One of the reasons folks new to the gym benefit from the assistance of a certified personal trainer is starting things off on the right foot. While it’s probably true that any program in the gym will have some noticeable benefit if it means it gets you off the couch, you’re much better off if you know what you’re doing. If you’re ready to hit the gym solo, don’t make these four common strength training mistakes.
You Avoid the Free Weights
It’s normal to feel more comfortable with the machines when you’re new to the gym, especially because they come with handy diagrams that show you what you’re supposed to be doing. Opting for the free weights, however, will help you build more strength and coordination. It’s especially important to use proper technique with free weight exercises. A personal trainer can break down the movements in these exercises, but if you’re training alone, try looking online for video tutorials. It’s good to mix up your routine with both machines and free weights, but try making these swaps next time you train:
- Push ups instead of the chest press
- Single leg hip thrusts instead of hamstring curls
- Inverted rows instead of lat pulldowns
- Planks instead of ab crunches
You Limit Your Range of Motion
If you worry that full range of motion is dangerous – i.e., deep squats are bad for the knees, or locking out the joints keeps your muscles engaged – here’s the research that says otherwise. Full range of motion in your exercises is a safe way to build more muscle and strength gains. The catch, again, is ensuring that you use correct form.
You Always Go to Failure
If you push yourself in every set so that the final rep is impossible, you may be working a little harder than necessary. When you stop just a few reps shy of failure, you’re more likely to maintain proper form for the duration of the exercise. And when you avoid bad technique, you’re also decreasing your chance of injury.
You Have No Plan
If you routinely wander around the gym, stopping at open machines here and there, you’re not being very efficient. Make a plan, stick to the plan, and you’ll move toward those fitness goals that much faster. Again, this is where having a personal trainer is an asset. They create a personalized fitness plan that will help you accomplish your goals safely and efficiently, without wasting time or putting you at risk of injury. Plus, working with a trainer will ensure that you’re learning proper technique from the get-go.
If you’re interested in learning more about the personal training program here at Framework Personal Training in Reno, contact us today. Our certified trainers are ready to help you improve your health and fitness today.