Have you tried just about everything to get leaner? Do you train hard but still have little or no results? In this case, you might be doing something wrong.
Common workout mistakes, such as resting too long between sets or trying to spot reduce, can stall your progress. Don’t worry – even the pros make mistakes. Luckily, it’s never too late to tweak your workouts and build the body you’re after.
Also, remember that what you do in the gym is just one piece of the puzzle. Nutrition and recovery are just as important as exercise.
If you eat junk, you’ll never reach your fitness goals
So, let’s see the most common workout mistakes and how to fix them:
Thinking More Is Better
The old saying less is more applies to exercise too. Just because you’re training for hours, it doesn’t mean you’ll get faster results. Always choose quality over quantity. A typical workout shouldn’t exceed 45-50 minutes.
Overtraining can affect your progress, causing muscle soreness, fatigue, and injuries. On top of that, it raises the stress hormone cortisol levels, which can ruin your gains. As a result, you’ll lose muscle and recover at a slower rate.
Hit each muscle group once every 72 hours or so. The same goes for your abs. Doing crunches and sit-ups every single day is pretty much useless. Your abdominal muscles need time to recover. If you train too often, they will adapt to exercise and take longer to respond to stimuli.
Using Poor Form
To get results, leave your ego at the gym door. Good lifting form is more important than volume. Don’t think about who’s watching you. Remember why you’re training in the first place.
Bad form not only increases the risk of injury but also slows your progress. It limits your range of motion, reinforces poor movement patterns, and targets the wrong muscles. On top of that, you might not be able to fully contract your muscles and control the weight.
Watch your form at all times. Unless you’re a pro, avoid cheating. Take the time to build up your strength and endurance, experiment with new exercises, and increase the load gradually.
Relying on “Cookie-Cutter” Workouts
How many times have you seen a training plan online and decided to try it yourself? Did it work? Probably not.
The workout plans featured in magazines or online are there to inspire you. They’re not meant to be followed strictly. A perfect training program is one based on your needs and fitness level.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise. Just because a specific program worked great for your friend, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Focus on learning how to perform fundamental exercises, such as bench press, lunges, and squats. Later, add isolation work to your routine. Try different lifting techniques to see what works best for your body. As you progress, increase the volume and intensity.
Ignoring Free Weights
Whether you want to lose fat or build muscle, free weights should come first on your list. Barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells increase functional strength and allow you to use a full range of motion. They also force your body to work harder to maintain its balance. Compared to gym machines, free weights place a greater demand on stabilizing muscles and make it easier to perform exercise variations.
Gym machines have their perks. They’re easy to use and allow you to lift heavier weights without a spotter. However, no machine can replace free weights.
For instance, squats activate the quads, hamstrings, and glutes to a greater extent than leg presses. They also elicit a higher hormonal response and provide better results in terms of hypertrophy.
Use gym machines when you’re trying a new exercise or isolating specific muscles. Stick to free weights for compound movements like the squat and deadlift.