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A Trainer's Take on Common Gym Mistakes

By HERWriter
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Common Gym Mistakes: A Trainer's Take AntonioDiaz/Fotolia

Are you feeling like your time in the gym is just, well, time in the gym? Do you still look the same, even though you think you are working hard?

From my vantage point of working as a trainer for many years, I’ve seen numerous mistakes. Some of them really stand out.

Sorry Squats

Yep, the basic squat. You know, the one your toddler can execute perfectly. This is the exercise that I see performed the most incorrectly.

I often see hips jutting forward, putting a strain on the lower back. The other common miss on form is when you bend to far forward with your knees going over your toes. You want your knees aligned with your heels.

Crunches Gone Wrong

Did you ever do a ton of crunches only to have a sore neck and no effect on your abs? The reason is that you are not initiating the movement from your abdominals. My suggestion is to do a crunch first, without doing a crunch.

No, that was not a typo. Inhale and pull your abs in tight. Now, imagine you are lifting your head up higher and pull you abs in deeper and exhale. Once you have gotten this down, start by lifting your head up slightly. Remember, it is not about how high you can lift your head, but how deep you can pull in your abs.

Core Clueless

All exercises, not just the above-mentioned crunches should have a foundation from the core. If you do a squat without pulling in your abs, you may end up using your back. If you do a bench press without pulling in your abs, you’ll likely lift your low back off of the bench, using less of the pectoralis muscles you are trying to work.

Unbalanced Upper Body

Speaking of the chest press, did you ever know someone (most likely a guy) who seems to always be benching? In the fitness industry we call this the UBNL Club, which stands for Upper Body, No Legs. It is important to work the total body for optimum results and less overuse injuries.

Not Mixing It Up

The UBNL Club isn't the only club, there are lots of others. There are the people who only go to one type of class. You know who they are. They line up outside the studio waiting for their favorite Zumba instructor. They come in with only a rolled up mat and flip-flops.

Now, I love and have certifications in both, but I also know that doing the same type of yoga repeatedly, or only doing one form of group exercise class can limit your results.

Not Enough Time

We're all familiar with the ultimate excuse — I do not have enough time to workout, so I am just not going to do anything.

Yes, I have been guilty of only going to the club to take a shower. My reasoning, however, was that I just wanted to take a leisurely shower and blow-out my hair, without hearing, “Mommy, mommy.”

Seriously, you can get a great workout in in as little as 15-20 minutes. Pick a body part and work it hard!

Too Much Time on My Hands

The opposite of not enough time, is too much time. This is for those who overdo it. They spend two hours doing cardio, followed by an hour of lifting weights, then two hours in the locker room followed by an hour in the café. You are may begin to wonder if they actually have a home.

These are the people I see a lot. Then they disappear, due to injury. A more focused workout is the best approach, targeting a specific routine.

Joanne Sgro-Killworth's Bio:

Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist and Publicist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training. Joanne's fitness plans, recipes and lifestyle advice are available globally on her website.

Reviewed October 2, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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