Everyone at the gym likes to think they are the masters of their domain. From the macho weightlifters pressing more weight that you’ve ever seen to the casual elliptical user, everyone has their own way of working out. Some plans are more structured than others, but it’s always good to have one. If you’re ready to create your first workout plan or looking to restructure your current one, be sure to avoid implementing any of these workout misconceptions!
It’s a pretty common occurrence to go into the gym and see a guy (typically younger and often with his workout pals) trying to lift way more than he can handle. An extremely important task when working out is not to bite off more than you can chew. If you’re weight training and you feel yourself shaking under the weight of the bar, it’s probably too heavy for your ability level. It’s always smart to work lighter first and do more repetitions than to try and max out with heavy weight.
If it looks wrong, it probably is. When you look into the mirror at the gym and you see one side of your body doing more of the work than the other, it’s important to try and correct it. Keeping your body in even strength will help to both avoid injury and keep your training on track. Your movement should always be as similar as possible from one repetition to another. Try to imagine that you’re a well-oiled machine in perfect working condition, and everything should be smooth and even every time.
Stretching, or lack thereof
The most common aerobic injuries can be avoided with a regular stretching before and after all workouts. Stretching improves range of motion, reduces risk of injury, adds towards avoiding post-workout soreness, and gives you increased motion control. So many physical therapists and sports medicine professionals will all say the same thing, stretching is a must before physical activity.
It’s important that when you do stretch, you have a plan within a plan; that is, a stretching plan to go hand in hand with your workout plan. Doing one or two stretches may not always be enough to avoid workout injuries. Multiple stretching exercises will certainly aid in both avoiding injury and increasing range of motion. A commonly applied multiple stretching plan will involve five different kinds of stretching. You should always include stretches that activate the “high-traffic” areas, so to speak. These areas include the lower back, glutes, quadriceps, calves, and abdominals.
Weight training will NOT make a woman bulky.
Let’s face it, ladies – who wants to lift weights if it’s going make you look bulky? Well, before you make a mad dash to the exercise bike, think about this. Women and men have different hormones throughout their bodies. Women produce testosterone in their bodies in very small amounts compared to men. It is the testosterone that bulks up a man’s muscle mass. Women do not produce nearly enough testosterone to provide for monstrous muscle growth like men. All those bulked up female bodybuilders you may see at the gym or on ESPN2 at 3AM on a Tuesday are probably taking testosterone supplements or possibly anabolic steroids. Too many women are frightened to lift weights due to a fear of bulking up. Fear not, ladies, for weight training should be an integral part of any workout regimen and it will keep your girlish figure intact!