You’re the picture of perfect form, and you’d never be caught dead slacking off at the gym. Good. But even health nuts fall prey to these subtle (but serious) exercise mistakes.
Eating Too Much Before Your Workout
Check the back of your pre-workout “muscle” bar. Many are loaded with sugar that could make you crash midway through your regimen, says trainer and owner of Results Fitness, Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S. Also, pay attention to how your stomach feels during your workout.
Doing the Same Exercises Every Week
We don’t care if you like your routine. Every four to six weeks, you have to change it up. “If you’re doing the same exercises and weights, you aren’t putting an increased demand on your body and are wasting your time,” Cosgrove says.
Resting Too Long Between Sets
We all make fun of the guys who lift a bar twice and then walk around the gym, tapping on their phones for 20 minutes. But you might be surprised just how little rest the typical guy actually needs between sets. Unless you’re a bodybuilder and working toward a no-neck, you should never rest for more time than you just worked out, says Hoebel.
Taking Painkillers to Continue Working Out
Pain isn’t weakness leaving the body. It’s your body telling you something’s wrong. And covering up the pain with painkillers (which really just thwart your body’s ability to tell it’s in pain) can be dangerous, Cosgrove says. Besides inviting you to push too hard through the pain, causing injuries, any meds come with possible complications.
Not Working Your Abs Through a Full Range of Motion
A proper crunch doesn’t end with your back flat — it extends all the way into a back bend. And exercising only part of that range of motion will reduce the number of muscle fibers that fire, says Hoebel, who recommends performing ab exercises that involve both a full stretch and a contraction.
Stretching Before Working Out
Performing static stretching (think: bend and hold) before a workout can ruin your performance — and results. One recent Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study found that young men who static stretched before performing a squat diminished their strength by 8 percent and lower-body stability by 22 percent, compared to those who performed dynamic stretches pre-squat.