Nobody wants to spend time in the gym without getting any results or getting hurt. One of the most important things of the well-designed training program is not to get hurt while training. That said, here are 10 most common mistakes which every man does while he is training in the gym.
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, in order to learn proper exercise technique and strategies of 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 is something done. However, if you can, then pay a coach, and with that investment, you will ensure that you are lifting in a way to maximize your mass gain and strength while minimizing your risk of injuries.
2. Doing deadlift with a rounded back
This mistake is related with 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 doing lifting with rounded back a person’s spine can be damaged. The rounding of the spine can lead to “creep” of 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. In order to do so, think about slight “inward” curve of your spine. Also, keep your core tight throughout the exercise in order 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 in order 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 worm-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 which you are able to lift. That said, you will have a faster continuous progress. In case you are not sure you have wormed-up properly, an obvious sign would be sweat and shortness of breath.
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 in order 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.
However, cardio training is all about working hard. You can still work hard even if your muscles are fatigued, and elevate your heart rate and burn a lot of calories. Simply put: Cardio training is effort-based and lifting is performance-based.
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 a person who is inactive.
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 which contains electrolytes.
7. Doing sit-ups
When you have your feet tied down and your dominant force-producer are 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, improve your performance in most lifts and your posture as well.
8. Using machines
One of the most common arguments for the use of machines is that machines are safer, which is really ridiculous.
There is nothing safe when it comes to a fixed range of motion. Machines jam 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 burn 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 in order 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 an 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 to 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.
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.