How-to for new gym goers.
I was Googl-ing, and Bing-ing and Yahoo-ing around "on the online" as my mom likes to say, when I came across this article by Chris Ecklund and Peter Aguilar, both strength and conditioning specialists, entitled, "Top 10 Mistakes People Make in the Gym: And How They Can Be Corrected". Check out this list and see if there is anything you may have done:
1. Wasting time: Too much time sitting around. Aguilar recommends instead using a superset, tri-set, or circuit. Supersetting agonist-antagonist groups (e.g. chest and back) can cut workout time in half. Think “workout density.”
2. Too much time on single-joint movements. You get more bang for your buck by doing exercises involving multiple muscle groups working simultaneously. The more muscles working, the greater the metabolic effect.
3. Not training the lower body hard. Males typically train only upper body. Females usually train the lower body too lightly. As most muscle mass resides in the lower extremity, physiological and structural changes are much more significant when we involve these muscle groups—hard. Plus, using more muscle equals burning more calories.
4. Training the core wrong. Too much focus on the six-pack. Rectus abdominis and obliques are overemphasized. Training these groups without training antagonists (spinal erectors) causes imbalance. Chronically trained (and shortened) abs can pull the torso forward and create postural disruptions. For every flexion exercise, do one extension exercise.
5. Poor technique. People often push for that extra weight—probably to inflate their egos. Dump the ego and fix form. Loads may initially drop, but you’ll be stronger and reduce injury over the long haul.
6. Poor Posture. Spinal flexion is the worst position to be in when we’re under load. Neutral spine is paramount during your set, but it’s also important to remember that just because the exercise is over, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use good technique to pick the weight up or put it down!
7. Behind-the-neck lat pulldowns. Research has identified that lat pulldowns are more effective when done in front of the head. So why are people still doing them behind the head? My guess is that they simply don’t know.
8. Not training weak links. Seek out information (from a qualified professional) on how to train groups like the rotator cuff of the shoulder, the hip cuff, the spinal stabilizers, and the knee stabilizers. As these are some of the weakest regions in the body due to their lack of inherent stability, they will often be the first to break down.
9. Doing things because they look cool. Example: doing squats while standing on Swiss Balls. Unfortunately, not following proper progressions can lead to serious injury.
10. Not addressing soft tissue needs: self-myofascial release, massage, flexibility, mobility—putting tissue quality prior ahead of quantity is just good logic. You don’t race a car without quality tires on it. Neither should we push our muscles to the redline without preparing our tissue to handle the loads/demands we place on them.
I thought I would laugh at all the things people do at the gym. After reading it, I did laugh....at myself...because I have certainly done everything on the list from #1-10 and the video (maybe a little). And I immediately see that I still need improvement, specifically on #5-6, 8-10.... Oh well, at least I don't do #11: Don't show up to the gym 4 to 6 times a week! As long as I'm at the gym i'll continue to improve. cc