There are absolutely loads of mistakes to be made in the gym. The gym can be a dangerous place, an intimidating place or just a down right confusing place to many people. Everyone who goes to a gym has the right intentions, however not everyone has the knowledge to fulfill these intentions. Every single person I see start the gym does at least one thing that would be considered to be “wrong”. Unless of course they have a good trainer or experienced training partner.
Now there are loads of obvious mistakes I could talk about that have become clichés. Things like using a weight that’s too heavy, training arms and chest but not doing legs, talking for hours in between sets with your mates and cooling down when you should be staying warm. But everyone knows these mistakes. There are other mistakes however that people make without ever realizing or being called out on them. These mistakes may not be dangerous, but they may hinder progress or certainly not help in achieving your goals.
The first mistake I come across is poor or down right strange exercise selection. The problem that new trainers have is that they watch the biggest guys train and then emulate them. After all who better to emulate than your favourite bodybuilder. However these guys are already massive. They are training for different reasons and goals to you. Doing 10 sets on the rear delt machine because your rear delt are lagging and hindering your chances at the Olympia is not something that need concern a new trainer. Doing sissy squats and reverse grip bicep curls is not a good idea as these are advanced exercises to hit the muscles in different ways and to develop lagging bodyparts. When new to training you should stick to a nice basic routine that will allow for overall muscle growth or fat loss (depending on your goals). Research routines for beginners or join something like www.fitforum.co.uk for help on choosing a plan that will be better for you and your initial goals.
Mistake number 2 is being intimidated by the free weights area. The free weights area is often full of big guys lifting heavy and looking like they know what they are doing. This, however, does not mean that you shouldn’t be in there too. Free weights are extremely important and needed in a varied routine. Machines will work the muscles adequately but free weights will hit the muscles in ways that machines are unable to. Exercises like deadlift, bench press, squat, flyes etc are all vital elements of a basic beginners routine and cannot be left out because you are worried about the big guys in the free weights area.
The final mistake that I see quite a lot is poor choice of gym clothing. I see young kids coming to the gym in work clothes, jeans, big boots, shirts and some crazy clothes that just isn’t suited for the gym. If you can do a squat to proper depth in jeans then I will be amazed. Clothes like this will restrict movement and not allow you to perform exercises properly. Jogging bottoms, shorts, a loose fitted T-shirt and correct shoes allow you to train properly with no restrictions. There is no reason to try and look cool or fashionable in the gym. If you wear clothes to do that you only end up achieving the opposite.
So when you start the gym there are lots of things to make sure you are doing correctly and lots of things you need to make sure you avoid doing as well. Do your research, put together a good routine and ask for advice before starting the gym. If you have any experienced friends ask them to train you for a week to show you what to do. If you don’t have this option then perhaps ask the services of a personal trainer. The best thing to do is don’t just guess at it. It is more than likely you will guess wrong.