Five mistakes you’re making in the gym

If you have not worked with a trainer regularly at your gym, do you ever wonder what they think about your workout? Now don’t worry; most trainers are not stalking you and trying to see what you are doing wrong. That being said, I wanted to share with you five things that personal trainers feel that people in the gym should be doing or not doing.

You rely on machines too much 

As technology has improved, so has fitness equipment. There are just a couple of problems with relying on machines to improve your fitness.

For one, a machine does not allow you to move through your body’s natural range of motion. Your stabilizer muscles and core are not called upon as much as they need to be in sports and in life. Most cardio and weight machines are only in the sagittal plane of motion.

The body has three primary planes of motion that it goes through; sagittal (forward and backward), frontal (side to side) and transverse (rotation). If you rely on machines too much you will not be able to improve your functional movement capacity in those planes of motions.

You don’t focus on breathing

Deep breathing recruits more oxygen needed by muscles to function efficiently while exercising. Shallow breathing moves your shoulders and your chest will raise and fall, while deep breathing moves your belly. If your belly is moving, you are moving your diaphragm thus breathing correctly.

You also want to pay attention to when you breathe. Breathe out on the exertion part of the movement instead of holding your breath, also known as the Valsalva maneuver. If you hold your breath you run the risk of becoming dizzy and increase your blood pressure.

You work too hard, too often 

I admire people who are willing to work out hard. Not everyone likes to and that is totally fine.

Training methodologies such as HIIT (high intensity interval training), Crossfit WOD’s, and long-distance running are all awesome ways to improve body composition and fitness. They burn a ton of calories and ramp up the metabolism in a short amount of time. Doing these too often can lead to overtraining thus halting your results.

You do too much cardio and not enough strength training 

Walk into any commercial gym and you will see endless amounts of Elliptical, treadmills, stair steppers and bikes. As stated earlier, cardio machines provide many benefits and have their place in a fitness routine. You just need to have a little more balance.

Instead of marrying yourself to one piece of cardio equipment, try multiple variations. My favorites are the Airdyne bike, Concept 2 Rower and Concept 2 Ski Ergometer. You can also get your cardio on with things such as battling ropes, circuit training with weights, and kettlebell swings.

You don’t pay attention to your hips

The core gets a lot of attention and for a good reason: A strong core is essential for sport, fitness and life. But in my opinion, it’s all in the hips. Sitting for long hours and most cardio routines tighten your hip flexors and shut down your glutes. The tension is a precursor to posture and low-back issues along with glute weakness. To help counteract these movements and keep your hips healthy, try the kneeling hip flexor stretch and hip thruster.

  • Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Kneel on your left leg, with the right leg bent at 90 degrees in front of you; place your right hand on the right hip and raise your left arm. Contract your glutes and shift your hips forward. Hold for 30-60 seconds and switch sides.
  • Glute Hip Lifts Lie down on your back and bend your knees until your feet are flat on the floor. Dig your elbows into the ground and clench your fists. Lift your hips up in the air tilting your pelvis forward. Hold at the top and squeeze your glutes for 5-10 seconds, lower slowly and repeat. Perform 5-10 reps.

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