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March 08, 2016 2 min read

By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

Although many enthusiastic people sign up for a gym membership with the goal of losing weight, getting fit or to tone up their bodies, many workouts can be ineffective or even cause injuries. This is often due to a number of common mistakes. By avoiding these mistakes you will be able to burn fat faster, make your workouts more effective and avoid injuring yourself.

5 Common Workout Mistakes

  1. Lifting weights that are too light. This mistake is most common among women, often because of a misconception that if they lift heavy weights their bodies will become too bulky and unfeminine. The fact is that testosterone levels in women are actually too low to produce the same kind of muscle mass that men can, unless they train and diet like a bodybuilder. The increased lean muscle mass gained by lifting heavier weights will help increase your resting metabolism as well as give you tighter, more accentuated curves.
  2. Lifting weights that are too heavy. On the other hand, lifting weights that are too heavy is a mistake that is common among men. It will compromise your form, denying you the full benefit of the exercise as well as lead to potential injuries.
  3. If you plan to lift weights that are challenging for your strength level, trying asking someone to spot you as you perform the lift.
  4. Not using proper form. As mentioned above form can be compromised by lifting weights that are too heavy for your current strength level. But form can also suffer due to improper training. If you don’t use proper form you could be placing unnecessary stress on your joints and ligaments.
  5. Using speed and momentum rather than strength. Using weights that are too heavy can cause you to rely on the momentum and speed of a movement rather than muscle strength. By doing an exercise too quickly, you will not stimulate muscle growth as effectively and you also put yourself in danger of being injured.
  6. Leaning on cardio machines. A common mistake is to hold the hand rails of a stepper or treadmill. The handrails are there for your balance and not to support your weight. If you are exercise on a stepper or treadmill with your arms supporting your weight, you are defeating the purpose of the equipment.

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