I came across this post on the ironaddicts.com forums
This post is from an IA admin of 6 or 7 years, good stuff
I like watching people, especially when I go to the gym. At my local 24 Hour Fitness, I see all sorts of things. A lot of what goes on, training wise, is what people think they should be doing versus knowing what they should be doing. There seems to be a lasting effect from Arnold’s era where you must train six days a week, and do a lot of sets per bodypart. Rarely do you see anyone moving any legitimate weight, instead most of the training appears to be about the “pump”. And these folks are easy to spot, usually their shirts, regardless of arm size, have no sleeves…yet they all seem to wear pants instead of shorts…hmmm….
1st Error) Doing too many sets, too often. Two young kids probably did a 40 set arm workout, all single joint movements. Three days later, they were working arms again. Dumbbell Curls, Low Pulley Single Arm Cable Curls, Curl Machine, Tricep Pushdowns with two or three different bars, and a Tricep Machine. They were doing arms when I arrived, and were still doing arms when I left. Average arm size, maybe 12 inches. If you want to grow, don’t do what they do.
2nd Error) Doing too many single joint movements. Multijoint movements are harder to do and not as “cool”. Curling v. Squatting…the latter rack sits empty (unless someone is curling in it) while everyone searches for the other 25lb. dumbbell that a guy has doing single armed preacher curls. Easy is probably better than not at all, but for your time, multijoint movements are money.
3rd Error) Using too much weight on machines that limits proper form. The major contributor here is the leg press. Six, eight, ten plates a side…only to be moved 3 inches. Then you hear them tell their buddies that arrived, “Yeah, we worked up to 1000lbs. today….” Full range, controlled movements should be your bread and butter if you’re serious about getting bigger and stronger.
4th Error) Listening to the big guy in the gym. Okay, sometimes this can be good. But if the guy is doing any of 1-3, you probably should realize he got big in spite of his training and knowledge. There are a lot of guys who have good builds, seem to grow as if they look at a weight, and freely dispense knowledge about “the” way. However, see how they look next year and if they ever get stronger. If not, it is clear, they moved to a particular point because of genetics and maybe hormonal enhancement. Instead, listen to the guy, if you must, that you see positive change in. He may not be the biggest or the strongest, but positive change indicates he’s doing something right, all other things being equal.
5th Error) Thinking in-house personal trainers have all of the answers. Be wary of personal trainers. If you really want to know what I do when I do cardio, I watch the personal trainers train their clients. I see all sorts of bad stuff: a 45-50 year old overweight lady doing jumps up on to a 10 inch box—first session (watched the consultation); doing upper body stability work the first training session (pushups on an exercise ball—hands on the stability ball); thinking lunges are the only way to work the lower body (a favorite among female trainers), and others. I often see a confusion with clients who choose a trainer based on how the trainer looks, and that such a trainer has the right knowledge. Case in point, a female trainer at the gym looks like a softball player, a little bit thick, but shapely. She is one of the better trainers in the gym, and she, herself, trains hard. However, the “attractive” girl, who’s got a killer body is always on the floor working. But she trains people in a way that makes little sense, I think her motto is “…keep them moving for 45 minutes”. I’ve seen her train with another trainer during their off times, and her form is questionable on a number of exercises, as is the other trainer’s. The thick girl sits, while the other works. So, what should you do? Talk to people in the gym and find out who’s good and who’s not. Usually a trainer that has been there a while is a better choice but not always.