4 Common Workout Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Shannon Clark
by Shannon Clark
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4 Common Workout Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Designing your own workout? People have the best of intentions when coming up with their own exercise programs but, sadly, often commit one or two design errors that can cost them success.

Before you head into the gym to give that self-designed workout a try, double check that you won’t make the following common mistakes.

Mistake #1: Doing Core Work First

Six-pack abs. If there’s one goal that most people want to achieve, this is it. As such, you head into the gym and the first thing you do is head right toward the ab mat.

Sadly, this is only moving you away from progress. What you need to remember is that your core muscles will be working in each and every standing strength move you do.

Whether it’s squats, lunges, shoulder presses or step-ups, you’ll recruit your core muscles for balance when completing these moves. As such, if your core muscles are in a fatigued state while you perform these other moves, this could mean lower performance on these exercises at best and a significant injury at worst.

By doing your core work last, you’ll maintain a stronger midsection for other exercises and, by the time you get to those core moves, they’ll already be in a partly fatigued state.

Bonus: This means you have to do less core work overall.

Mistake #2: Too Much Steady-State Cardio

When weight loss is your main goal, it’s easy to go into steady-state cardio overload. For five days a week, you go hard for 60 minutes on the bike, elliptical or treadmill. Sound familiar?

You figure you’re on the best fat-loss plan possible—with all that cardio, you’ll be torching fat in no time. Only months have passed and your body hasn’t changed.

All this cardio exercise does very little to enhance fat burning. In fact, it may cause you to gain weight because it makes you ravenous after each session, leading to overeating in the hours that follow.

Instead, once per week, cut back to 30 minutes of cardio, and get into the weight room for the other 30. This will help you yield top-notch results.

This isn’t to say all cardio is bad. In moderation, intense interval sprint training can also be a great way to burn fat.

But setting the treadmill on 5 miles per hour and jogging for 40 minutes straight day after day, week after week, month after month? That’s doing very little to change how your body looks.

Mistake #3: Isolation Exercise Overload

If you do three different types of bicep exercises, three tricep exercises to match and, when leg day comes, you hit the inner and outer thigh machines, you have changes to make.

While some isolation work is fine, the vast majority of your program should be focused on compound exercises. Squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses, bench presses, bent over rows—these are the moves that will deliver the best results possible.

Mistake #4: Insufficient Rest Between Workouts

Finally, the last mistake is being just a little too motivated. If you hit the gym six or seven days a week, too much exercise could become a problem.

Remember, your body needs time to rest and recover every week. This is the time when you will actually grow stronger.

Workouts simply break down muscle tissue. If you don’t allow for enough rest between these sessions, your progress will spiral downwards.

Aim for at least one day completely off each week and 1-2 sessions done at a low intensity level. You’ll not only see better results, but you’ll also come back to each workout feeling fresher as well.

Are you making any of these errors? If you are, make sure you change your strategy so that you don’t get stuck in a progress rut.

About the Author

Shannon Clark
Shannon Clark

Shannon is an AFLCA certified personal trainer with a degree in exercise science. She has written on the topics of health, fitness, and nutrition for nearly a decade, and her thoughts and advice are regularly published on Bodybuilding.com, shannonclarkfitness.com, and FitRated.com, a leading fitness equipment review site offering fitness insights on equipment, workout plans, and weight loss strategies.