Monday, 3 November 2014

Common Gym Mistakes and Simple Solutions to them - Part 6

Always warm up in a specific manner to how/what you are going to train.  If you are going to train your back there is little point cycling or running as you don’t really use your back so row or use a cross trainer. If you are going for a run why warm up on a bike? 

A warm up is supposed to be light, your heart rate should not be going above 120 bpm really. If you feel stiff/tight warm up longer, if you have walked 15 mins to get to the gym then you might be warm enough already.

Stretching is a frequently debated topic and for every study proving one thing there is a study proving another. As Nike say “Just Do It”!  If your gym has a Powerplate then they are great for stretching but you can still stretch well on the floor/standing. Stretch all the muscles you plan to use before and after training and try stretching between sets too.  About 10-15 secs for warm up, 15-20 secs for cool down once per stretch or twice if tight/stiff.

Mobility is simply getting the joints and muscles moving. A key area for this is the hips, lots of small and big muscles that often need waking up to make them all work in harmony. A lot of people lose lower back shape during squats and leg presses simply because their hips cant move properly (this issue is often worsened by a weak core). For the sake of 5 mins mobility work it is not worth risking a lower back injury that could affect you for life.

Mobility can be as simple as starting each exercise with an empty bar or light dumbbell.  Treat your warm up reps just like a maximum effort rep maintaining perfect form throughout the full range of movement. It can be a good idea to vary the grip too, for example, for a barbell bench press do 5 reps hands wide, 5 reps hands normal and 5 reps hands narrow with just the bar.  A great website for mobility drills is Mobility WOD:

At the end of the session we should complete a cool down such as a walk on the treadmill and also stretch.  If walking on the treadmill you can stretch the upper body as you walk and then once you have stopped stretch the legs/hips.  This make be a good time for a massage if your gym has a Powerplate, especially after a legs session.