10 Most Common Mistakes You Make In The Gym

Last Updated on Feb 29, 2024 by HappyDieter

Nobody wants to spend time in the gym during a workout session without achieving fitness goals or getting hurt. One of the most important things about a well-designed training program is not to get hurt while training. That said, here are the 10 most common mistakes you make in the gym that every man makes while he is training with workouts, exercises, and fitness. Being aware of these mistakes can significantly improve your gym experience and results.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn and practice proper techniques in weight training and strength training to avoid injuries and maximize the effectiveness of your workouts.

  • Prioritize a thorough warm-up routine before engaging in any workout or exercises to prepare your body for fitness.

  • Incorporate regular stretching exercises to improve flexibility, prevent muscle tightness, and enhance overall fitness.

  • Stay adequately hydrated before, during, and after your gym sessions and exercises to maintain optimal physical function.

  • Pay attention to your training nutrition to fuel your workouts and aid in muscle recovery and growth.

  • Avoid doing cardio before weightlifting to preserve energy and strength for resistance training.

1. Not learning proper technique

Too many men have back pain after squatting or shoulder pain after benching. The reason for that is an inappropriate technique.

Every person should train with a coach at one point, even if only for a few months, to learn proper exercise techniques and strategies for their training program.

In case you cannot afford a coach, you can always ask someone in the gym who, in your opinion, has the experience to show you how a workout is done. However, if you can, then pay a coach, and with that investment, you will ensure that you are lifting in a way to maximizes your mass gain and strength while minimizing your risk of injuries.

2. Doing deadlift with a rounded back

This mistake is related to the previous point. A lot of men do deadlifts, and also other pulling exercises and movements for that matter, with a rounded back. This is very wrong.

By lifting with a rounded back a person’s spine can be damaged. The rounding of the spine can lead to the “creep” of a spinal disc and eventually a “slipped disc” or bulge.

These injuries can be very excruciating, debilitating, and harmful. Next time, lift with a neutral spinal position. To do so, think about a slight “inward” curve of your spine. Also, keep your core tight throughout the exercise to maintain this position. This exercise requires trained technique. Therefore, make sure to train it properly and also don’t overdo it.

3. Not stretching enough

It is very unfortunate that most men spend way too much time just sitting during the day and that results in the occurrence of specific structural changes throughout the body, such as tight pecs, tight hip flexors, and tight cervical extensors, which is the muscle in the back of the neck.

Every day each man should spend some time stretching these groups of muscles to help restore proper range of motion around joints. This is especially important if you are going to the gym.

You should stretch properly before and after every training. Neglecting these areas will often inevitably lead to pain in your shoulders, neck, and back. Therefore, take some time to stretch during the day, even if you are not planning to go to the gym.

4. Not warming up properly

Almost every day, and especially on Mondays for some reason, men who are in the gym, do several exercises for their arms, with or without weight, and then they sit down on a bench and start lifting.

However, a proper warm-up will increase your circulation, range of motion, heart rate, and neural drive to the working muscles.

In addition, the result will be a decrease in injury risk and an increase in the reps and/or weight that you can lift. That said, you will have faster continuous progress. In case you are not sure you have warmed up properly, an obvious sign would be sweat and shortness of breath.

USS Bataan (LHD 5)_140420-M-HZ646-126
Photo by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet

5. Doing cardio before lifting

Traditional cardio workout, just as a warm-up, has a minimal number of benefits because it doesn’t do anything to increase the range of motion of the neural drive or working joints to the working muscles.

However, if you are doing cardio to lose weight, you should do it after you are done with lifting. By lifting the weight you will improve the intensity of the stimulus to your muscles, which you won’t do if you are exhausted from your cardio training.

Another common mistake you make in the gym is misunderstanding the nature of cardio training. Cardio training is all about working hard. You can still work hard even if your muscles are fatigued, elevate your heart rate, and burn a lot of calories. Simply put: Cardio training is effort-based and lifting is performance-based. Not recognizing this difference can lead to ineffective workouts and slower progress.

6. Inadequate hydration

A study has shown that 75% of people are chronically dehydrated. Even mild dehydration results in significant decrements in physical and mental performance.

It is recommended to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, which is a minimum to prevent dehydration in an inactive person.

However, people who are physically active need to drink at least twice that amount. In addition, you should be drinking water throughout the day. Try adding a splash of lemon or lemon slice to improve the taste, if you don’t like water. In case you are a heavy-sweater, you should replenish and retain the fluid you have lost with a drink that contains electrolytes.

