The Top 10 Common Workout Mistakes
None of us guys want to spend more time in the gym getting bad results or – even worse – injuring ourselves. Safety is at the focal point of any well-designed workout plan. With that mind, here we list 10 common mistakes men are making in the gym that are holding them back from gaining optimal results:
You shouldn’t have any shoulder or back pain after squatting and if you do, you need to alter your lifting technique immediately. Investing in a coach, even for just a month or so, will help you avoid injuries and learn how to effectively plan a strategic workout programme.
Tying in with the previous point, many guys are doing deadlifts with a rounded back. This pulling motion puts unnecessary strain on the spine and can lead to spinal-disc creep or a slipped disc. Instead, focus on lifting with a neutral spine position while keeping your core tight throughout.
Mainly due to work demands, we can find ourselves stuck sitting at a desk for long periods of the day. This causes certain muscles to tighten such as the hip flexors and cervical extensors (the muscles in the back of your neck). Ideally, you should be stretching these muscles daily or it will inevitably end in shoulder, neck and back pain.
Too many of us think that a couple of arm circles is enough preparation to start lifting or benching. A real warm up involves increasing your heart rate and range of motion which improves blood flow to the muscles. This will help you lift heavier weights and decrease the chance of injury.
If you’re trying to lose weight you should be doing cardio after lifting, not before. Lifting is about increasing the intensity and you can’t do that if you’re tired. However, you can still work hard even if your muscles are fatigued, which can help burn a lot of calories.
The bare minimum amount of fluids an inactive person should be taking is between six to eight cups of water. Recent studies though have revealed that around 75% of us are chronically dehydrated, which is shocking considering even a mild state of dehydration has a huge impact on our physical and mental performance. If you’re a more active person, then you should be aiming to take in twice that amount. Try adding in a drop of lemon juice to improve the taste if you’re not a big fan of plain water.
Too many of these can cause severe lower back pain and can have a negative effect on your posture, core strength and breathing. Instead, try doing front and side planks, which help to activate a lot more core muscles than exercises such as crunches. This will decrease the pressure on your back, improve posture and improve your lifting ability.
The most common argument here is that using machines are a lot safer. However, this can be far from the truth. Most machines jam and force our bodies into awkward positions, which actually makes them more dangerous than free weights. Free weights are brilliant for burning calories as they force you to use your muscles to control the weight and range of motion. They also give you more variety in exercise choices and allow you to include core-strengthening workouts.
Research has proven that steady-state cardio is much less effective in improving anaerobic and aerobic capabilities – as well as burning fat – compared to interval training. Try doing 30 seconds of maximum effort followed by 90 seconds of rest for 10 intervals. Those five minutes of exertion will help you post way better results than doing 90 minutes of steady cardio.
Within an hour after working out, your body is primed for fuel and energy to help load up the muscles. If the right foods are given to your body in this time frame, you can stimulate muscle growth and replenish muscle glycogen (fuel for high-intensity exercise). If this is neglected, the body goes into carbolism (breakdown).
Protein drinks are the way to go if you’re looking to burn fat and a simple carbohydrate drink if you want to build muscle. These should be consumed before or during your training so the body can use these nutrients whilst working out.
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About Matt Lawson Matt Lawson is a UK based sports journalist who covers all the latest football (soccer) news and matches for the Press Association. A keen Newcastle United fan, Matt is usually found either watching or playing the beautiful game.