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  • Common Mistakes Made at the Gym that Ruin Gains and Cause Injuries

    I decided to carry around a notepad with me the past several weeks and document the mistakes that I see people make in the gym that can cause injuries, less gains, and other negative issues. The object of this article is to explain why I feel these are mistakes and then attempt to give my opinion with facts to back them up.

    1. Wearing gloves or straps.

    When you wear gloves you are increasing grip strength which causes your actual grip to weaken. I guess you could argue its not a big deal as long as you continue wearing gloves but unfortunately the body doesn't work like that. What will happen is your forearms and wrist strength will go down as the body realizes it doesn't need to strengthen those muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. This can become a huge problem long term. You probably will notice forearm/wrist pain and you will notice they are disproportionate to the rest of your arm. Straps have the same effect. An example would be dead lifts using gloves and straps. Those that brag how much weight they can do with gloves/straps will be shocked at how weak they are when they attempt the lift without them. When you press or do bench press they will keep the bar off your hands, this can also hurt your wrists. Now some will argue that it keeps their hands from getting callouses, this is a stupid reason to wear gloves regardless, but even this is false and gloves won't prevent callouses. If you don't believe what I'm saying then try this sometime. Use a thick bar to do cleans, and then switch to a skinny bar, then you will understand what I am saying.

    End game: throw your straps, gloves and other items from sports authority into the trash.

    2. Not working out legs. Ever.

    I see guys walking around the gym looking cocky and tough in their tank tops. They have good size but their legs are skinny like chicken legs. I will use a cliche I have used for years on fitness boards "a tree cannot build branches without a strong trunk." A lot of your size is capable of being packed on in the legs. When you do not work them out makes you look foolish. but lets get away from how you look. lets look at the facts behind working your legs. First off doing dead lifts and squats release hormones more than any other exercise. Second you work your whole bodies core when you work your legs. Yes, you will work your abs doing squats, your arms/chest doing dead lifts especially if you are squeezing. This is pure core work that you cannot get doing curls in front of the mirror for 30 minutes a day. Third you get stronger, if you have a stronger back its gonna help you work your upper body and make you stronger. Fourth its HARD!!! When you skip out on leg work your body doesn't work as hard. Leg days are the toughest and if you give half effort your week's workouts you will get half ass results.

    End game: You should work out your legs at least once a week and dedicate the entire workout to them. Calves, midia, quads, glutes and hamstrings.

    3. Stretching before your workout and not warming up properly.

    This one used to be up for debate quite a bit but now as we have advanced in fitness its well known you never want to stretch before your weight training, you want to warmup before and stretch after. I notice that most people fail to stretch at all, and I have also seen people stretch before their lifts. Learn some yoga poses to use after your workout and spend some time on them. This will help stretch out your muscles and help them grow, even if you do not believe this at the very least stretching makes you more flexible which can help prevent injuries long term and help loosen up the muscles. Make sure you warm up before your workout so your muscles aren't cold, a reason you do not want to stretch is you risk pulling muscles when you do that and also you weaken the muscle. A huge mistake on a heavy day.

    End game: Warmup before and stretch after.

    4. Doing the same workout routine every time.

    This one is gonna hurt a lot of feelings I know but hear me out on this. When you do the same workout routine every time your body adjusts. I know some older guys especially who do the same workout every time they walk into the gym. Now they are excellent in those particular lifts but if I were to have them try something else they would be awful at it. The idea behind this is you want to push your body, not have it get used to the same routine. This will stimulate more growth. Lets say you do squats for example. I'm not saying don't do squats on your leg day, i'm saying change up your squat style. Go as low as you can one split, and then the next split do sit squats. Then the next split do something else. There are at least 35+ squat exercises, yet I see some people doing the same squat every time. The same amount of weight, same amount of reps/sets. How are they ever going to improve doing the same exact thing?

