These 12 Gym Mistakes Are Causing You Injury. Fix Them Now
The good thing about exercise-related injuries is that they are preventable. When you are so eager to lose weight (or bulk up) you might end up making one of these common gym mistakes that increase your likelihood of getting an injury.
The most common injuries are back pain, muscle pulls, shoulder injuries, knee injuries, shin splints, and tendinitis.
Go down this list to find out if you are guilty of a common gym mistake:
Pre Workout Mistakes
1. Skipping warmup
Fitness personality Jillian Michaels compares warming up your muscles pre-workout to warming rubber before pulling it, to make it more flexible and therefore less likely to snap.
You are more likely to injure a muscle when you exercise without warming up. When you are properly warmed up, your body temperature is higher and your blood flows faster.
A warm-up before workouts leads to better circulation and range of motion, because of improved muscle elasticity. Skipping warm-up is one of the most common gym mistakes.
The best warmup is tailored to the specific type of exercise that you are going to do. Runners might jog, and weight lifters might start with lighter weights.
2. Not stretching before workouts
Dynamic stretching before a workout prepares your soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, etc) for optimum performance and keeps them from injury. Dynamic stretching is controlled movements like hip circles or lunges.
When you stretch and hold a position for up to 45 seconds, you are making a static stretch.
After a 5-10 minute warm-up, with low or moderate-intensity jogging, cycling, or swimming, you can have dynamic stretching before your workout. Five minutes of stretching is good enough.
3. Static stretching pre-workout
Before a workout, you are trying to warm up your body in preparation for the exertion of a workout.
A static stretch is holding one position for up to 30 seconds, such as a hamstring stretch. What you need is to do dynamic stretching, which warms up your body instead of cooling it down.
When you perform some light punches and kicks, for example, you are performing dynamic stretches ideal for a kickboxing workout. The light punches and kicks warm up your legs, arms, hands, spine, and core.
4. Not consulting a professional
Everyone should talk to a physician before embarking on an exercise regime.
Whether you’re in your 30s trying to lose belly fat or over 55 trying to improve cardiovascular health, it always helps to get someone on your side. The best doctor is familiar with your medical history.
Gym Mistakes During Workout
Focusing too much on the same muscles will strain them and lead to injuries. Don’t repeat similar movements too frequently.
To prevent injuries like shin splints, don’t focus on the same sets of muscles on consecutive days.
You could focus on the upper body one day and on your legs the second day. Or you can do full-body workouts every other day.
If you are overweight, you might want to limit high impact workouts to twice a week, and do more knee friendly workouts for the rest of the days.
6. Training too hard
‘No pain, no gain,’ can be misleading. You don’t have to push your limits with every workout. Perform high-intensity workouts sessions 3 times a week. Or 4 at the maximum.
This leaves you with 3-4 days for rest. When you don’t work out for a day, or when you do light exercises, your body recovers. In the long run, consistency will get you better results than intensity.
7. Bad form
During circuit training like CrossFit, people are often so keen on keeping up with everyone else that they ignore form.
This is dangerous because it can easily lead to injuries. It is better to do fewer repetitions but to do it properly. For beginners, it is always wiser to focus on getting the correct form than counting the number of repetitions.
Whether you are executing a squat or a box jump, the most important thing is to do it properly. Once it becomes second nature to perform a move in the right form, you can now start to focus on keeping up with everyone else.
8. Doing too much too soon
Beginners should start with more moderate workouts and build up the intensity and duration of their workouts week by week.
For example, you can do 20-minute workouts during your first week and increase your workout duration to one hour over the next two or three weeks. Going from zero to one hundred is never a good idea.
Post-Workout Gym Mistakes
9. Not stretching after workouts
Some people think that stretching is the same as warming up, but it is not. Static stretching helps to reduce your heart rate following a strenuous workout.
Your muscles are already properly warmed up and ready to stretch. After a workout, your range of motion and flexibility is still high.
This is because of the plasticity of warmed up muscles.
Stretching reduces injury muscle soreness after a workout. And especially at night, bedtime stretches can help you sleep well.
Static stretching is ideal for cool down because it helps to maintain form and reduce injuries, caused by Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
10. Not getting enough sleep at night
This is one common ‘gym mistake’ that does not necessarily happen in a gym. So many people are sleep deprived that it seems normal but it is not.
You need sleep to build muscles and become leaner.
When you are in deep sleep, your body produces growth hormones that spur muscle repair, recovery, and growth. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you open the floodgates to injuries.
Compromising on sleep doesn’t just compromise muscle building, it also leads to weight gain. To achieve eight hours of sleep per night, cut down on alcohol, don’t use electronic devices at bedtime, and use a good mattress.
11. Not setting aside recovery time
Sometimes you feel so good after a workout that you want to start another one. This would be a mistake.
Your muscles grow during your days of rest and recovery. Your body is more vulnerable to injuries when you don’t give it time to heal in between strenuous workouts.
One thing that adds to your recovery time is foam rolling, which helps to soothe your sore muscles and smooth out knots. Foam rolling is simply rolling about on a roll of foam.
12. Waiting too long to eat
Don’t wait more than two hours after a workout to refuel.
You need healthy carbohydrates to restore energy, and protein to support the repair of the muscles. Fifteen to twenty grams of protein is ideal. Stronger muscles are less prone to injury.