Fundamental mistakes in the gym

Spent all day in work at the gym helping out people where i could, and noticed i was telling the same things to almost everybody. These are just a few of the fundamental mistakes made in the gym.  If you can correct these, you will be well on your way to a better workout!

Holding onto the treadmill

If you cant cope with the speed/incline without holding on to the rails, your speed/incline is too great.  Reduce it until you can do it un-aided.  The only people who should be holding onto the railings are those who cannot walk un-aided in their everyday lives.  Trust me, you will get a much better workout by letting go.

Doing partial repetitions

Partial reps are when you reduce the range of movement in an exercise.  A classic example is pressups – when you only bend your arms a little bit, and your chest does not touch the floor.  Again, the only people who should be cutting moves down are those who are injured or in re-hab.  If you find it too hard to do the full range, then do a slightly easier version – there is nothing wrong with doing that!  It is a stepping stone towards the harder version, and it will help keep your joints healthy and strong.

Not working nearly hard enough.

There were many people sitting on the bikes, peddling slowly on an easy level watching the cricket.  As a rule of thumb, if what you are doing is so easy you can comfortably breath through your nose, your not really exercising!  The bare minimum should be that you are forced to breath through your mouth!  So if you ever find yourself peddling away nicely, breathing though your nose….peddle harder!

Hunching your backs.

This one is important for back health, so listen up!  With very few exceptions, almost everything you do in the gym should be done with an upright back (I think of a classic Sergeant Majors military posture – stomach in, chest out, head up).  If you keep hunching over, you will severely limit what you can do, and are very likely to bugger your back up before too long.

Never changing speed.

This is aimed at the more athletic of you.  When we join a gym, we are told to do resistance work at a “slow” speed…for safety.  I much prefer telling people to do their resistance work at a “controlled” speed.  For absolute beginners, this is invariably “slow”.  But for more advanced people, this can mean almost any speed!  I was discussing this with a group lads who were into their freerunning (where you cross your town in a straight line, regardless of what roads, bridges, walls, canals, tunnels stairs are in your way).  These guys are true acrobats, jumping, tumbling, spinning, twisting, landing, climbing all over the urban landscape.  And they were telling me it was “unsafe” for them to move a 10kg weight at any speed other than “dead slow”?? For more advanced trainers, as long as your workouts are done in a “controlled” manner, you can do them at almost any speed safely.

Ignoring advice

I know this sounds like me complaining and moaning, but it still suprises me when people pay their hard earned cash to get advice from people, but then ignore them because it is different from what some infomercial said!  Grr!