Mistakes are a part of life, but when we make them in the gym it can hinder our progress, or worse, put us at risk for injury.
For these reasons, it’s important that beginner exercisers take precautions and learn the ropes before starting an exercise program.
And even if you’ve been exercising for a while but have never worked with a fitness professional, it’s a good idea to double check that you’re workout plan and your exercise moves are up to par.
From all of the various cardio machines to dumbbells and resistance equipment, there are many different ways to make mistakes at the gym. The good news, though: many can be easily avoided and corrected with some tips and guidance from certified fitness professionals.
We chatted with a handful of personal trainers and coaches to round up a list of some of the most common mistakes made in the gym.
Here are the exercise errors they said they see all too often.
Starting without an assessment.
“There are simple assessments that every person who wants to begin an exercise should do,” says Maurice D. Williams, a NASM and NSCA certified trainer and the owner of Move Well Fitness. “The advantage of the assessment is that it gives you an overall picture of you current fitness level. Assessments such as the NASM Overhead Squat Assessment or Gray Cook’s Movement Screen will tell you what muscles need attention for stretching and getting stronger, which can help prevent injury.” For gym members, getting a basic fitness assessment is usually easy. Most gyms with personal trainers on staff will offer a free assessment when you sign up for a new membership.
Skipping the warm-up.
Williams said that he frequently sees people begin their workouts without preparing their body for movement. “Performing a warm up can ensure that the body will be ready to exercise and help prevent injury,” he said. Williams suggests beginning every workout with some foam rolling, mobility work and dynamic stretches that mimic the exercises and movements you’ll be focusing on in your workout routine that day. Additionally, you should also take five to 10 minutes to cool down and lower your heart rate at the end of each workout.