Happy New Year to all my readers…
In this blog post I cover common habits in the gym that will keep you from making progress. So… stop doing them.
Skipping your warmup, cooldown and stretch
Warmups are boring and nobody wants to do them. But starting your workout completely cold is a really bad idea because without priming the muscles for the motions you are about to perform and the weights you are about to lift, you can set yourself up for injury down the road. To avoid that always start your workout with a proper warmup that includes mobility exercises and elevate your heartrate by slowly adding intensity. It’s also a good time to get yourself mentally prepared for the work that you are about to do.
Just as warmups are necessary, a cooldown is also needed at the end of your workout in order to keep blood from pooling in your lower extremities which can lead to lightheadedness or fainting. You don’t want to get a case of the vapours in the change room.
Static stretching as a part of your cooldown can help maintain or regain your muscles normal length which will allow you better range of motion in your training and prevent injuries. The cooldown and stretch also allows for better recovery postworkout by flushing out the lactic acid builtup in your muscles
For a lot of guys, the gym is the perfect place to prove their manhood to themselves and to the world. In their defence, the satisfaction of achieving a new PR is really second to none – BUT no matter how much you have on the bar, if your squat looks like a curtsy, it’s not impressive. Even worse, with the poor range of motion you are taking many muscles out of the equation thus not getting the full benefit of the exercise. So, leave your ego at the door and take some weight off that bar so you can do these exercises properly. Sometimes you have to go back a couple steps in order to go forwards.
Talking too much with your workout buddies
Training with a buddy is great. A training partner can motivate you to give it your all and hold you accountable for skipping workouts. They can also be healthy competition if you are about as fit as each other. The downside is that they can also be a distraction. So, while you are both planning your weekend or cracking jokes about the dude singing on the elliptical, you don’t realize that your resting too long. It’s okay to keep your workouts fun, just try to stay focused and keep your heart rates up.
Bringing your cell phone to your workouts
Recently, at my local gym, I saw a young lady using the leg extension machine while she was dilly dallying on her phone (Yes, I say that now. No, I’m not embarrassed). What really shocks me is it was nowhere near the first time I have seen someone do this before. And of course she wasn’t getting full extension. Just leave the damn phone in your locker! You all should know this, I’m not spending any more time on this one.
Doing the same workouts over and over and over
This habit is the perfect recipe for a plateau. When you run the same program, with the same exercises and the same number of set and reps at the same intensity and the same frequency and the same tempo… you get the picture… you can’t expect any further improvements towards a goal that you are looking to achieve. Progress comes from stepping outside your comfort zone in a consistent and manageable way. What that means is, every so often the features that make up a program (like the ones I just listed earlier) have to be altered to make your workouts just a little more challenging.