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Seven workout mistakes women don’t know they’re making

September 22nd, 2011

It takes a lot of determination to get up from the couch go to the gym. However, just making it to the gym doesn’t always mean the workouts are being done correctly.

Cosmopolitan magazine recently did a feature on seven mistakes women often make at the gym without even realizing it, which can diminish the effect of their workout.

Often times, while doing crunches women use their neck muscles rather than their abs, which strains the neck and does not work the abs as much. A simple fix to this problem is pressing one’s tongue to the top of the roof of the mouth, which relieves stress from the neck and focuses the work on the abs.

When freshman Christine Varricchio tried this, it seemed unnatural at first.

“…I was thinking about it too much. But the more I did it later, I found the tip helping when I wasn’t focusing on it,” she said.

Another mistake many make is stretching before a cardio workout. Cosmopolitan suggests doing the cardio workout at a low level for five minutes. This allows the muscles to loosen, but is still a workout in itself.

“Before I run I stretch and do a warm up because my muscles are cold. If I don’t move while I stretch, my knees will lock up,” said freshman Liz Malloy. “I learned in track that dynamic mobilities are the right way to start a workout and people who don’t do them should start to. It’s healthier for your body.”

Most women also tend to lift the same amount of weight during each workout because they fear upping the weight will lead to bulky muscles. However, it’s important to slowly increase weight as muscle resistance is built if weight training is part of a weekly workout routine. To avoid bulky muscles, increase weight slowly until the muscles feel fatigued, but not so much so that it makes the arms shake.

Women also will force themselves to do “real” push-ups because they think modified push-ups don’t work. As long as the arms are in line with the shoulders, planting knees on the ground is still a productive workout.

“I know I don’t do my push-ups right, I just never learned how to do it the correct way,” Varricchio said. “When I did push-ups from my knees, I thought it was easy at first. But after doing 10 of them the right way, I found out that it was hard. I will definitely not take those for granted anymore.”

Another common issue is thinking energy bars help with working out. in truth the energy it takes to digest the energy bars can detract from your workout.

After working out for an hour some women overindulge in treats and snacks because they think it cancels out. It’s great to grab a snack with carbs and protein afterwards, but it’s common to eat more calories than were burned off.

The final mistake Cosmopolitan highlights is that women avoid weighing themselves. While obsessive weighing may be unhealthy, regularly stepping on the scale can keep women motivated. Watching the number on the scale go down is a concrete motivation and can be a helpful reminder about the consequence of unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise.

These mistakes can hinder a workout, but following simple tips like these can boost it, making it worthwhile to get off the couch and hit the gym.