STAHP: Mistakes to avoid at the gym

Above: A shameless attempt at page views

The gym is a tricky place. There are a lot of mistakes that newbies can make, and even if you’re a long-time member, if no one has said otherwise, you could be doing things just how you’ve always done them.

Not pictured: Her choice of footwear

Squatting/Deadlifting in running shoes

This one is a recurrent issue I see, and it’s possibly the most dangerous one on the list. You want something flat and solid under you when you’re pressing heavy weight. Whereas most running shoes use a combination of EVA foam, gel, or air, most lifting shoes are going to have a sole of TPU, compressed EVA, or solid rubber. If it’s too cushy, it can become unstable and roll or collapse. If you can only get one shoe, make sure it has a low heel-to-toe drop and a shorter stack height. That will keep you steady.

Photo by Addison Berry
See below. The sign doesn’t lie.

Bad prioritizing

This is one that’s often overlooked and it’s so simple, I wanted to make sure it’s covered. Basically, whatever you’re trying to get best at, do it first during a workout. Makes sense, right? You’re at full energy, so you can concentrate the most effort into the first exercise. This also plays directly into the next two.

An extended warm-up

You don’t need to do 20 minutes on the treadmill beforehand. If your goals are running/swimming-oriented, get the aerobic exercise in first, either in the morning or a few hours before your workout. If you can’t do both, then either have dedicated cardio days, or do bodyweight exercise after.


Not planning

Look, you don’t want to be putzing around in the gym, getting in the way, not making any progress. Have at least a general idea of what you want to do and you’ll stay more focused on your goals and see better results.

Photo by Masa Israel Journey

Poor research

Don’t believe every new fad you see. You want to know why every latest trend seems to produce amazing results? It’s because they pick models who are already in shape to be the face of the regimen. Look into what actual science has said. It usually doesn’t change that much over time.

Complicating the movement

If you’re trying to build strength, get a solid foundation and go heavy. If you’re trying to improve balance, focus on challenging yourself over a slow and steady movement. Don’t mix the two up. Put away the BOSU ball, put your feet down when you bench, and remember the marketing golden rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS).


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