- The all-or-nothing approach. Even if you don't have all the time you'd like for your workout, research shows that just ten minutes of exercise can provide important health benefits. A little bit can add up over time, so just do what you can. See: How Much Exercise Do You Need?
- Unbalanced strength training programs. Most people focus only on certain muscles (like the abdominals or biceps), but it's important to work your whole body and core to achieve balance and health.
- Poor Technique or form. Using incorrect form can lead to injury. Examples include: letting the knee extend beyond the toes during a lunge or squat; using momentum to lift heavy weights; not exercising through a full range of motion will produce less-than-optimal results. To learn proper form, it's helpful to invest in a few sessions with a certified Personal Trainer
- Inconsistent Progression. Exercising too hard and too often, or increasing intensity too quickly is a common mistake. Consistency and gradual progression are important for avoiding injury as well as for making improvements.
- Lack of Cross training. Many people stick with a routine and then never change it. The same workout week after week will lose its effectiveness and may lead to boredom, injury or burnout.
- Incorrect Machine Set-up. Exercise equipment is adjustable and it's important that you set it up to fit you before you use it. If you don't know how, ask a staff person. Using poorly adjusted equipment is a set-up for injury.
- Skipping the Warm Up. Taking about 5-10 minutes to gradually increase your body temperature and heart rate has been shown to decrease your risk of injury. Try this great core strengthening warm up.
- Poor gym etiquette. This can range from simple rudeness (lingering on machines) to extreme poor taste(bad body oder or not wiping your sweat from machines). Always be considerate of other exercisers.
- Poor Goal Setting. Unrealistic or vague goals can contribute to exercise dropout. The key is to establish a training goal that is specific and appropriate for your fitness and skill levels. Try to define challenging but not impossible goals.
Source: The American Council on Exercise.