If you train regularly, you want to be rewarded with more fitness, a six-pack or a thick upper arm. All too often, however, even highly ambitious training does not lead to the desired results. Beginners in particular tend to disregard many important aspects of training or make the wrong training decisions due to a lack of experience. But even advanced athletes should regularly reflect and adapt their training habits to new insights and experiences in order to achieve optimal results. We present you the most common mistakes in the gym and reveal why you should not commit them under any circumstances.
Not having a training plan
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in training is not having a workout plan. Admittedly, it doesn't look cool to walk around the gym with a clipboard and read the exercises and their modalities there. Beginners in particular often want to avoid being perceived as such and are quick to abandon the training plan they created at the beginning, or even never had one. However, the training plan is not just about knowing which exercises to do and in what order. Rather, information such as equipment settings, weights used, repetitions set counts, and other notes if necessary should be noted there.
In this context, the training plan ideally becomes a training diary. This allows you to track your past training performance and, based on this, to formulate new training goals and record their achievement. Or do you know by heart how much weight you did for how many repetitions in the 3rd set of squats last week? Through the training plan and the documentation you always know what you have to do and can focus on the implementation. This is the only way to achieve long-term success.
In practice, it is therefore more the advanced and professionals who train in the gym with a small notepad or diary and meticulously note their successes. Those who train without a plan and diary, on the other hand, automatically oute themselves as beginners and deprive themselves of the important routine and predictability of training.
Skip the warm-up
Those who want to achieve their goals and are perhaps in a particular hurry often tend to put as much training as possible into a single unit - and to dispense with the warm-up. Beginners in particular often feel that they are wasting their time with the warm-up, because it doesn't involve moving heavy weights or putting the cardiovascular system through its paces. However, the warm-up does not directly serve a specific training purpose, but should prepare you ideally for the training. A good warm-up consists of moderate cardiovascular training, for example on a cardio machine, mobility training to prepare the joints and exercise-specific warm-up sets. This way you can prepare yourself physically for the workout and reduce the risk of injury. At the latest, when you experience discomfort during or after training and your training performance stagnates or even declines due to pain, you will wish you had invested more time in a proper warm-up.
Furthermore, warm-up sets also serve to refine your training technique with light weight and improve the coordination of this exercise. There is also the increased mental focus on the upcoming session. On the other hand, fatigue should not yet occur during the warm-up. This way you can prepare yourself optimally for your training and complete a safe and effective workout.
On the other hand, if you forgo the warm-up and start immediately with heavy sets, you risk injury and leave performance by the wayside.
For sustained training success, the right diet is also crucial. But what constitutes the right diet depends heavily on the individual's goals. Often, especially for beginners, the abundance of information regarding healthy nutrition is overwhelming and leads to confusion.
For example, as healthy as whole grain bread and low-fat curd cheese may be, those who have a very high energy requirement and want to build muscle may find it difficult to achieve a positive calorie balance. Likewise, olive oil is a food that should not be missing from a healthy diet, but is still very high in energy and must be used moderately in a diet.
This means that the food selection and diet should fit your individual goal and blanket statements about a healthy diet are hardly possible. Once the individually adapted diet is identified, beginners, but also advanced athletes tend to follow extreme approaches.
Thus, it happens especially to beginners during a diet quickly to feed too few calories, in the assumption that this will give better results. On the other hand, people try to achieve the desire to build muscle with excessive amounts of calories and fall into unnecessary mass phases. These extremes do not bring you faster as a goal, but make it difficult to stay with it and also compensate for the disadvantages of this diet.
The key to success in sports is also in nutrition only through patience and not through extreme approaches. Therefore, follow a diet that brings you closer to your goals in small but steady steps and avoid too one-sided strategies.
Neglect basic exercises
The basis of any training plan is basic exercises. Therefore, always try to increase in some multi-joint exercises and supplement with isolation exercises if necessary. Many beginners often overestimate their own training progress and train basic and isolation exercises in the wrong ratio.
For example, it is mainly beginners and slightly advanced athletes who assume they have outgrown the usual basic exercises and need a highly complicated 5-split and exotic isolation exercises for further progress.
In truth, most athletes instead benefit more from low splits or full-body training with a higher training frequency and a focus on fundamentals. This will give you a much higher training volume, increased energy expenditure, and you'll also learn the technique of the important basic exercises better and faster.
No one is too advanced to forgo basic exercises or try a lower split. Usually, the opposite is true and reducing basic exercises and the consistent progression in them leads to worse results in the long run.
In this context, you see just as many beginners with high goals that they would prefer to have achieved yesterday than today. Of course, it is very important to set ambitious goals and to pursue them consistently. However, unfortunately, the motto "more equals better" does not apply in sports.
Instead of asking yourself how much training you can complete and endure, you should rather ask yourself how much training you will actually benefit from. A beginner who wants to train six times a week for three hours at the beginning of his training career may show impressive ambition, but he may be ignoring his body's regenerative resources and overestimating his training status. Therefore, pay close attention to your body's signals in order to avoid overloading and to be able to improve in the long term. This is only possible with sufficient regeneration and of course also applies to experienced athletes - only that with them the threshold of the sensible training volume is higher.
If you still want to do more than you should in strength training, invest time in mobility, cardio, or technique training. This way you can use your time wisely to achieve your goals and get useful synergies.
Weight before technique
Whether you're a beginner or an advanced athlete, your ego is a loyal companion in training. Of course, you want to improve as fast and as well as you can in your training and the weights you use are an ideal indicator for this - but only if your technique is consistently good.
Only with a good technique you can hit the target muscle correctly, make it grow and stay pain and injury free. If, on the other hand, you neglect the technique, higher weights are possible, but the load on the target muscle is the same or even lower, because other muscles compensate for the required work or you artificially simplify the exercise by using a lot of momentum. This is why exercisers of all levels like to tell themselves they've gotten stronger, when in fact we're just lying to ourselves.
In this case, higher training weights not only do not bring more success, but our performances are also no longer comparable in the course of time. If you manage 100 kilos on the bench press today and 110 next week with poorer technique, you can't know how much of that is due to an increase in performance and how much is at the expense of technique. The only solution for long-term success is therefore to learn and maintain a consistently good technique.