No matter how advanced of a lifter you become it never hurts to solidify and improve the fundamentals. Form should always be placed in a higher regard than the amount of weight lifted.
Ryan Rodal discusses the biggest workout mistakes you can make at the gym.
Avoid These 6 Workout Mistakes
#1 Forgetting to retract your scapulaDuring the vast majority of weighted movements there should be focus on constantly retracting the scapula. Deadlifts, bench press, lat pulldowns, bent over rows, and just about any exercise you can name requires a retraction of the scapula.
NOT retracting the scapula puts the lifter at risk for a much higher rate of injury and long term complications. Furthermore, pronating the shoulders forward during these exercises can place excessive strain on the rotator cuff and other shoulder muscles.
By making sure you retract the scapula you will be getting the entire range of motion and receiving the full benefit of the exercise.
#2 - Not getting the full range of motionAnother commonly seen mistake among gym regulars is not performing exercises with the full range of motion. Doing the half range of motion will only result in receiving half of the benefit of the exercise. On the bench press bring the bar towards down and focus on getting the entire contraction of the chest muscle.
Simply moving the bar down half an inch provides little to no overall benefit. Not to mention you will be laughed at by other serious gym bros. Does he even get the full range of motion bro?
#3 - Not performing both concentric and eccentric portions of the movementThere are two parts to each and every exercise. The concentric portion is the shortening of the muscle and the eccentric portion is the lengthening of the muscle. People tend to only focus on the shortening of the muscle bringing it upwards and simply let the weight swing down on the eccentric part of the movement. If the weight cannot be controlled in both the upward and downward portions the weight is likely too heavy.
One example would be seeing a newbie swing a 50 pound dumbbell up on a bicep curl before letting it drop to their side in an uncontrolled manner. Place as much emphasis on the eccentric portion as you do on the concentric portion. If you do this considerable increases in strength and muscle development will be seen.
In order to have the most effective workouts, focus on every single rep both physically and mentally.
#4 - Forgetting to breatheDo you ever see someone get red faced and look like they are about to pass out? The reason for this is likely due to the fact they are not practicing proper breathing techniques.
Breathing allows oxygen to flow into the body and muscles increasing blood flow allowing you to lift more effectively. Breathe control is not often spoken of but can play a major role in strength programming and overall progress.
#5 - Not using the mind, muscle, connectionMany times you look around at the atmosphere of the gym and see individuals there physically, but mentally may be checked out. In order to have the most effective workouts, focus on every single rep both physically and mentally. Don't be one of the guys that allow the weight to control them, make the weights your ally in the quest for conquering the land of gains.
#6 Rounding the lower backNo matter what the exercise motor pattern may be, take extra care to avoid rounding the lower back. Deadlifts, squats, bench press, even curls require focus on achieving a neutral spine. The lower back is one of the most common areas of injury that can typically be avoided by practicing proper form and technique.
While extremely advanced lifters may round their lower back under certain circumstances this should not be practiced by 99% of the gym population. These individuals understand what their bodies can handle and generally have years if not decades of training experience.
Now Go...Make GainsBy avoiding these five simple mistakes you will notice substantial increases in strength and muscle growth while also escaping unnecessary injuries. Be cognizant of what exercise you are performing and why you are performing it. If it's back day and you are performing a seated row focus on engaging the lats and not the shoulders. You get the idea.
Getting better every day that's not a game!
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