Get Your Training Right

Wrong warm-up

Jumping on the treadmill for a ten-minute blast before you hit the weights room might sound like an easy one-stop warm-up, but at best it's an inefficient way to heat up your core and at worst it leaves key muscles unprepared for action.

Get it right: 'Spending four to five minutes on a treadmill or rower to bring up your core temperature is OK, as long as you then warm up specific muscles by lifting a light load for warm-up sets of the exercises that you're actually about to do,' says Crudgington. 'This will help you to avoid injury and achieve the full range of motion.'

Machine obsession

Machines are useful for those new to lifting or returning from injury because their control lets you exercise safely. But spending too long on them will hold you back.

Get it right: 'There's a point on the machine's pulley where it takes over from you, so that you're not working 100 per cent of the muscle 100 per cent of the time,' says Lee Archer, director of Pro Fitness gym. 'Using free weights such as dumb-bells will keep both sides of your body under constant tension to develop your joint stabilisers and bigger muscles evenly.'

Doing too much

Extra workouts or 30 minutes longer in the gym 'just to make sure' won't make you stronger, fitter or leaner. Exercise breaks you down then builds you back up, so overdoing it puts your health and your fitness at risk.

Get it right: 'You get stronger while you're resting rather than when you're working out, so you need to allow time for repair,' says Wild. 'These days, we suggest that 45 minutes per workout is optimal for resistance training and the maximum is one hour.' Leave 48 hours between heavy workouts and every four to six weeks, have a "reduced training week" in which you cut the volume of your workouts by 50 per cent.'


Go for optimum power.