You probably do a lot of things wrong when it comes to a proper workout routine. Don’t worry though. Everyone makes mistakes. The key is recognizing what you’re doing wrong and immediately fixing the problem. This ensures that your physique and performance can rise to the next level.
In this article, I identify the most common training mistakes. These can be detrimental to any trainee. After reading about the different mistakes, re-evaluate your program to see what you need to do to become a smarter and better-performing athlete.
Training can be a complex endeavor; it’s easy to make mistakes. Avoid the big five to be way ahead of the curve and en route to better performance.
1. Training ADHD
In my opinion, this is the number one mistake most gym-goers make. Contrary to popular belief, doing Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program for three weeks, then switching over to “Westside training” for four weeks, then doing a brief stint with P90X for two weeks won’t really get you anywhere. To actually see results, you need to pick a program and stick with it. When was the last time you trained on a program for three to four months? If you’re like most people, it’s probably been awhile, or never.
In order to see lasting gains, you have to work on getting a little better each workout. It takes patience. After all, that’s the way the human body works. It needs time to adapt and show improvement. Don’t shortchange the process. Give your body the opportunity to shine. Once you have selected a program, don’t add your own tweaks and modifications. When you do this, you’re no longer following the program, so your results cannot be measured against the program guarantees.
2. Too Many Competing Demands
Often, a trainee will want to get bigger, stronger, faster, and more lean. Nothing wrong with that, but there is something wrong when you train to develop all those attributes at the same time. The majority of training mistakes are the result of too much information and confusion. Why make things difficult? Choose one attribute that you want to develop and go all out in that quest.
Let’s say you want to improve your strength. Then your training should reflect what a strength-based program would look like. It shouldn’t look like you are getting ready to take your shirt off for a modeling campaign. Likewise, if you are training for fat loss, your program shouldn’t appear as if you are getting ready to throw on a bench press shirt for a powerlifting competition. It sounds simple, but a lot of the time, that’s what you need.
3. No Mobility Work
Although numerous factors can cause a specific injury, the common denominator I have found is a lack of mobility. Whether in the hips or shoulders, this deficiency forces other muscles to pick up the slack, ultimately leading to injury. For example, if your hips aren’t moving freely, the low back has to work overtime to do a job it’s not supposed to be doing. Moral of the story: you need to spend time working on your mobility!
Here are two drills you can perform to loosen up tight hips.
Begin on all fours. Make a big circle with one knee, making sure to work the hip through its full range of motion in all 3 planes.
Seated 90/90 Mobilization
Sit on a bench and prop one ankle up on top of the opposite knee. Place your hand on the inside of the top knee and ankle. Push down gently on that knee until you feel a stretch through the backside of your hip. Release and repeat.
4. All Sagittal, All the Time
Look at the line of machines at your local gym. What do they have in common (besides half of them being “out of order”)? Most of them are for movements that go front-to-back in the sagittal plane (think of a Seated Chest Press).
This training mistake is bound to set you up for injury. As an athlete, you’re required to work in the frontal (side-to-side) and transverse (rotational) planes on the field and in life. Below are some frontal and transverse plane exercises that you can incorporate into your program right now to improve your performance.
· Side Lunge (lower body strength)
· Side-Lying Leg Raise (hip abduction strength/mobility)
· Side Plank (anti-rotational core strength)
· Side Medicine Ball Toss (upper-body power)
· Rotational Lunge (lower-body strength, often done with a medicine ball)
5. The 23/1 Rule
You can do all the right things in the gym for an hour. But do you then head back home to lie around? Reverting back to the habits you were trying to break in the weight room means you will lose every time. Your posture is incredibly important to ensure optimal performance. Many athletes suffer from poor posture habits. To improve it, heed the following recommendations:
1) Set an alarm on your computer every half hour to remind you to sit up straight.
2) When you walk, make a fist and turn your thumbs out. Focus on opening up your chest.
Photo credit: dearkelly.com