Every week, Coach Rick Scarpulla answers questions from readers and gives advice about strength training and fitness. This week, we had a question of our own, so we asked Rick "what are the biggest mistakes people make in the gym?" He pointed out the three most common and suggestions on how to fix those errors fast.

MISTAKE #1 - Most crunches are crap

People don't do real core work. They do sit-ups and stuff I don't even want to talk about on a quest for that elusive six pack. People need to do real, weighted core work. Get on the incline board and put a heavy dumbbell on your chest (and heavy means heavy) and do some hard core sit ups. Do some reverse pulldowns and throw in some hanging leg lower ab work.

MISTAKE #2 -- Neglecting back and legs

Most guys don't do enough back work. The need for working back is a must to get stronger and gain size. Your back and lats are the biggest muscles in the upper body yet many guys barley work them. Most guys need more heavy big compound movements.

The second most important move is the squat. I'm talking REAL squats -- most guys who squat barely go down. It’s more like a curtsy. Man up and squat deep. Bring your butt and nuts down to parallel.  You will get a lot more out of it that way. Hit the legs hard and deadlift if you really want to gain thickness.

Mistake #3 -- Bench and biceps and nothing else

Saving the worst for last. The major thing that jumps out to me, because I see it constantly, is people doing too much bench and bicep curls.

Here’s what happens almost every day -- First the guy walks into the gym and puts on gloves and weight belt. If you wear gloves you are a candy a** and you only should wear a belt if you are squatting or deadlifting heavy. He walks by the mirror, to reassure himself he looks like a tough guy, and goes over to the bench for a few pitiful bench reps at 185- 205 lbs. Next, some bicep curls and then a few crunches followed by lots of jaw exercise yapping to people and plenty of eye work checking out women.

I know "gym, tan, laundry" and all that crap because you all want to look good, but don’t you want to be strong also? What good is it if you like Tarzan but lift like Jane. It's time to concentrate on gaining muscle and strength.

Rick Scarpulla, the creator of The Ultimate Athlete Training Program, is a highly sought-after and renowned strength, speed and conditioning coach who works in developing top high school, college and professional athletes and programs throughout North America. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

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