It’s surprisingly easy to develop bad workout habits when you first attempt to get fit. After all, there’s a lot of fitness advice out there, and a lot of it is rather wrong. Longtime fitness junkies can also acquire bad habits when returning to workouts after taking a long break. However, lousy workout habits can cause workout injuries that will require that you take weeks away from training to heal, setting you further back on your fitness journey. Outlined below are the top tips for avoiding workout injuries at the gym.

#1 Stop the Kipping Pull-Ups
Kipping pull-ups use the momentum of leg swings to get you up and over the pull-up bar. This momentum reduces the arm strength needed to complete a lot of reps. They are a favorite among beginners who lack the arm strength to complete a traditional pull-up. Seasoned pros also like them as they can use them to inflate their rep per set records. However, if you’re out of shape or just getting back in the game, doing kipping pull-ups puts you at an increased risk of tendon and muscle tears. They’re not a good idea.

#2 Resist the Ab Machine Temptation
If your goal is to get a six-pack, you might be seduced by ab machines’ lure. It’s important to know that they increase your risk of injury because they isolate your ab muscles. Muscle isolation leads to differential muscle development. Your abs develop faster than the stabilizer muscles surrounding them do. For those with low overall fitness levels, this imbalance can be extreme. When the stabilizer muscles surrounding your abs don’t get strong enough to support your newly developed abdominal muscles, serious injuries can occur when you use them in a real-life setting.

#3 Go Easy on the HIIT Workouts
Nothing beats high-intensity interval training for losing weight, improving your aerobic capacity, and increasing your fitness endurance. But as a beginner, it can be easy to get a little too obsessed with HIIT workouts because of the fast results. This always ends up in injury. If you’re just starting a workout program, try to go easy on the HIIT exercises until you develop more resilience to injuries.

#4 Vary Your Workouts
While it’s okay to have one or two favorite exercises, you should make an effort to regularly alternate your workouts. Only focusing on one type of exercise can result in you overusing certain muscle groups, resulting in the kind of differential muscle development problem described above.

#5 Get Training on the Exercise Equipment You Use
Most of the population has no idea how to correctly use most of the conventional exercise machines. People tend to just turn up at their local gym and attempt to mimic other people’s techniques. However, a missed step or incorrect positioning can result in a serious injury. Always get a fitness professional at the gym to show you the correct way to use your chosen piece of equipment before using it.

The Wrap Up
Take time to learn and master the correct techniques for all your exercises and equipment before doing hundreds of reps. Taking your workouts seriously will decrease your risk of all types of injuries, including those that could put you out of action for weeks.