10 Common Workout Mistakes & How to Avoid Them!

10 Common Workout Mistakes & How to Avoid Them!

by Posted on: June 22, 2017Categories: LiveWell 24/7   
  1. You only use machines: Strength training machines lock in your movement to a predetermined range of motion, so you are successfully working the large muscles, but the small stabilizing muscles are ignored.
    • The fix: Free weights and body weight exercises increase coordination between different muscle groups, and may improve performance better than a machine-only approach.
  2. You “wait” to workout: Depending on your specific goals, there are optimal times of the day to workout. Pushing your workout into the evening may be hindering you from achieving your health and fitness goals.
    • The fix: If your goal is to build muscle fast and gain strength, evening workouts are optimal. However, if you are using exercise as a stress reliever, morning workouts are more beneficial because they prime your blood pressure for optimal levels for sleep at night.
  3. You forget the little muscles: It is easy to focus on large muscle groups such as quadriceps, hamstrings, pecs, and lats, but your workout should also incorporate exercises that strengthen the smaller, stabilizing muscles that allow the large muscles to work smoothly and functionally. Weak synergists could lead to posture problems, inflammation, pain, altered movements, and injury.
    • The fix: Use resistance bands and exercises that involve multiple planes of motion to strengthen important smaller muscles such as the muscles of the rotator cuff, erector spinae, gluteus medius, tibialis anterior, and obliques.  
  4. Your recovery is all wrong: As you age, it is important to stretch and foam roll after exercise to prevent pain and injury. Foam rolling is an excellent method of recovery because it decreases physical stress, but studies have also shown that it lowers cortisol levels and thus relieves emotional stress.
    • The fix: Target your quadriceps, calves, IT bands, latissimus dorsi, and thoracic spine with slow rolling, pausing for 30-90 seconds on tender spots. Follow the foam rolling with stretches that target the same muscles.
  5. You force yourself to run: If you dread lacing up your sneakers, try different types of cardio until you find one that you actually enjoy, increasing the odds that you will stick with it.
    • The fix: Swimming, indoor cycling, mountain biking, and group cardio classes are great ways to switch up a dull cardio routine to keep things fun. In addition, we know that working out with a buddy increases your odds of sticking with an exercise routine, so find a friend to share the new workout with.
  6. You are jarring your joints: Beware of popular exercises that may be linked to joint injuries, and recognize ways to mitigate the negative impact. In one study, researchers found that 30% of regular Zumba participants (4x/week) experienced an injury.
    • The fix: If you are doing high impact classes such as Zumba frequently, try substituting a gentle yoga class or swimming workout for one Zumba class each week, or look for group exercise studios with cork or real linoleum flooring. If you are an avid runner, switch to trails or asphalt for a couple of runs per week to decrease the impact on your knees.
  7. Your Workout Rest Periods are All Wrong: Depending on your fitness goals, the time you rest between sets of exercises will be different. Do research while formulating your training plan to ensure that you are optimizing your workouts for your specific goals.
    • The Fix: If your goals surround muscle strength and endurance, you will be lifting lighter weights and opting for 0-90 seconds of recovery time between sets to keep your heart rate elevated. If your goals involve increasing muscle size, choose shorter rest periods of 0-60 seconds because this stimulates more human growth hormone and testosterone (especially in men). Finally, if your goals involve achieving maximum strength and power, ensure that you are taking longer rest periods of 3-5 minutes.
  8. You arrive undernourished: Working out on an empty stomach does burn fat, but does not work for everyone.
    • The fix: If you find yourself burning out halfway through a workout, have a pre-workout snack 30-60 minutes before hitting the gym.
  9. You forget to rest altogether: Overtraining occurs when you do not allow your body and hormones adequate time to adjust to exercise. By skipping rest, you can develop injuries, mood problems, negative changes in your metabolism, and burnout. Studies have shown that overtraining can lead to weight gain because the lack of rest chronically increases cortisol levels.
    • The fix: Recognize signs of overtraining before an injury develops. If you have trouble sleeping, increased soreness, joint pain, anxiety or moodiness, changes in your appetite, chronic fatigue, changes in your heart rate, or digestion issues, you may be overtraining. Take a week of rest and begin to incorporate 1-2 rest days into your workout schedule.
  10. You are too predictable: Every 6-8 weeks, switch up your exercise routine so that your fitness does not plateau.
    • The fix: Try eliminating alcohol to beat a weight-loss or fitness plateau, add fartleks to your running days, eat more healthy fats, try at-home workouts, or take a new class such as cardio kickboxing, cycling, or boot camp.

Source: Dr. Axe

 

 

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