These are the most common mistakes people make in the gym – and how to fix them

There’s a lot to think about when you go to the gym.

From remembering to pack all the correct kit, to making your class on time, or simply mustering the courage to get involved in the weights area.

Once you’ve done all that, then you’ve got to make sure you’re actually working out correctly. And without a personal trainer to guide you – that can be where lots of people of trip up.

Form is probably the most important thing when you’re working out in the gym. No matter if you’re using light weights, heavy weights, your own body weight, or the machines – doing a movement wrong can make your workout ineffective, and can even risk injury.

Lianna Swan, lead personal trainer at SHREDDY, says she sees some common mistakes come up again and again when she’s on the gym floor.

She says these little errors crop up in some of the most popular workout moves, and loads of people don’t realise they’re doing anything wrong.

Thankfully, Lianna has explained the most common gym mistakes she sees on a regular basis and, crucially, how to correct them:


Some of the most common mistakes here are:


Before loading a bar up and trying some deadlifts, make sure you master the hip hinge movement first.

This is a hamstring dominant movement which means you hinge (bend) from the hips, and not the knees.

Stand up tall, engage your core, sit your hips back towards the back of the room, keeping a slight bend in the knees.

Keep your shoulder blades pinched back and your chest proud.


Some of the most common mistakes are:


Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, if you struggle to hit depth at 90 degrees, maybe have your feet slightly wider.

Turn your toes out ever so slightly to about 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. The aim is to keep your knees tracking directly over your toes. A short resistance band around the knees can help encourage this!

If you struggle to keep your feet flat on the ground, place a small plate under your heels. This will help you to hit the correct depth.

More common errors in the gym

Be patient. Many people make the mistake of adding too much weight from day one.

This can lead to injury and encourage incorrect form, getting used to a movement with bodyweight will lead to better results in the long run. 

There will never be a perfect time to start but if you’ve got a pair of leggings, a sports bar and some trainers you’re good to go!

Anything else is a bonus, so start moving your bodyweight instead of nothing at all.

Try to avoid spending too much time on small, isolation movements. Compound lifts which require multiple body parts working together will have more benefit as a beginner.

When starting at a gym, the body is essentially a blank canvas. An untrained person will notice the greatest size and strength gains in the initial few months of training.

Have a plan! Setting clear goals and a workout split will mean less wasting time worrying about training.

To get the most out of training, aim to work each body part twice a week. 

Lianna Swan, lead personal trainer, SHREDDY 


Some of the most common mistakes are: 


When in the plank position, you want to make sure your hips are in line with your shoulders and heels.

Think about bracing and engaging your core as well as squeezing your glutes.

You want to be as rigid and stable as possible.

Try filming yourself next time to see what you really look like and make the correct changes.

Glute bridges

Some of the most common mistakes are:


Glute bridges are great for training your glutes – unsurprisingly.

A lot of the time people struggle to ‘feel it’ in their glutes. To set up correctly you’ll need to have a play around to find the optimal foot placement for you.

If your feet are too far away from your glutes, you’ll feel the exercise more in your hamstrings, if your heels are too close to your hips, you won’t be able to drive up into a full range of motion.

Make sure you squeeze your glute at the top of the movement!

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