Stop making these workout mistakes

Woman making face like she made a mistake working out.

Common workout mistakes you are probably making and how to fix them. Did you know that the way you exercise could potentially be the reason for your pain?

Workout Mistake #1: Are you skipping the warm-up or not warming up correctly?

Gradually increasing intensity prepares your muscles and joints for the work to come by increasing blood flow, optimizing your range of motion, and improving muscle elasticity.

Understand when to Static stretch and when to Dynamic Stretch. Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching that improves speed, agility, and acceleration. It involves actively tightening your muscles and moving your joints through their full range of motion throughout the stretch. These functional and sport-specific movements help increase muscle temperature and decrease muscle stiffness.

Static stretching requires you to move a muscle as far as it can go without feeling any pain, then hold that position for 20 to 45 seconds. You should repeat static stretches two to three times each. This is a very effective way to increase flexibility. Static stretches should be used as part of your cool-down routine to help prevent injury. Using static stretching as a maintenance stretching program will also help reduce your risk of injury. Static stretching in a warm-up before an athletic competition may negatively impact your performance. This is because static stretching may limit your body’s ability to react quickly. This condition may last up to two hours in activities such as vertical jumps, short sprints, balance, and reaction speeds.

Workout Mistake #2: Not properly bracing your core?

The most common movements that cause injury to your spine include loaded spinal flexion and loaded spinal flexion with rotation. Abdominal bracing is something you can practice and perfect with repetition. The ultimate goal is to be able to create intra-abdominal pressure with abdominal bracing subconsciously. Practicing abdominal bracing while exercising or performing daily tasks such as heavy lifting can help reduce the strain on your neck and lower back. It can also protect these injury-prone areas from straining.

Workout Mistake #3: Repetitive Sit-Ups for Abs, Substitute Planks

Doing repetitive sit-ups places a repetitive load on the spine, leading to higher injury rates. An annual fitness test study in the military found that people doing planks had healthier spines than those doing sit-ups because the submaximal microtrauma that leads to inflammation in the lumbar spine was avoided.

Workout Mistake #4: Stop neglecting deadlifts

The deadlift sometimes gets a “bad rap.” When performed properly, the deadlift is an excellent exercise to strengthen your hips and low back. Proper instruction and coaching on the exercise should always occur for anyone with low back pain. Deadlift training has decreased pain and increased physical performance in patients with a dominating pattern of mechanical low back pain at a group level. A wise approach is to begin with low-load exercises on the floor. Once pain levels decrease and muscle function improves, progressing to deadlift training can be started. Evidence suggests that the lack of muscle strength can itself contribute to low back pain even in the absence of degeneration.

Workout Mistake #6: Locking your joints at the end of motion when lifting

This typically occurs at the elbow or knee joint when strength training. Locking out a joint puts it in a hyperextended state. Performing exercises such as high plank, push ups, shoulder or leg press,es and even squats can further increase the chance of overextending the joints, putting you at risk for injury. Maintaining a slight bend at the joint is enough to keep the supportive musculature still engaged.

Workout Mistake #6: Stop overdoing the incline on the Treadmill

Adding an incline is a great way to boost the intensity of your workout, but holding the handrails and leaning back to support yourself is not. At the same time, walking or running minimizes core engagement and may eventually lead to injury over time. Instead, choose an incline that allows you to go hands-free and allow your arms to swing naturally in rhythm with your stride.

Workout Mistake #7: Quit trying to “out-workout” a bad diet

To make gains, you have to have the proper nutrients in your body to construct muscle. This means that what you eat, and how much, is essential in making muscle gains. Lifting and doing strength training without adequate nutrition, especially without enough protein, can actually lead to the loss of muscle tissue.
So, how much protein per day do you need to build muscle? According to the RDA, to reach a state of muscle growth and assume intense physical activity, the requirement is 0.72 grams per pound per day. According to many fitness professionals, that requirement is closer to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. Did you know alcohol affects muscle growth? It inhibits protein synthesis and reduces insulin resistance.

Workout Mistake #8: Not getting 8+ hours of sleep

Sleep enhances muscle recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release. When the body enters its deep sleep stage, known as non-REM sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormones that stimulate muscle repair and growth. When the body doesn’t get enough rest, the secretion of this growth hormone declines, and it can become more challenging for your body to recover from injuries.

Workout Mistake #9: Stop being inconsistent

An occasional or weekend workout is less effective than more frequent activity, and cramming a week’s exercise into a single session increases the risk of injury.

Workout Mistake #10: Improper hydration

Fluids help cushion your joints and stabilize blood pressure and heart rate. Exercising causes you to lose water and electrolytes (sodium, potassium) when you sweat, and it also causes lactic acid to build up in your muscles (which can lead to muscle cramps). Healthy people need six to eight cups of fluid per day, and more if they’re exercising.


Learning what not to do can be equally valuable as knowing what to do! Exercise is critical to your overall health and longevity, but incorrectly exercising can quickly cause injury and slow your progression. These tips will help you exercise like a pro!