    End game: There are 35+ squat exercises alone so why are you doing the same one every time? Switch up your routine.
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. lovingontherun's Avatar
      lovingontherun -
      I think you have some great information in here! I agree with the warm up before and stretch after. This applies to any type of work out you are doing! I am a competitive runner and this is still the rules I follow!
    1. TheDarkHalf's Avatar
      TheDarkHalf -
      I would disagree with point 1 to a degree....straps have their place. Gloves....hell no! Straps and/or elbow/knee wraps DEFINITELY have their place IMO.
    1. stevesmi's Avatar
      stevesmi -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheDarkHalf View Post
      I would disagree with point 1 to a degree....straps have their place. Gloves....hell no! Straps and/or elbow/knee wraps DEFINITELY have their place IMO.
      why do you feel straps are necessary? i feel if you need to use them your form is bad or you are doing too much weight to begin with.

      i really don't like to see someone have to wrap themselves up like King Tut before a workout. tells me they are lifting more with their tendons/ligaments than their muscles.

      if you take away the straps and attempt to lift you will now notice a difference which shows that your body adjusted to the straps and thats not a good thing
    1. RickRock's Avatar
      RickRock -
      I can see straps being helpful for certain heavy lifts to concentrate more on targeting specific areas to failure without grip giving out first. Examples would be heavy rows, shrugs, and weighted chins/pull ups. I workout 90% of the time with nothing, but those lifts I will break straps out at times when going heavier. As long as you use them in moderation, and only as a tool for targeting certain lifts, you will still increase grip and forearm strength over time.
    1. beastreality's Avatar
      beastreality -
      Nice article, I actually forgot my gloves the last two workouts and I've noticed increased strength. Leaving those bitches at home
    1. RigoWar's Avatar
      RigoWar -
      Quote Originally Posted by RickRock View Post
      I can see straps being helpful for certain heavy lifts to concentrate more on targeting specific areas to failure without grip giving out first. Examples would be heavy rows, shrugs, and weighted chins/pull ups. I workout 90% of the time with nothing, but those lifts I will break straps out at times when going heavier. As long as you use them in moderation, and only as a tool for targeting certain lifts, you will still increase grip and forearm strength over time.
      Totally agree with you. I only use straps if I'm doing weight for 1 rep just to focus more on the posture and the wight instead of the grip.
    1. lovingontherun's Avatar
      lovingontherun -
      I have always used gloves, but now I think I will try leaving them at home and see if I notice a difference. Definitely worth trying!
    1. gymrat827's Avatar
      gymrat827 -
      Quote Originally Posted by stevesmi View Post
      why do you feel straps are necessary? i feel if you need to use them your form is bad or you are doing too much weight to begin with.

      i really don't like to see someone have to wrap themselves up like King Tut before a workout. tells me they are lifting more with their tendons/ligaments than their muscles.

      if you take away the straps and attempt to lift you will now notice a difference which shows that your body adjusted to the straps and thats not a good thing


      I DL without them til i hit 315. 315, 365, 385 i wear them. I couldnt pull 315 without them.....so in this case they help. I do 185, 225, 285 with out them. same with a belt, dont wear til 315.

      everything else is right on point.
    1. MuscleAddiction's Avatar
      MuscleAddiction -
      Good information Steve. Gloves...forget them!!! Straps have their place when doing heavy pulls...for me my grip will fail before my back does, so I will strap up for the final heavy sets. People have their own opinions about training...what works for some may not work for others, you need to find out what works best for you.
    1. stevesmi's Avatar
      stevesmi -
      Quote Originally Posted by gymrat827 View Post
      I DL without them til i hit 315. 315, 365, 385 i wear them. I couldnt pull 315 without them.....so in this case they help. I do 185, 225, 285 with out them. same with a belt, dont wear til 315.

      everything else is right on point.

      yeah bro you just aren't getting my point. i'm not argueing they don't help, i'm argueing the fact they help is not a good thing.
    1. stevesmi's Avatar
      stevesmi -
      Quote Originally Posted by lovingontherun View Post
      I have always used gloves, but now I think I will try leaving them at home and see if I notice a difference. Definitely worth trying!
      you won't notice a positive difference with some things you do. thats really not the point of the article.. its like saying fried shrimp tastes better than baked shrimp so we should fry shrimp. i think some of you are totally missing the point of the article. its about developing your wrists and forearms properly.
    1. Ricky's Avatar
      Ricky -
      Interesting, I use gloves because I tear my hands down when I don't.
    1. buttbeater's Avatar
      buttbeater -
      I completely stopped using straps for this reason!
    1. RickRock's Avatar
      RickRock -
      Quote Originally Posted by stevesmi View Post
      you won't notice a positive difference with some things you do. thats really not the point of the article.. its like saying fried shrimp tastes better than baked shrimp so we should fry shrimp. i think some of you are totally missing the point of the article. its about developing your wrists and forearms properly.

