Top 10 Gym Mistakes

The gyms are full this time of year and I am forever cringing as I see people train with techniques that went out with purple wallpaper!

Here are the ‘top ten’ things that make me wonder quite how effective the industry is at getting important information across to the public. If you find yourself doing any of the below change your habits and get some good advice as soon as possible.

1. Lifting huge weights without any technique – This I see often and call it the ‘pub poser’s method’ of weight training. These guys, unfortunately young guys are most commonly found doing this, are normally in a dare with each other with machismo being the only winner. There is serious risk here not only to themselves but also to others around them. ‘Effortless control’ is what I try to persuade my clients to achieve; this is where it is hard work but looks easy.

2. Using Momentum not Muscles – Again a technique issue. The best and safest method of weight control is to be in control of the weights at all times. If you cannot pause with the weight at any one point in a movement you are not in control.

3. Bad sit up technique – If you have read previous issues of this article you will understand that we are continually using our stomach muscles. We should question why we are encouraged to do so many sit ups anyway. It is well documented that we are unable to reduce fat from that area by doing a hundred sit ups a day, it is more complex than that, unfortunately. Straight leg sit ups, pulling on necks, using momentum, lifting feet six inches off the floor etc, etc. These are all medically proven to be damaging for most people. The big ball is a good place to do sit ups but you should really be trying to squeeze your bottom rib towards the top of your pelvis rather than trying to ‘sit up.’

4. Not bothered to hydrate – I often see individuals without their own supply of fluid. On a day without exercise we require close to 2 litres of fluid. When exercising at high intensities outdoors we would be sensible to drink about 1 litre about every hour. Indoors you could probably add another 300ml per hour, as your sweat loss will be greater.

5. Stretching badly or not at all – Ideas about stretching are changing, pre-stretching is not as important if you are carrying out low intensity activities, whereas post-stretching is becoming increasingly important and often neglected. I still see people pulling hard on cold muscles, bouncing unnecessarily and double toe touching all contraindicated activities.

6. Doing weird things on the stepper – Tiny little steps, taking all of your weight through your arms, leaning too far forward and bouncing up and down like Penelope Pistop! Use nearly full range of movement and maintain good posture throughout, if you are unable to take your hands off you are not carrying the exercise out very well.

7. Simply over doing it – Regularly people complain about how sore they were the next day, and normally worse the day after that. Go at a pace that is sensible. You are not going to have a massive impact upon your health and shape with only one visit to the gym. Try to follow a programme that will logically progress you over a six/eight week period then re-evaluate where you are.

8. Not concentrating – You are probably wasting you time if you have come to the gym to watch the television or to read a magazine article about ‘How to get a six pack in two minutes by eating ten Mars bars!’ Concentrate and plan what you are going to do and your success will be greater.

9. Falling off the treadmill – I have seen it several times and still hurts to watch. Do not push several buttons on the machine and then try to jump on or catch up with it to frantically slow it down. Start off slowly and let the machine get up to the speed you have set before you increase it any more.

10. Wearing useless trainers – Footwear is vital to reduce injury. If your trainers are more than a year old and you have worn them regularly it is time for some new ones. Trainers are designed to degenerate so if you are a high user you would be well recommended to replace your trainers every six months or so.

Do not be one of the many carrying out any of the top ten gym gaffs. If you need help in your training get in touch with Steve Young 07711 246651 for more details of what Personal Training could do for you, or look on line at

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