Full reps - 5 ways you're wasting gym time - IMAGE - Women's Health & Fitness

1. Doing full reps

While many women say they don't want to gain muscle size, most amateur gym bunnies are going about it the wrong way.

Melbourne PT and owner of Cardio Haters gym Grant Lofthouse says the key to minimising muscle gain – which is slower and less dramatic in women than you might think – is cutting your reps in half.

Lowering the weight (known as the 'eccentric' component) causes greater 'torn down' muscle. When a muscle gets torn down, it reconstructs and repairs itself slightly larger than before. In the same vein, back off the high reps, as greater volume equals greater damage, and greater post-trauma muscle mass growth.

Get it right: Aim for 10 to 20 total sets per session and abandon reps half way. To establish which exercises you can safely tweak, speak to a trainer before making up your own variations.

The deadlift is a good candidate, as it's notorious for adding muscle. To skip the eccentric component, release your grip at the top of the movement and follow it down without tension. (If you drop it the gym staff will growl.)

Photo credit: Thinkstock/Blitz Publications