathy, and pay them to look at how you stand, how you walk and how you move when you exercise. If you aren’t sure, email me and I will find someone in your area for you.
If you pay a personal trainer who has never screened you, sack them. If you pay membership to a gym whose staff cannot correct your form, change gyms.
Please don’t just copy what everyone else is doing.
Just because your mates have 80kgs on the bar doesn’t mean you have to try it too. Start light and earn the right to progress. We all develop and improve at different rates, so you cannot expect to keep up with everyone on every lift. Check your ego at the door and make sure everything you do is appropriate for you.
The flip-side of this is the people who NEVER seem to progress. They train regularly but always have the same weight on the bar or the same dumbbell in their hand – you could come back in a few years and they would still be stuck on the same weight. Certainly don’t copy these people, as they are wasting a lot of time and would also benefit from some expert advice.
So, to recap, all you have to do is not copy everyone else. Don’t waste time, appreciate the importance of rest, only seek advice from reputable sources, don’t try and show off to your mates and make sure that your programme is suitable and specific to you… can’t be that hard, can it?