5 MOST COMMON WORKOUT MISTAKES

Get fitter quicker and avoid injury with these top tips

1.DON’T SKIP THE STRETCHES

Even if you’re not as flexible as the personbeside you on the mat, you should stillspend time stretching. To get the mostfrom your session, don’t hold yourstretches in conventional positions– change the angle and range ofmovement. For example, if you’re onall-fours and stretching your back,why not extend one alternate legand arm to benefit your legs, too?You’ll soon notice the increased levelsof tension in different muscles.

2.DON’T OVERDO IT

If you’ve had a couple of weekswithout training, you shouldn’t expectto stroll back into the gym and be able totrain as long or as hard as before. Pick upwhere you left off lifting weights and you’llfeel the pain of overdoing it over the next fewdays. Focus instead on varying the types ofexercises you do, working different musclegroups and challenging your whole body. Youshould always start slowly, doing simpleexercises and lifts to establish a base level offitness, concentrating carefully on the correcttechnique, and gradually increasing thecomplexity and number of sets until you’reback to your original fitness level.

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3.DON’T JUST USE LIGHT WEIGHTS

To see improvements in your body shape, it’s important you don’t simply push the same low weights for a high number of repetitions over several weeks. Do 10 sets of three reps with a heavier weight instead of three sets of 10 with a lighter one. This will get you used to holding heavier loads and make your body change faster.

4.DON’T PLOD ALONG

We know interval training boostsmetabolism and is great for fat burning,but it’s also a really time-efficient way ofworking out. Pounding away for 40 minuteson a treadmill or cross trainer may workbriefly for relative newbies to exercise, butunless you run longer or faster each time yougo to the gym, you won’t see many benefitsafter four weeks. On the other hand, just twoweeks of high-intensity intervals improvesyour aerobic capacity as much as six to eightweeks of endurance training.

5.DON’T SQUAT UP THROUGH YOUR KNEES

Squats may appear simple, but goodtechnique will not only protect your knees, itwill tone your bottom, legs and abs, and helpyou burn more calories. You probably knowyour knees shouldn’t come out past your toesas you squat and how you shouldn’t dropmuch lower than 45˚, but did you know youshould drive back up through your hips, notby pushing your knees forward? Coming backup through your knees places a lot of pressureon your knee joints and makes your quadmuscles work really hard. Instead, work yourglutes and hamstrings (back thigh muscles) asyou come up to standing. Nail this move andyou’ll be doing one of the best exercises fortraining your whole body.

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