There’s a lot of misinformation out there and it’s easy to see something on Instagram, include it into your routine and end up with a sub-optimal workout.
Whether you're new to fitness or an experienced gym-goer, being aware of these common pitfalls can make a significant difference in reaching your fitness goals. By recognising and correcting these errors, you'll be able to have a more effective workout routine that yields better results and reduces frustration.
Common exercise mistakes to avoid
Keeping your exercises in a single plane of movement
Chaining up similar types of exercises is a great way to build your workout. For example, going from tuck jumps to squats can help with both explosive power and endurance. However, it’s possible that going from one exercise straight to another of the same style might be difficult for some. For example, if you try push ups and then follow that up with mountain climbers, then you’re maxing out your arms and core with the first exercise, and using them again without rest in the second. This might be just too much stress at one time for your muscles, tendons and joints.
You can avoid these problems by putting some variation in the exercises you chain together. This means you do an exercise in one plane of movement, then follow it with an exercise in another. For example, you can start with press-ups and then follow that with weighted rows, which use the opposing muscles instead of hitting the same muscles again.
Sticking to a single set of dumbbells
It’s not uncommon to go to a class where the instructor will ask you to grab some dumbbells and you’ll end up using them throughout the entire session. It’s even quite easy to grab something too light so you don’t end up overloaded as you work out, or something too heavy and struggling with the exercises.
Avoid this by asking advice from your instructor. Ask them what they’re planning for the session and whether you should pick a weight on the lighter side or the heavier side. Then carefully choose more than a single set of weights and switch between them if you want to switch the workout up.
Leaving your core workout to the end
There are so many benefits to combination exercises because they can build muscle and get your heart going. The thing about most combination exercises is that many rely on the core, and if your core isn’t flexible and strong then you might not be getting the most from your workout. If you do warmup exercises on your core before your main workout, you’ll be in a good position to avoid injury.
The best way to fix this is to do some planks or other core exercises before your main workout, and also make sure to pay attention to your core while you’re doing exercises such as deadlifts.
Neglecting strength training
Spin classes are a great way to lose weight and burn calories, but there’s a good reason you shouldn’t rely on them alone and should add some strength training to your routine. While endurance workouts can be beneficial for endurance sports, they won’t help you with more explosive activities such as jumps and squats, which require more strength and muscle.
The fix for this is to add strength training into your routine. You could aim to do one or two sessions per week, with four to five sets and keeping the reps under ten. Start off with weights that you’re comfortable with and aim to increase the load to about seventy per cent of your max.
Using an unstable surface the wrong way
A bosu ball is a great way to do unstable surface training but many people use it upside down. The correct way to do it is to put the flat side of the bosu ball on the floor, and stand on the soft side.
This is an easy one to fix, just flip it over. You’ll likely find it more manageable, feel you’re getting the benefits and probably be safer too.