You may be hitting the diligently week after week, but are your workouts really giving you the results you want? If you're a regular at your local gym, you could be stuck in a workout rut and making some common mistakes that are preventing you from reaching your goals. If you're doing too much cardio, skipping the weight circuit, or lifting the wrong weights altogether, you will be wasting your time. Even if you've been working out for years, it can be a good idea to assess whether you're really getting results and start making some changes.
Here are five of the worst things you can do at the gym:
1. Leaning on the stair climber rails or elliptical machine. This happens all too often and will take its toll on the quality of your workout. If you're leaning or are hunched over the stair climber or elliptical machine rails, your body weight falls forward and you've taken away the resistance from this workout. Watch your form to maximize your workout.
2. Making your cardio sessions too long. I've been guilty of this one; if it wasn't for my personal trainer, I would still be stuck on the elliptical or treadmill (literally). I never got leaner by doing more cardio, but by lifting weights and doing more resistance exercises - especially core work. It took me a while to break out of the cardio habit but scaling back on intense cardio sessions finally gave me the results I was looking for.
3. Training on your own. If you really want to take your workouts to the next level, consider working with a personal trainer or someone who is in better shape than you so you really push yourself. While it's great to be so self-motivated and dedicated to your goals, you also need to make sure your workouts are progressively more challenging.
4. Jerking the weights. If you have to jerk the weights when you lift, you're lifting too heavy. Transition down to a lighter weight so that you can isolate the right muscle groups and execute smooth moves. You can always increase the weight when you get stronger.
5. Skipping the warmup. Whether you're doing a full cardio session, a circuit routine, or just hitting the weights for your gym session, you need to match your warmup to the type of workout you're doing. If you're going to be running on the treadmill, your warmup should be a speed-walk or light jog for at least five minutes before you increase your speed. If you're doing upper body work only, your warmup could be five minutes on the rowing machine.
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