We recently asked a certified trainer what the most common mistakes are that they see in the gym. We came up with 14 do’s and don’ts—and we thought, “Why not make a video for this one?” So we did! Here are 14 mistakes to avoid in the gym and how to correct them. You can find our video at the bottom of the page!
1 | Squats
We want your knees to stay strong for as long as possible. To help with this, you need to perform your squats correctly. What you don’t want is your knees buckling together, this is a recipe for injury. Instead, bring your knees just hip distance apart or a little wider (this is different for everyone), point your toes slightly outward, engage your core, and allow your body to squat down while keeping your knees parallel to one another. Engaging your core will help you to keep a flat back, and allow for you to successfully squat with less chance of injury in the long run.
2 | Lat Pull-Down
We often see people pulling the lat pull-down bar behind their head. This is dangerous and not the correct way to use the machine. Instead, sit down on the bench, make sure that your quads have enough room to fit under the pads, grab the bar, and pull the bar straight down to your chest. Slow and controlled is key, do not swing your back! We promise this will be much more effective, and less harmful to your back!
3 | Deadlifts
Deadlifts are, in our opinion, one of the best exercises that you can perform. They work your legs, arms, traps, shoulders, glutes, and much more! However, this is also one of those exercises where our coaches see a ton of mistakes being made. Keep your legs hip distance apart and the bar just outside of your knees. Make sure that your back is straight, hinge at the hips, and let your arms go down to the floor slowly. Do not round your back. When you round your back, you are just asking for injury. Instead, keep your core engaged, and breathe through the exercise. Start with light weights until you have the perfect form and then move up from there! There is no shame in starting small and perfecting an exercise before moving up.
4 | Bench Press
When you are on the bench, you want to make sure that you are not arching your back. Instead, lie down flat on the bench with the dumbbells in your hands, then lift the dumbbells to shoulder width above your chest. Next, make sure that your hands are facing the wall opposite your head, and slowly and controlled, lift the dumbbells or bar up. Once the weight is lifted, pause, and then slowly bring the weight back down to starting position. This is a move that you do not want to rush through, make sure that you breathe and are performing the workout slowly and controlled.
5 | Rowers
We love our rowers. Whether you are in a team training class or taking advantage of the rowers on the gym floor, you should always be aware of your form. Instead of scrunching your shoulders to your ears, or hunching your back to grab the handles, bend your knees and extend your arms to grab the bar. Keep your back flat and thrust your legs back until they are straight. As your torso pulls up, pull the bar straight back to your chest while keeping your head and neck tall.
6 | Pushups
Plank it good! When it comes to the perfect pushup, the perfect plank is what you need to focus on. If you feel your hips hitting the floor before there is even a bend in your arms—you are doing it wrong. Instead, hold a sturdy plank by keeping your core and glutes engaged, and slowly lower yourself while bending your elbows to make the perfect lowercase “t” with your body all while breathing in. Then, exhale and push yourself back up to the starting plank position. Now you’ve done it! The perfect pushup.
7 | Planks
Speaking of planks, we also don’t want to see that booty in the air! Engage your core, glutes, and keep a flat back, this will help you to—you guessed it—avoid back injury, and will make your plank much more effective. Bring on the shakes!
8 | Pull-Ups
We get it; pull-ups are hard! However, swinging your legs to get you to where you want to be is a big no-no. Instead, work on using your upper body strength to pulllll your bodyweight up, while engaging your muscles. To help make sure that you are not swinging your lower body, play dead! If your legs are dangling like dead weight, you are less likely to use them for momentum.
9 | Hydrate
Next—stay hydrated! Your body is about 60% water. When you lose water during a workout through sweat, it needs to be replaced. This means drinking at least 8 oz of water per twenty minutes of exercise. When you don’t hydrate yourself, your body becomes fatigued which means that you will not be performing at maximum effort. One simple rule of thumb—if you pass the water fountain, take a sip!
10 | Lunges
Lunges are one of the most effective lower body exercises, and most useful. Make sure that you keep a straight back when dropping down into a lunge. If your knees are going over your toes, you are doing it wrong. Take a step back and re-adjust. Your knees should stay behind your toes and right over your ankle. When you finally perform that perfect lunge your knees will thank you!
11 | Shoulder Raises
You want sculpted shoulders to show off in the summer, right? Well, to get those, you don’t need to be swinging your arms around willy-nilly. When working those shoulders with shoulder raises, do not bring your arms higher than shoulder height. Instead, slowly start with your weights beside your hips and pull your weights up until they just reach shoulder height, then go down again. Slow and steady is critical for shoulder raises!
12 | Resting on the Treadmill
Cardio is hardio—we get it! But that doesn’t mean your treadmill turns into a resting spot. Instead of resting your body on the arms of the treadmill, stand up tall and only use those handles when you feel like you need stability.
13 | Kettlebell Swings
We love kettlebell exercises. The key to an excellent kettlebell swing—fluidity! Make sure that you are not pausing in the middle of the movement. Instead, think of your arms like a wrecking ball, you want to completely swing to gain the most momentum, using your legs to power through the movement.
14 | Post-Workout Recovery
Finally—fuel yourself! If you just got done with a powerful workout, you need to get nutrients back into your body. To do this, either grab a delicious Chuze Smoothie or snack on a banana or power bar. Keeping yourself nourished will prevent you from suffering from dehydration, lightheadedness, and even muscle loss!
For more on these Do’s and Don’ts, check out the video below! If you like what you see make sure to click “Like” and “Subscribe.” We put out a new video every month to help you keep on track with your health goals!