Mistakes people make in the gym that drive me nuts

Published 2:22 pm Friday, August 13, 2010

Having been a personal trainer for some 25 years, errors people make in the gym jump out at me.

These mistakes not only drive me nuts, they keep people from making real progress. Also, most are easily corrected.

The first thing to remember is that just because you darken the door of a gym, or a personal training studio, doesnt mean that you are going to make progress. Here are a few ways to take poor situations, and turn them around to your benefit.

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#1) Sacrificing good form for speed.

When Im working with a client, I not only pace the workout, I pace every movement. When weight training, there are two points of stress. The muscles and the joints.

The goal here, is to take pressure off joints, and put it on the muscles. By performing exercise movements slowly, most of the pressure is put on the muscle, not the joints.

This keeps joints healthy, while working the muscles more effectively. Youll also burn more calories by slowing your repetition movements.

#2) Not warming up properly.

This is a big one! There is a lubricating fluid that surrounds joints, called synovial fluid. Before exercise, this fluid is thick, sort of gel like. When you warm up before you work out, this fluid takes on more of a viscous consistency. This better lubricates the joints to protect them.

#3) Not staying hydrated.

Remember, youre constantly losing water from your skin, and your breath. What I tell clients is this if your skin is damp, youve lost pints of water. If your skin is wet, youve lost quarts.

Also, muscle is 70 to 75 percent water, so if you are dehydrated, its like running on flat tires. Drinking cool water will burn more calories, than drinking tepid water, because you body has to warm up the cool water to your body temperature.

Be careful though. If youre really hot, cool down some first, before you drink really cold water. If your body is really hot, cold water could throw you into shock.

#4) Doing weight training exercises in the wrong order.

Although there are many different weight training strategies, that I dont have room in this writing to go into, one of the most basic, is to train larger muscles to smaller ones. In other words, start your workouts, by training your larger muscle groups, then work your way to your smaller ones.

Your training order should go something like this. Legs, back, chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and abs. Always do your abs last. The reason for this is that abdominal muscles are stabilizer muscles. You cant do any exercise without using you abs. If you work them early on, in your routine, youll be weaker for all your other exercises.

Nutrition or fitness question?&bsp; Email me at dwcrocker77@gmail.com or visit fitness4yourlife.org &bsp;

David Crocker of Landrum has served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., strength coach, S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, and Converse college equestrian team. He taught four semesters at USC-Union. David is also a regular guest of the Pam Stone Show. David also served as lead trainer to L.H.Fields Modeling Agency.