If I had to pick to hit the gymnasium for the first time, the scientists insert
Personal trainers spend all day watching people work out, so they are well versed in the biggest mistakes we make when we’re sweating it out at the gym. We asked trainers from Crunch, Equinox, and Sports Club/LA to tell us the worst things they see people doing over and over when exercising in the gym. Here are the 10 biggest mistakes people make at the gym - and how to avoid them!
- Doing squats and lunges incorrectly. These fitness mainstays are easy to do anywhere, but they are often done incorrectly, says Caitlin Ritt, a private trainer at Sports Club/LA. “The biggest mistake I see people do over and over in the gym is squats and lunges with the weight in their toes and their heels coming up off the ground,” she says. “I have clients come to me all the time complaining about knee pain, and as soon as I get them to keep the weight through their heels, almost always the knee pain goes away.” Correctly doing squats and lunges will not only help prevent injuries, but will also engage your glute muscles. And that, as Caitlin reminds us, “is the way to a firmer and tighter butt!”
- Doing the same routine all the time. Don’t just go to the gym on autopilot. “You need to mix it up in order to avoid boredom and plateauing,” says Lauren Fairbanks, a personal trainer at Equinox. Dedicate different days to focusing on a different aspect of your fitness routine, and don’t be shy about trying new exercises; it helps rest overused muscles.
- Relying on the machines. Gyms are filled with rows of machines, and often people think that’s all they should be using at the gym. “Machines are horrible,” says Tim Rich, a personal training manager at Crunch. “They push you through a guided plane of motion, which could cause pain and injury.” Instead, “make your body a machine” by doing strengthening exercises that use your own body weight (like push-ups and lunges) or taking advantage of free weights, or, if your gym has it, a TRX suspension system.