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6 Classic Weight-Room Mistakes

If you’re doing lots of lifting but not getting results, you may need to tweak your routine. Tom Nikkola, CSCS, CISSN, director of nutrition and weight management at Life Time Fitness in Chanhassen, Minn., shares six common weight-training mistakes.

  1. Using the same amount of weight and number of repetitions each workout. Strive to make continuous progress over time. Progress can mean doing one more repetition, adding weight to the bar, periodically cycling through different types of exercises, or resting less between sets.
  2. Not writing down your workouts. Recording workouts helps you make progress each week, especially if you train alone. Looking back at previous workouts will help you vary your routine and give you targets to beat.
  3. Focusing on specific trouble spots like thighs or abdominals. Alas, there is no such thing as spot reduction. Instead, use multijoint movements like squats, lunges, presses and pull-ups, which are some of the best exercises for muscle tone and building a balanced physique.
  4. Doing the same workout you did in high school. If it’s been years since you’ve changed your routine, build some new exercises into your repertoire, or get some professional assistance in designing a program geared toward your current goals.
  5. Sticking with high reps and low weight to “tone.” If you’ve been doing high reps to “tone up,” ask a fitness professional for some assistance on using heavier weights in your routine. You’ll be surprised at how much leaner you’ll look over time.
  6. Focusing on intensity before learning proper form. The benefit of putting muscles under increasing stress and resistance is lost when movements are uncontrolled or off kilter. If you don’t have access to a pro, have a friend take photos of you doing specific movements and then compare them to photos of someone using proper form.

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