The Most Common Workout Mistakes

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The Most Common Workout Mistakes

Not all workout programs are effective. Every now and then, anyone can come across an unforeseen obstacle or a setback. Some people find it difficult to finish what they have started. Others, on the other hand, find themselves making the same mistake over and over again — most of the time, not realizing it. For that reason, we decided to post this article, listing the most common workout mistakes that may hinder a successful training program.

The Most Common Workout Mistake

Here is a list of the three most common workout mistakes to avoid:

  1. Not setting up SMART goals

The Most Common Workout Mistakes (1)

It is one thing to say, “I want to be fitter this year” and yet it is another thing to actually achieve it. Indeed, the road to achieving any goal is sometimes cluttered with unrealistic objectives. For instance, some want to lose a hundred pounds in a week and others build more muscle in 2 days! No wonder why so many people give up!

Here’s a tip: Most experts say that when you set up a goal, whether fitness related or not, it is best to use the SMART method. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Here’s an example of a goal that is:

  • Specific- you want to lose five pounds in one week

  • Measurable- you can measure it using a weighing scale

  • Attainable- you have enough days to achieve it

  • Relevant- you are aiming to be physically fit

  • Timely- you have a deadline and a specific time frame to achieve it

Need help with goal planning? Here’s a simple guide:

SMART Goals setting
  1. Training in the Same Rep Range

Some arguments in the fitness field say that a moderate repetition range is best for gaining muscle size. But, does that mean that you should do your workout exclusively on that specific range?

Our answer, of course, is “No.” Although the theory that claims muscle growth being maximized at medium repetition range (let’s say around 6 to 12 repetitions) is backed by some research, there still remain areas that need evidence. The current research reports are far from conclusive, and other studies say otherwise.

For instance, did you know that performing exercises in lower repetition ranges like five times in a set maximizes strength increases? This means that if you train in a lower rep range, you are facilitating your body’s ability to perform better when you moved up to a moderate rep training. For example, if you train at 1 - 5 reps per set with weights, you are maximizing your ability to use heavier weights during moderate range. It creates higher tension in your muscles, leading to better increase muscle strength.

High repetition range (greater than 15 reps per set), on the other hand, assists your muscles in increasing your lactate threshold or the intensity that your muscles can take for an extended period with no (or little) increase of lactate levels in the blood. If you want to know more about lactate levels and build-up in the muscles, please read our article about what is lactate. But in general, higher rep ranges mostly build endurance.

So, in conclusion, which rep is the best? Our recommendation is to know your goals first, are you after strength, or do you want to improve your endurance? Or do you want both? If that’s the case, and you want both strength and endurance, be sure to train with different rep ranges. Do not stick to the same rep range for an extended period. Depending on your workout goals and body limits, this might mean doing with a particular repetition range for a shorter or longer period. When properly implemented, it will help you maximize your muscle gains.

  1. Using the same exercises every day

We don’t know about you, but some people perform the same type of exercises every workout session. We can’t blame them because we all have favorite workout techniques. But, just like rep ranges, exercises should not be limited to the same kind. Especially if you are looking to improve your overall physique. While it is okay to perform a certain stand-by's, it is important not to exclude other movements.

Why? Because having different types of exercise can help prevent the “repeated-bout effect”, which happens when muscles become accustomed to performing the same movements.

Think of it this way, sometimes you want fruits, sometimes you prefer sweets, and other times you like other types of food. In the same way, our muscles also need different kinds of exercises. So to keep them happy, we must give them what they want: variety.

You can increase your flexibility with stretching

Remember, even slight variations in your workout routine will work the muscles somewhat differently, enhancing overall results.

In summary: To maximize your training potential, make use of a diverse selection of workout movements throughout your training cycle. Switch around modalities, planes of movement, rep ranges, and training angles. There is no one and only rule as to how you should change your exercises, but a general guideline is not to stick to one exercise in a month.

About the Authors:

Mike Zhang

Mike Zhang is the founder of the MZF Group. He graduated from the University of Toronto on the dean's list with a Masters Degree in science.  Mike was a two time National Muay Thai Champion, and a strength and conditioning coach to several learned athletes. He has over 14 years of experience as a Muay Thai Coach.

Marijune Tiamzon, RN, MHPNP

With nearly 5 years of experience in the medical field, Marijune holds a registered nurse license and a certificate as a mental health nurse practitioner. She is an adventurous young professional, and her hobbies include diving, windsurfing, and saber fencing.

As an avid writer, she is most passionate about sharing acquired knowledge in the medical field and how to apply it to improve the quality of life of our readers.