There are some topics that just sweep the American nation and suddenly become all anyone talks about. Kylie’s pregnancy. Game of Thrones. The new La Croix flavors. And of course, the trendiest workout classes. If you’re not part of the convo, it’s awkward. Fitness classes are becoming more popular by the second, and betches are flocking towards them like the birds flying south for winter. With so many newbies in all these classes, you’re probably doing a lot of shit wrong. I mean, the trainers at most of these studios are usually legit, but they aren’t watching your every move, so you could be screwing up without realizing. Here are 6 mistakes you’re making in your workout class.
1. Using The Lightest Weights Available
We know most spin classes only offer one- and two-pound weights, but right now we’re talking about classes that have a strength training component, not only cardio. If you’re taking any sort of HIIT training class with weights or a circuit-based class, you need to be challenging yourself with the weights you use, or else you’re wasting your time and money. It makes sense to grab the lightest weights if you’re a total newbie, but if you’ve come a handful of times and haven’t changed your weights yet, your body will plateau and you’ll stop seeing results. Grab a weight that’s hard enough but not too heavy that you’ll literally injure yourself after one squat. Like, the goal is to be sore tomorrow. Not crippled.
2. Doing The Moves Too Fast
This is a huge problem in basically every single class, whether you’re doing pilates, barre, yoga, HIIT, or boxing. Even if the class is supposed to be high-intensity, a lot of the exercises are actually more effective if you do them slower and really control the movement. We’re talking about exercises like bicycle crunches, pulsing squats, dumbbell rows, and plank dips. If you’re not feeling the muscle you’re supposed to be working, you’re going too fast and you need to chill. Not every part of class has to be your fastest sprint, so try to actually think about the muscle you’re working, and SLOW DOWN to really feel the burn. By rushing through the movements, you’re totally defeating the purpose of the workout.
3. Putting Pressure On Your Knees
A lot of classes do lower-body leg work, and that’s when your form actually matters. A lot. Whether you’re looking to strengthen, tone, burn, grow—or whatever the hell they’re selling you on—you need to stop putting pressure on your knees. Doing exercises like squats and lunges can be super tough on your joints if your form is wrong, so make sure your knees are completely behind your feet during these movements, or else you’ll end up pressing down on the joint and hurting yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re using your heaviest weight or no weight at all. Your body weighs enough to strain your knee, so just take your time and fix your form before you do any damage. No one wants to tell people they got injured in a Tracy Anderson class.
4. Leaning Forward On The Treadmill
Treadmill classes have been huge lately, and it’s probably because everyone realized how boring the treadmill is when you don’t have someone yelling at you to speed up every 30 seconds. Classes like Barry’s Bootcamp and Mile High Run Club are effective and hard AF, but they don’t always correct your form when you’re running, so you need to take matters into our own hands. When you’re running on the treadmill, stop leaning forward and stop looking down. You’ll end up over striding, which means you’ll put unnecessary pressure on your hips and knees. Remember, your foot should be landing beneath you, not in front of you. Keep your core engaged and your posture straight and try to look forward. Oh, and please stop holding onto the sides. You’re literally cheating.
5. Giving Up When You Feel The Burn
This refers to any sort of endurance training, whether you’re burning your muscles in barre or doing a 60-minute spin class. Basically, when you put your body through an endurance workout, it’s tempting to give up when you get tired or your muscles start burning. What you don’t realize, however, is that the burn just means your body is being challenged in a way it’s not used to. It doesn’t mean you should stop squatting when your legs start shaking and you’re a little uncomfortable. Don’t be that girl who stands up in barre before the teacher says, “10 more seconds.” I mean, you’ve already paid $38 for this class, and an extra $12 for the special socks. Don’t ruin it for yourself.
6. Not Warming Up & Not Stretching
People tend to think warming up before a workout and stretching afterwards is a friendly suggestion. Kind of like getting edamame with your sushi order—not necessary, but recommended to just round out the experience. Well, it’s not. If you don’t warm up before your workout, you could end up majorly injuring yourself and shocking your system. Your blood needs to start moving before the workout, whether that means doing some jumping jacks before class, jogging to the studio, or doing some arm circles in the locker room when no one’s looking. The stretch after class is even more important, considering the fact that you’ll be sore AF tomorrow. I know the shower line is long, but it’s literally like three more minutes of your time to stay through the stretching portion. You’ll thank yourself when you can get out of bed tomorrow.