These biggest workout mistakes can stall out any progress. You’ve been diligently following your workout schedule. You’re exercising every day, lifting weights, and breathing hard. You copy your favorite workouts from YouTube. But why aren’t you getting results? Perhaps you’re making one (or more) of these biggest workout mistakes:

Workout mistake #1: Working out too frequently

Your body needs rest and recovery after hard exercise. The more intense your workout, the more recovery time your muscles need. Working out every day may not give you the recovery time your body needs to rebuild and improve.

If you lift weights (you should), you should give yourself a minimum of 48 hours recovery time in between weight-training days. That means every other day at the very most.

If you do more than 3 or 4 sets per body part, you’ll need more than one day off in between workouts.

Here is a big list of ideas for sensible weight training split routines.

Workout Mistake #2: Avoiding the Basics

workout mistakes deadlift

Strength training exercises like squats, deadlifts, lunges, rows, pushups, overhead press, and planks should form the foundation of any complete strength training routine.

The variations and level of difficulty of these exercises that you choose depend on your goals and your physical abilities.

But that being said, the real nuts and bolts of strength and conditioning are these multi-joint, full-body movements.

If you’re spending your workout time on single joint exercises like arm curls and the inner thigh machine, you’re really missing out on the most important exercise moves.

See also: Exercises that cause injury

Workout Mistake #3: Neglecting proper form

Using proper form is crucial. Not only can you injure yourself with bad exercise form, but you can also miss out on the most important muscular benefits if you’re not doing it right.

Hire a qualified, experienced personal trainer to help teach you correct exercise form in the weight room.

Workout Mistake #4: Using weights that are too light, or not working out hard enough

In order to stimulate your muscles and cardiovascular system, you’ve got to work out hard enough to push the envelope of what your body is accustomed to doing.

(see “progressive overload” below)

If you’re lifting weights and you stop after 12 reps, even if you really could have gotten 20 or 25 reps, you’re not working hard enough.

6 reps means number 6 is near-maximum effort.

Don’t get me wrong, ANY exercise (even easy exercise) is better than NO exercise, and hard workouts are not appropriate for every single person. But if you want to make muscular gains and increase your fitness levels, you’ve got to work harder than “easy”!

Workout Mistake #5: Forgetting Progressive Overload

workout mistakes overload

That brings us to the progressing idea. Progressive Overload means that you gradually increase the difficulties imposed on your body — heavier weights, more total sets, less rest, faster running times — whatever nudges the bar up for you.

Little by little, you increase the amount and difficulty of the physical work you do, and your body adapts to compensate and prepare for next time.

If you never boost your workouts to a new level, you’ll stay stuck exactly where you are and will never make any more progress.

Workout Mistake #6: Duplicating an Instagram model workout

workout mistakes model

It’s easy to see some photos or videos of beautiful bodies, and figure “Well, if I do the workout they tell me to do, then my body will look like theirs.”

I have terrible news:

Models generally are beautiful regardless of what kind of workout they do. Plus, they usually teach really crappy form, to be honest.

The girl with the great butt who sells you the “Butt Blaster Workout” DVD may very well do the donkey kicks and side-lying leg raises that she shows you on the video in her own workouts.

But I guarantee she also busts her Great Butt in the weight room with Deadlifts, Lunges, Squats, and Leg Presses. And she eats a great diet to stay in model shape.

Don’t think that if you do the model’s workout videos that you’ll look like a fitness model.

You need the workout that’s best for YOUR goals and YOUR body.

You need to focus on the fundamentals of strength and fitness.

You need to have a decent nutrition program in place.

And you need to stay away from these 6 biggest workout mistakes!


workout mistakes trainerIf you want help with your own personal exercise and nutrition program, contact Basics and Beyond. Don’t make workout mistakes on your own!