It can be intimidating the first time you go to a gym. Even if you have the luxury of one of the trainers guiding you through your first session, you will still make mistakes. But that’s ok – we all did it. And the most important thing is that you’re at the gym, working out, bettering your health. Here are the most common rookie mistakes at the gym – and how not to make them.
1. You Wore a Regular Bra and Tried to Work out
The law of fluid dynamics says that unless you are an A cup, you are going to experience discomfort when working out with a regular bra on. It is great at fighting gravity, but doesn’t offer any sort of support or freedom in other directions. If you are lucky you will look a little silly trying to hold your boobs as your job up and down. If you are unlucky, you will come away with friction burns around your chest where your bra has dug into you.
2. You Only do Half Lifts
Men do this sort of thing all the time. They say they can do 100 pull ups or bench X amount and other men look at them cross-eyed, then when it comes time to prove it you see the guy only touches the pull-up bar with his forehead and doesn’t get his chin over, or he only benches half way and doesn’t bring the bar to his chest. Women can be just as guilty when working out. Women make the mistake out of inexperience as opposed to a desire to look good by supposedly doing more reps.
3. Not Keeping Your Back Straight when Doing Squats
Not keeping certain things level or straight is one of the more typical rookie mistakes at the gym. You are supposed to try to keep your back as straight as possible and get low without losing your balance. You then hold it half a second and slowly rise again without jerking up or forwards. You do have to bend your back a little, especially if you get near the floor because your lower back will be bent a little, but you are not supposed to just go with it. You are supposed to try to keep things as straight as possible.
4. Doing Too Much in One Day
Some people try exercising and hate it, but then once they are in the groove they want to keep going. They do too much and the day after they are in agony and cannot work out again for two weeks. It may feel nice when you are actually in the flow, but do not overdo it because your body will make you pay over the coming week. Take it reasonably slow and make sure you stretch before and after your workout. A massage on your hardest-worked muscles will also help stop any aching the day after.
5. Jerking Movements
We do them because it makes the moves easier and takes a little less effort than fully investing your muscles in the move. Sadly, it shortchanges your muscles so they do not work out as well, and jerking and yanking leads to repetitive strain injuries that can be intensely painful.
6. Holding Your Breath
You actually get this one from childhood. As a child you have little power or control over your own strength, and some children concentrate by holding their breath a little. You do it too when somebody whispers, “Listen” you find you automatically hold your breath without thinking so you can concentrate on what you may hear. Holding your breath during exercises, especially endurance stuff, is common--but not recommended.
7. Not Standing with Your Feet Wide Enough Apart
Some people are confused by the term “Shoulder width apart.” It means that if a javelin were to fall from directly above you and go through your shoulder, it would hit your foot as it reached the floor. It is a recommended stance, but it is up to you to make yourself comfortable. Some people need their feet wider apart because of the shape of their legs.
Follow these few tips and you can look like a professional even on your first day at the gym. What rookie mistakes did you make when you first started going to a gym?