The 5 Gym Mistakes Everyone Makes When Resistance Training

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Gym coach Dave Cripps has some handy hints on how to get the most out of our Gym efforts.

Following on from the printed edition of My Solihull Magazine, we delve into how you can transform your resistance training, by making some simple but highly effective changes. By doing these, you will achieve the results you desire faster with greater effect. Consider the wider benefits of greater confidence, less joint pain and a healthier, stronger body.

Is your brain in the game?
If you had two builders constructing identical houses, but the only difference was that one worked a lot harder than the other, what do you think the result would be? The results would of course be better and occur faster in the builder with the work ethic. Training is the same. If you want great results you have to have a great work ethic. It’s the same in life. Only a hard working, self determined attitude, will result in achieving significant gains. Perfunctorily doing 3 reps for 4 sets at 50kg, when you’re capable of doing 4 reps for 6 sets at 50 kg is a prime example and one I see in commercial gyms frequently. It doesn’t matter how much advice you take from the rest of this article, if you don’t do this, then you’ve wasted your time. Get your brain in the game and try and do as much work as you possibly can each set. If it’s too easy, do more reps, or add more weight. Challenge yourself to the max.

Fitting a round peg into a round hole
We’ve all heard of the concept of not fitting a square peg in a round hole. Consider this when choosing what exercises to use. Regardless of how much time you spend trying to learn the technique, there are just some exercises which will not be best for you. Maybe you struggle to be consistent or worse, feel pain, which ultimately means this particular exercise isn’t for you. To maximise the positive effect placed on a muscle during resistance training, the limiting factor has to be your muscle’s ability. If your form or technique is the limiting factor despite plenty of training, you’re not going to get optimal gains and you’ll be trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Therefore use exercises which you can perform consistently and correctly … fit a round peg in a round hole.

Throwing out the kitchen sink approach
Variety can be the spice of life, but when it comes to resistance training, it can be a truly poisonous thing. The one thing athletes have consistently said to me when changing to the method I’m about to describe, is how surprised they are at the gains. Typically people have 45-60 minutes in a gym session. Lots of variety means little time on each sequence. Similar to having several jobs a day, but being great at none. Therefore, go for quality over quantity, strip it right back to doing no more than 3 exercises per session. This means you can dedicate yourself to doing 3 things to get excellent benefit, rather than stopping one exercise, just as you are about to get the best from it.

Resistance training tells your muscle to begin processes to grow, but as a consequence will limit the processes which allow your muscles to get fitter. In the same way, cardiovascular training will make your body fitter, but as a consequence suppress the processes which make your muscles get stronger. So it’s key you don’t try and train these two things, in the same muscles, during the same session. Cardiovascular training is commonly lower limb, so do your leg resistance training on a separate day. Separate the two – cardiovascular -v- resistance, to different training sessions

Don’t go it alone
Ever felt the difference between training when someone ‘spots you’ (helps you get the weight set) and when you go it alone? I can guarantee you will perform better with someone giving you that spot. When it comes to grinding out that last rep of a set, you have the safety cushion of someone to help Plus with someone there, it does keep you on your toes to really work in top gear and not be on auto pilot going through the motions. Add these two things up over time, and they will make a remarkable difference to your gains.

Dave Cripps

Dave Cripps has worked as a professional athletic performance coach in sport for over eight years, working with championship winning, domestic and international athletes. Living in Solihull, he also currently works with determined, hard working, people, to help them reach their aspirations, through the most professional and expert physical training.

To find out more about how Dave can help you, and receive unique personalised information on how to optimally use physical training to boost your performance in sport, fitness and beyond, visit and receive your free masterplan on ‘Turning Pro; The Bare Truth on Ultimate Training.’