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5 common exercise mistakes

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

It might seem like simply showing up to the gym and getting on a treadmill or doing a bit of weight work is easy enough, but there are a few mistakes that could mean your workout isn't as effective as it should be.

We've identified a few of the most common mistakes so that you can make sure to avoid them. With this new knowledge, you can improve your workout routine and continue to get the results you want.

Skipping a warm-up

Think of your body and its muscles like a car - in order to get the best results, it needs time to warm up in order to perform as well as it can. You can't switch on the engine and immediately go from 0 to 60 with a smooth ride, and it's the same principle for your muscles. Warming up your body with stretches and some exercises to increase your heart rate before your workout means you will perform much better and minimise the risk of injury.

Lifting too much weight

It can be tempting to push your body to its limits by starting off with heavy weights but doing this can result in injury. Even when you've done your warm up stretches and cardio, let your body adjust to the weightlifting positions you're going to be doing and start off with something lighter or mid-weight. Once you've got through a set or two with this, move on up to an increased weight.

Improper posture

Being able to lift heavy weights means nothing at all if your posture and form isn't correct. Aside from having the potential to cause damage, poor posture can simply mean you aren't working the right muscles for the exercise. Slow and steady wins the race, so don't rush through your sets. Take the time to position yourself correctly and make sure you don't feel any discomfort.

Poor hydration

We all know that drinking water is good for us, but it's even more essential to stay properly hydrated when exercising. Working out and raising your heart rate puts a certain amount of stress on your body by raising its core temperature. Drinking water is the best way to keep the stress at bay and combat the effect of heating up in this manner. As well as being refreshing in the middle of a workout, water helps move essential nutrients around your body and flushes metabolic waste through your system post-workout. Plus, we lose a lot of water from our bodies when we sweat through a particularly gruelling workout so it's important to replenish this loss.

Skipping recovery time

Working out many times a week is good for keeping active, but if you don't allow your body to recover, your muscles will fatigue. Without rest, they won't be able to perform to the best of their ability and you could do some serious damage to your body. A top tip to allow recovery whilst remaining active throughout the week is to do what's called muscle splits - exercise one group of muscles per day to allow the groupings to recover on days when it isn't their turn. For example, start with chest, quads and shoulders (push muscles) at the beginning of the week, then the next day move on to back, hamstrings and biceps (pull muscles), then throw in some cardio the following day. Exercising on rotation like this gives your body the chance to rest while also ensuring it has a well rounded routine.

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