You’ve joined your local gym in Motor City, maybe printed off a cookie-cutter program from the internet and bought your trainers. You’re ready to go, ready to exercise happily, safe in the knowledge that all your goals will soon be met.
This should be a reality for anybody looking to make the most out of their exercise. Sadly, however, it isn’t this simple. There are some very basic, yet profoundly impactful, mistakes that many people make that can mean the difference between success and failure in your program.
These are some of the most common mistakes that people make in the gyms in Motor City all the time. Luckily, we’ll also run through how you can avoid or fix them.
1. Not warming up properly
This is a big one. There are a few advantages to warming up properly. Firstly, you should warm up by performing moves that mimic the ones you’re about to perform in your main workout. This will prime your body and your brain for what it’s about to be doing. Secondly, bringing your heart rate up, increasing blood flow and increasing body temperature are all linked to a much-diminished risk of injury and greatly improved athletic performance.
If you’re going in cold, you won’t be performing at your best, and you will very likely be setting yourself up for an injury.
To warm up properly, consider 5-10 minutes of cardio. This could be as simple as walking to the gym rather than driving and will bring your heartrate and body temperature up to where it needs to be. After this, run through some mobility drills that emphasise the areas you’re about to be using (hips and glutes on leg days; shoulders, upper back and pecs on bench days). Finally, perform some practice sets of your main movement or exercise for the day: this could be lightly loaded squats, or a few rounds of the track before sprints, or push ups and pull ups before a push/pull upper body workout.
2. Going too hard, too soon
You’re new to the gym, you’re excited, and you want to prove yourself. Fair enough. However, take it slow. Going too heavy in any set will set you up for injury and will stop you from learning correct technique as you will inevitably have to rely on body-English (cheating!) to move the bar.
If anything, start out on the lighter side for the first couple of weeks. Learning proper technique will make you stronger, more able, and will lend you much greater longevity in the long run. Leave the ego and the enthusiasm behind and bring a level-headed work ethic to bear.
3. Going too light
Yes, this contradicts the previous point. However, finding the relevant weight for you is exactly that: finding the relevant weight. Don’t go too heavy, of course; but if you’re able to complete hundreds of reps without breaking a sweat, you’re going too light. Begin light with your first set and work up to a suitable weight- one that has you burning and breathing hard, but that allows you to keep good form.
If in doubt about your weight range, consider talking to one of the many personal trainers in Dubai: they will be able to put you on the right track quickly enough.
4. Poor exercise selection and programming
A scatter-gun approach to training doesn’t work in the long run. You can’t just turn up, try out every machine, work to what feels OK, and go home again expecting to elicit any meaningful training effect. Exercises all need to work to a common purpose- a common theme- in each session. You also want to order exercises in diminishing order, so that leg isolation follows leg compound, and so on.
Each individual workout needs to be part of a larger whole, as well. You are working towards something, so there should be an overarching narrative- a long term game plan- that takes you through a full two-to-four months of exercise in a solid flow.
You can download session plans and basic programs online, either free or for a small fee. Alternatively, once more, there are plenty of reputable personal trainers in Dubai who can do this for you. Personal trainers in Dubai will be able to write full programs, split into individual sessions and exercises that all feed into one or two common goals.
If you avoid these mistakes, and remain generally sensible and open to expert advice, you will progress towards your training goals far more quickly and efficiently than if you just begin training blindly.