7. Doing sit-ups

When you have your feet tied down and your dominant force-producer is your hip flexors, sit-ups can put a significant amount of force on the lower part of your back.

Furthermore, it reinforces the hunched on our posture we spend a significant amount of time throughout the day, which can have negative effects on our breathing, posture, and core strength.

Front and side planks, core stability exercises, actually activate the musculature of the core to a greater extent than exercises such as crunches, which “open up” the midsection a bit and teach the core to create stability through the midsection. By doing this, you will decrease the stress on your back, and improve your performance in most lifts and your posture as well.

Common Gym Mistakes - Gym Weight
Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

8. Using machines

One of the most common arguments for the use of machines is that machines are safer, which is ridiculous.

There is nothing safe when it comes to a fixed range of motion. Machines jam the joints of people into awkward positions, which makes them less safe in comparison with free weights.

Training with free weights requires that you use your muscles to control the weight and range of motion, and you are activating more muscles and burning more calories by using free weights rather than machines, which makes it a more effective strength-enhancing, muscle-building, and fat-burning solution. Machines are less functional because they don’t allow you to use your core to stabilize your midsection while going through the range of motion, just like you would in real life.

9. Doing steady-state cardio training

Steady-state cardio training is less effective in improving anaerobic capacity, less effective in improving aerobic capacity, and less effective in burning fat, compared to high-intensity interval training.

You should wonder yourself why are you doing it all. Interval training burns 9 times more fat compared to steady-state cardio. In addition, interval training sessions usually take about 20 minutes.

Think about doing all-out effort for 30 seconds, and then rest for 90 seconds for 10 intervals. This means that you have 5 minutes of actual exertion for far better results compared to 90 minutes of steady-state cardio. In case you have extra time to waste getting worse results, then you go for it. For the rest of you, there is interval training, which is a much better way.

10. Neglecting training nutrition

Your body is primed to load muscles with energy and fuel within around an hour of completing your training.

Therefore, if you give your body the right fuel during the training, you can stimulate the replenishment of muscle glycogen, which is fuel for high-intensity exercise, and protein synthesis, which is muscle growth.

If you neglect this, your body will go into a state of catabolism. However, if you are interested in burning more fat, you should consume a protein drink or a protein and carbohydrate drink if you want to build muscle.

One of the common mistakes you make in the gym is not paying attention to what you consume before your training. You should consume these drinks during or before your training, so the nutrients are available during your training because the digestion times are associated with certain nutrients. If you are an anti-supplement person then chocolate milk is an excellent choice for you. It is full of a quality carbohydrate/protein blend which gives similar results as the above drinks, but it can be tough on the stomach before your training. Neglecting this aspect of your gym routine can hinder your performance and results.


Now that you’re aware of these common gym mistakes, it’s time to take action. Focus on perfecting your form, warming up correctly, and incorporating stretching into your routine. Remember to stay hydrated, prioritize proper nutrition, and consider the order of your cardio and lifting sessions. Ditch those sit-ups and machines, and pay attention to how you deadlift. By making these adjustments, you’ll not only prevent injuries but also enhance your overall workout effectiveness.

So, next time you hit the gym, keep these pointers in mind to avoid the common mistakes you make in the gym. Your body will thank you for it! Stay mindful of these pitfalls, and watch how your fitness journey transforms. It’s all about progress, not perfection. Go crush those workouts! Remember, being aware of these common mistakes can significantly improve your gym experience and results.


Why is learning proper technique important in the gym?

Learning proper technique is crucial to prevent injuries and maximize results. Just like driving a car, you need to learn how to steer properly to reach your destination safely and efficiently.

How does not warming up properly affect my workout?

Not warming up properly can lead to muscle strains and decreased performance during your workout. It’s like expecting a cold engine to perform as well as a warm one – it just doesn’t work optimally.

Is stretching necessary before or after a workout?

Yes, stretching is essential both before and after a workout. It helps improve flexibility and range of motion and reduces the risk of injury. Think of it as preparing your muscles for action or helping them cool down afterward.

Why is hydration important during exercise?

Staying hydrated during exercise is vital for maintaining performance, preventing fatigue, and regulating body temperature. Imagine trying to water plants without enough water – they won’t thrive; similarly, our bodies need hydration for optimal functioning.

What role does neglecting training nutrition play in fitness progress?

Neglecting training nutrition hinders muscle recovery, growth, and overall performance improvements. It’s like building a house without quality materials – you won’t get the sturdy structure you desire if you don’t provide the right nutrients for your body.