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Are You Making These Common Workout Mistakes?

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Are You Making These Common Workout Mistakes?

Are You Making These Common Workout Mistakes?


Time is precious. Making the most of every workout session and avoiding common mistakes is crucial for achieving optimal results. At Legacy Personal Training, we recognize the importance of effective exercise routines tailored to individual needs. In this comprehensive guide, we explore 12 common workout mistakes that could be hindering your progress and provide actionable insights to optimize your fitness journey.

1. You Only Use Machines

Resistance training is one of the best things you can do for your body. A 2012 study found that just 10 weeks of resistance training can increase lean muscle mass by nearly 4 pounds, reduce fat by 4 pounds, and increase your metabolic rate by 7 percent. However, relying solely on machines limits your progress.

Machines lock your movement into a predetermined plane, working large, primary muscles without much assistance from stabilizing muscles. This approach fails to strengthen these essential muscles and eliminates the use of balance. For more functional training, incorporate free weights and bodyweight exercises into your routine. These exercises strengthen total-body movements and improve coordination between different muscle groups, enhancing performance and everyday functionality.

2. You Wait to Work Out

While working out at night is better than not working out at all, optimizing your workout time based on your goals can enhance your results. For instance:

  • Weight Loss: Walking in the evening can reduce late-night cravings and improve weight-loss success.
  • Fat Burning: Exercising in a fasted state before breakfast improves insulin sensitivity.
  • Muscle Building: Evening workouts may be more optimal for building muscle and increasing strength.
  • Stress Relief: Morning exercise helps lower blood pressure and sets a positive tone for the day.

Find a time that aligns with your fitness goals and lifestyle to maximize your workout benefits.

3. You Forget the “Little Muscles”

Focusing solely on major muscles like biceps, pecs, and quads can lead to imbalances and injuries. Stabilizers and synergists play crucial roles in supporting primary muscles and ensuring functional movement patterns. Neglecting these smaller muscles can result in posture problems, pain, and injuries.

Incorporate exercises targeting dynamic stabilizers, such as the rotator cuff, erector spinae, gluteus medius, and obliques. Use resistance bands and multi-plane movements to engage these muscles. Exercises like back extensions, bicycle crunches, and side steps with an exercise band around your feet can strengthen these vital muscles.

4. Your Recovery is All Wrong

Proper recovery is essential for long-term fitness success. A quick stretch and shower aren’t enough. One effective recovery method is foam rolling, which targets the fascia—a dense webbing that envelops muscles, nerves, and other tissues. Foam rolling helps break up knots and adhesions, improving muscle function and range of motion.

Foam rolling also impacts the nervous system, lowering cortisol levels and reducing both physical and emotional stress. For optimal recovery, focus on common problem areas like calves, IT band, and hamstrings. Foam roll daily, holding tender spots for 30-90 seconds, and follow with static stretching.

5. You Force Yourself to Run

Running isn’t for everyone. If you dread lacing up your sneakers, consider alternative forms of cardio like cycling, swimming, or spinning. Enjoyable activities are more sustainable and less likely to cause burnout. Running at a slower pace can also be beneficial, as it’s linked to a longer lifespan compared to faster, more intense running.

Choose activities you enjoy and consider working out with a buddy to increase adherence. Even virtual workout partners, like those on Peloton, can provide motivation and support.

6. You’re Jarring Your Joints (and Maybe Your Lungs)

High-impact activities can stress your joints. Opt for lower-impact alternatives to protect your knees and other joints. For example:

  • Basketball: Play indoors instead of on asphalt.
  • Running: Choose trails or grassy areas over hard surfaces.
  • Zumba: Be cautious of the dynamic, twisting movements that can harm your joints.

Additionally, pay attention to gym flooring. Natural cork or linoleum are better options than vinyl or recycled rubber, which can emit harmful chemicals. Ensure your workout environment supports joint health and overall well-being.

7. Your Workout Rest Periods are All Wrong

Rest periods between sets are crucial for achieving specific fitness goals:

  • Muscle Endurance and Stabilization: Rest for 0-90 seconds to keep the heart rate elevated and optimize fat burn.
  • Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth): Short rests of 0-60 seconds increase growth hormone and testosterone levels.
  • Maximal Strength and Power: Longer rests of 3-5 minutes are necessary for lifting max weights and training for power.

Tailor your rest periods to match your goals and ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts.

8. You Forget to Rest Altogether

Overtraining can lead to injuries, mood problems, and burnout. Not giving your body adequate rest can result in chronically high cortisol levels, which promote fat storage. Signs of overtraining include changes in heart rate, trouble sleeping, increased soreness, joint pain, moodiness, chronic fatigue, appetite changes, and digestion issues.

Incorporate rest days into your routine and listen to your body. Balance high-intensity workouts with activities like yoga and HIIT training to avoid overtraining and support recovery.

9. You Arrive Undernourished

Exercising on an empty stomach can be effective for fat burning, but it doesn’t work for everyone. A pre-workout snack can enhance performance and fat burn for some individuals. Experiment with natural pre-workout snacks to find what works best for you.

A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found no significant difference in weight loss between those who ate before workouts and those who didn’t. The key is to do what feels right for your body and ensures sustained energy throughout your workout.

10. You’re Stretching Dangerously

Improper stretching techniques can cause more harm than good. Avoid stretches that place unnecessary strain on your joints, such as:

  • Hurdler’s Stretch: Instead, sit with one leg extended and the other foot against the inner thigh.
  • Quadriceps Stretch with Both Knees Flexed: Opt for lying on your stomach and gently pulling your foot toward your buttocks.
  • Overhead Bicycle or Yoga Plow Stretch: Avoid stretches that place extreme pressure on the neck.

Ensure your stretching routine is safe and effective by focusing on proper form and techniques.

11. You’re Too Predictable

Repetition can lead to boredom and plateaus. The nervous system and muscles can adapt to your routine quickly, reducing effectiveness. To break out of a plateau, be sure to alternate training phases every 4-6 weeks.

12. You Forget Corrective Exercise

Corrective exercise addresses imbalances and prevents injuries. Consult with a certified personal trainer for a postural and movement assessment. This evaluation will identify muscles that need rolling, stretching, or strengthening, as well as any running issues or postural distortions.

Incorporating corrective exercises into your routine ensures a balanced, functional body and reduces the risk of pain and injuries.


Avoiding these common workout mistakes can significantly enhance your fitness journey, making your workouts more effective and enjoyable. At Legacy Personal Training, we’re committed to helping you achieve your health and fitness goals with personalized, expert guidance.

Ready to optimize your workout routine? Schedule a consultation with our team at Legacy Personal Training today. Let us help you create a tailored fitness plan that maximizes your results and supports your long-term health. Join us and experience the benefits of effective, informed exercise.


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