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5 Common Beginner Exercise Mistakes

You signed up to a gym and you’re feeling excited and full of energy. You lace your sneakers, grab your workout gloves, a towel, and head out to the gym. On the way, you’re thinking about how good it will feel to pump weights or hop on the treadmill. You can already feel your muscles straining and the sweat popping up.

OK, so you got motivation and the best intentions in the world. But how do you avoid making the mistakes that beginners, in any field, are prone to make? Read this post, is how! Check out the following common workout mistakes that beginners make and avoid them.

Young woman weight training1. No Warmup

Often, this mistake is due to too much motivation. You’re so eager to get started with the actual workout that you want to skip the boring warmup. I totally relate to it. Warming up is not fun. It’s the lowest point of the workout, in my opinion. I like the actual weight lifting and cardio. I, too, wrinkle my nose when I think about warming up.

However, I know that I have no choice. Warming up is crucial. It’s just as much a part of the workout as chest presses, squats, and bicep curls. A warm up reduces the risk of injury, so it’s not an option but a must.

2. Sacrificing Form For Weight

What’s the way in which most people judge their workouts? By how much they lift. The heavier it is, the better it seems. However, this is far from the truth. You can easily lift heavier weights if you’re willing to sacrifice proper form. Lifters call this cheating and they do so for a reason: it’s not a good thing.

When you abandon proper form you increase the risk of injury, you may develop an asymmetrical muscle growth, and misjudge your own ability. When you begin training you have the chance to learn proper form without having to un-learn bad one. Later, it will be much harder to undo weeks and months and years of bad lifting. Realize that heavy lifting is only worthwhile when it’s done properly.

3. Training Too Often

Kudos for motivation and heart. However, you may be trying too hard, doing too much for your own good. You see, your body may not be able to keep up with your burning desire to train, burn fat, and look hot. It has its own rhythm. Your muscles may not be able to take daily workouts, constantly straining. They need time for rest.

You see, during your workouts you’re actually tearing your muscles. These are small tears, not the kind that relate to injury, but they’re tears nonetheless. After the workout, with proper nutrition and rest, your muscle recover, heal, and become stronger than they were to begin with. For this to happen you must let your muscles recover for 48-72 hours after each workout. This means that doing a chest workout day-after-day, for instance, is counterproductive (usually). So, learn how to rest. It’s crucial for results.

4. Falling In Love With Machines

Walking into a gym for the first time can be overwhelming. There’s a lot of noise, people, and weird equipment and machines. The machines are particularly appealing. They seem so sophisticated, sturdy, powerful and effective that you rush to use them, abandoning other forms of exercise. This may be a mistake.

Strength machines often seem much better than they really are, and people who stop using free weights and doing bodyweight exercises often have worse results due to it. Working with free weights or with your bodyweight provides a more natural workout experience. Machines limit your movement and may reduce intensity. They do have their place, especially when you’re learning a new exercise, but using them primarily is counterproductive.

5. Working In The Wrong Order

Do you have a workout plan? Do you know in which order you should train? If you don’t, you need to take a few minutes and think things through. Here are a few pointers:

  • Do your weight lifting before your cardio, so you don’t walk around sweating like a pig while lifting dumbbells.
  • Train your bigger muscles before the smaller ones.
  • Have a weekly workout plan so you train all of your body parts during each week.

Never train without a plan, without knowing what you’re going to do during each workout.

Got anymore mistakes that you see beginners make? List them below.

Date published: January 14, 2013. Last modified: January 14, 2013


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