      Agreed bro. I knew your point, which is why I said straps have their place but should only be used in moderation to still allow forearm development. I use them things for only really heavy lifts to target muscle groups to failure without grip giving out first. If you reserve them for only that purpose, you can still really grow and develop forearm strength and grip.
    1. stevesmi's Avatar
      stevesmi -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ricky View Post
      Interesting, I use gloves because I tear my hands down when I don't.
      if you stop using gloves you will go through a process for a few weeks then you will start noticing stronger hands.. trust me I was a glove wearer years ago too. i stopped using them because I started having forearm/wrist issues and a very smart person told me it could be the gloves.. turns out they were right. it took some time for my forearms to catch up after i stopped the gloves but i'm glad i dumped them when i had the chance.. my grip and hands are extremely strong today enough where i have broken numerous glasses just from drinking out of them or have broken light bulbs unscrewing them etc. ...

      do your own research on this matter and make a decision on this but i feel very strongly about gloves being a horrible idea
    1. GoalSoClose's Avatar
      GoalSoClose -
      Have always worn gloves. 2 reasons 1) dirty mofos in the gym & 2)hands get torn up badly...have not used them this week, but holy shit those dead lifts fucked up my hands today, can't even feel them. I will still continue to use my straps on my heavy sets on the dead lifts. Dead lift is not a grip/forearm exercise & I'm definitely not going to allow my grip to get in the way of giving my back a good workout.


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    1. stevesmi's Avatar
      stevesmi -
      Quote Originally Posted by GoalSoClose View Post
      Have always worn gloves. 2 reasons 1) dirty mofos in the gym & 2)hands get torn up badly...have not used them this week, but holy shit those dead lifts fucked up my hands today, can't even feel them. I will still continue to use my straps on my heavy sets on the dead lifts. Dead lift is not a grip/forearm exercise & I'm definitely not going to allow my grip to get in the way of giving my back a good workout.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free
      either I did a piss poor job explaining why not to use gloves/straps or you just are not getting it. this is a touchy subject but as illustrated its definately a common mistake cause A LOT of people wear gloves

      wearing them HURTS your grip strength, it does NOT improve it. so you are only hurting yourself when you use them. you would get a far better workout without them then with them. and the longer they are used the more your body will adjust to depending on them. its like driving a BMW for 20 years straight and then driving a Ford... or living in a 5000 sq ft mansion all your life then moving to a trailer. your body is the same way, it will adjust to what you are doing to it

      and absolutely deadlifts involve grip and forearms. you are way off if you think it doesn't. if you took your straps and gloves away for deadlifts you would probably lose 50 pounds on your lift which proves my point that its making you weaker using them. if there is an exercise you shouldn't be using them its the deadlift. learn to lift RAW and you will grow like a weed. no straps, no belts, no gloves. I know this hurts a lot of guys feelings but its the truth, the sporting good stores don't want you to believe what i am telling you because they make money selling that shit. all you need when you go workout is water, thats all you need period .. leave the sporting good section at home

      your two reason for wearing them i will comment on as well .. as far as cleanlieness your gloves are gonna get sweat and crap on them from others so its gonna get on your hands regardless, but its definately a smart idea to use sanitizer.. keep some in your car when you leave use it. and your 2nd point about it tearing your hands, if your hands are that weak then thats a much smarter reason to dump the gloves as they are causing your hands to be fraile. go outside and kick a football with shoes, then go out and kick barefoot and you will understand what I am saying.
    1. Asheman's Avatar
      Asheman -
      Make sure if you wear gloves to the gym there matching your prada handbag. Just saying.
    1. stevesmi's Avatar
      stevesmi -
      Quote Originally Posted by Asheman View Post
      Make sure if you wear gloves to the gym there matching your prada handbag. Just saying.
      lol that is funny!!! there is a guy at my gym who uses garden gloves to workout with. and he is the type to go around and nitpick everyone else.. he told me i shouldn't wear ear phones while i workout cause i need to be able to hear what is going on around me. i'm like dude STFU!
    1. GoalSoClose's Avatar
      GoalSoClose -
      Alright the dude with the headphones comment is probably retarded lol. But I feel as though gloves/straps do not do all the work for you, they assist you, therefore your grip will still develop just at a slower pace then if you worked out without them. I just do not agree that they completely negate the use of your grip that's all.


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