We are well into the new year and some of you may have noticed an increase in attendance at your local health club, gym, or fitness facility. I enjoy the excitement and freshness that the new year brings; however, I want people to realize that we don't have to wait for the new year to focus on our fitness goals. But that is another issue :) Having said that, hopefully you are currently working towards your fitness, sport, or wellness goals. I want to share with you some common exercise/training mistakes that I see individuals make.
1. Not warming up properly
Warming up is often overlooked in training; however, it is beneficial in aiding to prevent injury and increase the quality of your workout. There are many ways to warm up, but we want to choose a dynamic (with movement) warm up. The goal in warming up is to increase our heart rate, our core temperature, and increase blood flow to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Warming up increases the range of motion in our joints and prepares us mentally to train at a top level. It doesn't have to be very time consuming, but allot yourself enough time to excite the central nervous system and to increase blood flow to the muscles.
2. Having an unbalanced training approach
The term unbalanced can apply to several things when talking about exercise. A few examples of an unbalanced training plan that I frequently see are:
- A lot of cardio and little to no strength training
- All upper body - All the time
- The mirror plan
3. Poor technique and form
Unfortunately this is far too common in gym settings and can lead to injury. Whether it be from a lack of knowledge on how to execute the lifts/exercises properly, or the individual is being impatient and rushing through the workout, technique is sacrificed. Just because you lifted the weight doesn't mean you lifted it correctly. Check your ego...too much weight contributes to poor technique and can lead to serious injury.
4. Overlooking the importance of flexibility
It is extremely beneficial to focus on stretching. This area is often overlooked, but you can benefit immensely with the addition of a stretching routine to complete your workout. Stretching aids in increasing your range of motion in the joints and helps minimize muscle soreness.
In summary, you need a well rounded training plan coupled with a sound nutritional approach that can be adjusted according to your needs. If you are having trouble finding the right workout for you, consult with a qualified fitness professional who can assist you with your fitness needs.