I’ve been going to the gym regularly (at least 3 times a week) for the past 3-4 months and I’ve seen or fallen prey to the inevitable mistakes that are made at the gym. I’ve compiled a list of the most common errors and what to do if you’re making them.
Lots of reps are good – WRONG
If you can do more than 10 reps, you’re not working hard enough. By doing a ton of reps, you’re just tiring yourself out. Fewer reps mean you can lift a heavier weight, which builds more muscle before you get fatigued and have to stop.
I remember being able to do 20+ benchpress reps with 5kg dumbbells – I thought I was the strongest guy in the gym! But then my friend showed me how he can do reps of 5/6 with 30kg dumbbells. All I was doing was effectively cardio – waving my arms up and down, whilst he was building muscle. I changed my technique and now I’m up to a 25kg benchpress.
To find out why I follow the ‘Stronglifts 5×5’ routine (and why it is the best gym workout) check out this blog post.
Form doesn’t matter – WRONG
Squatting is so much easier when you don’t break parallel (where your backside is lower than your knees). But if you continue like that you’ll develop knee and back problems and have to stop. If you make sure your form is correct from the beginning you won’t injure yourself and you’ll be able to lift more weight in the long term.
When I first started squatting, I had no-one to spot for me (and tell me if I wasn’t breaking parallel). My back started aching and I had to start again at a lower weight, making sure I was definitely breaking parallel. With proper form I got stronger slower, but no longer got back pain and was always able to walk the next day without feeling any knee pain.
Stretching out after workouts is also a good way to feel less pain the next day. Here’s my go-to stretch routine that works a treat.
Cardio is best for fat loss – WRONG
There are two ways to lose fat. Number 1 is to do a lot of cardio and hopefully burn it away. This requires a lot of energy, meaning you eat more, and don’t get anywhere fast. Number 2 is to lift weights. This approach is about building muscle to replace fat. The food that you eat is used to build the muscle, not fat, and as you get more muscular, fat is less likely to develop.
For my breakdown of Cardio vs. Weightlifting visit this blog post.
Thanks for reading, and remember you can email me at the10MinuteGuides@gmail.com if you have any questions or suggestions etc.