Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Common Gym Mistakes and Simple Solutions to them - Part 7


Firstly, the most common cause of poor exercise selection is the misguided belief that our bodies burn fat from the area of the muscle we use.  This is incorrect so training your triceps is not going to get rid of your bingo wings, sorry.

I have already touched on the over use of isolation exercises, but I am going to say it again. If you are trying to loose weight do you really think that seated bicep curls are going to burn through loads of calories?  Biceps are a tiny muscle, even if you are a top body builder like Phil Heath, and burn few calories and hardly tax the heart and lungs. Your legs are the biggest muscles so squats, lunges, jumps are going to burn calories for fun.

Training for a cross country run on a treadmill is not going to prepare your body for the undulating multi-surface terrain you are going to encounter during the race. The odd treadmill session is fine and productive but you need to get outside and train in similar conditions to the race, regularly.

If you are trying to make your core stronger, then doing 3 sets of 100 crunches is not going to help as that is a cardio workout, not strength (See Part 3). Plus that only really trains one muscle so what about the others? Train the entire core hard, twice a week for no more than 15 mins a session.  Use this for guidance:


If you play hockey every Saturday there is little point in doing any cardio where you maintain constant speed as that does not mimic your sport. Intervals, Fartlek’s, 10-15m sprints and agility is far more specific along with a basic strength and conditioning program.

Do not miss any part of your body out in your training programme. You are only as strong as your weakest part. Typically guys don’t train legs and girls don’t train arms but most people miss something out. Train the entire body within every 7 days. The easiest way to do this is to do exercises that recruit the most muscles in one go such as squats, deadlifts and presses (chest/bench, overhead) and pulls (barbell rows, lat pull-downs).  Some people consider exercises such as these as ‘only for bodybuilders’ but they are far from it and fundamental exercises that have worked for generations for all.

Often the exercise you want to do the least is the one you need to do the most. Too often people skip the difficult exercise to do more of the easier exercises.


Doing something easy lots of times is not the same as doing something difficult once.Tweet: Doing something easy lots of times is not the same as doing something difficult once.




It is rarely wise to copy a workout from the internet, a book or magazine as the author is unlikely to have written the programme for you. Most workouts in magazines are poor, gimmicky and written to fill magazine pages rather than to have helped someone.  Choose exercises that are suitable to your specific goals.