Evade These 5 Common Fitness Mistakes We All Make
Gaining strength is easy when you start working out. “Your muscles go through a learning process, so you see progress whatever you do and however you do it,” says fitness coach Michael Boyle from Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning in Woburn, Massachusetts. “But after some time, when your muscles adapt and your progress slows down, you have to train much smarter to see results.”
If you feel you haven’t been making any progress lately you might be making these 5 mistakes:
Mistake No. 1 – You don’t work out your legs and glutes.
“Most workout plans are too focused on visible muscles [chest, arms, and shoulders],” says Boyle.
To be in great condition means working out those not-so-visible muscles as well. Your largest muscle groups, including the gluteus, are below your abdomen and by working them your body will generate more testosterone and every muscle in your body will develop faster thanks to it.
Try this: It’s time for extreme squats! Stand on a bench or something similar. One leg should be on the bench and the other in the air, while your arms should be beside you ready to balance if necessary. Do a one-legged squat and go as deep as you can. You’ve done one? Good, now take the pain and do 3 more after which you can do your other leg. Do 3 series in total.
Mistake No. 2 – You spend too much time on the treadmill.
“Pumping up mileage isn’t a complete waste of time, but it’s fairly close,” says Boyle.
Your body easily adapts to repetitive motions and running is exactly that. Also, running doesn’t activate fast-twitch muscle fibers which burn more fat and contribute to overall body strength.
Try this: Intervals of high intensity training, followed by a period of resting. Set your treadmill to an 8% incline and run for 30s. Then rest one minute. Repeat that 10 times. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, this workout procedure will develop your aerobic and anaerobic capabilities way better than running in a steady pace could ever do.
Mistake No. 3 – You lift weights too slow.
Vigorous weight lifting leads to faster progress. We asked Mike Boyle why – “It activates more fast-twitch muscle fibers which have more growth potential.”
It will raise your BPM, burn more fat and give better results. So, lift those weights in light speed!
Try this: Do your lifting as fast as you can, or rather as explosive as you can. “It doesn’t matter how fast you lift weights as long as it’s explosive,” Boyle advises. This way your body will activate more fast-twitch fibers, thus burning more calories and developing your muscles better. When you are lowering the weights, do it at a slower pace and give yourself at least 2 seconds.
Mistake No. 4 – You stay in your comfort zone.
Professional athletes don’t make progress by working on their strengths – they eliminate weaknesses as well, and so should you!
“Doing only those exercises that feel good, that don’t truly challenge you and that you feel comfortable doing actually leads to nowhere,” Boyle emphasizes.
Try this: Do complex exercises, i.e. those that will activate more muscle groups, like deadlifting – it activates your back, arms and legs muscles. Another great exercise is doing pull-ups or any other “street workout” exercise. They are the most difficult and painful exercises do to, but without them there is no real progress.
Bonus hint – When deadlifting, stand on two 25-pound weights and (or) grab the barbell wider than the width of your shoulders. These simple variations will enhance the effectiveness of your workout.
Mistake No. 5 – Basing your workout plan on machines.
Many believe that using machines is safer – but they are not doing themselves a favor. “The limited range of motion will jam your joints in awkward positions, making the exercise less effective and even less safe,” says Boyle.
Free weights make you control the weight and range of motion, so you activate more muscle groups and burn more calories – making it a much better muscle-building exercise.
Try this: Try to always challenge your balance, this will make your muscles work harder. For example, do reverse lunges while holding a dumbbell overhead in one hand. This will activate your shoulder stabilizers and your oblique’s on the side opposite to the dumbbell.
Always challenge yourself, stay away from your comfort zone and you will see progress. No pain no gain!