9 Common Strength Training Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

Make your workouts more effective by avoiding these popular exercise errors

Do you know what the most important part of an effective strength training routine is?

The number of sets and reps you complete? The amount of weight you lift? How many push-ups you can bang out before failure?

Sure, these factors are important (the push-up part for some more than others), but what many exercisers fail to realize is that when it comes to strength training (and all types of exercise really), injury prevention should always be your number one concern. After all, if you’re injured you can’t exercise. If you can’t exercise, you’ll have to put your health and fitness goals temporarily on hold.  

Hopefully you don’t act recklessly while you’re working out, but even if you’re well behaved your chances of sustaining an injury increase greatly when an exercise is performed improperly. Plus, making sure that you perform your strength exercises with proper form makes them more effective, which means you’ll be adding more value to the time you invest at the gym, or wherever it is that you work out.

Strength training is an essential component of any exercise routine. Building muscle by performing weighted exercises is associated with a long list of health and fitness benefits. In fact it’s so essential to maintaining good health that the American College of Sports Medicine’s exercise guidelines recommend including at least two strength training sessions in your workout routine each week.

Countless studies have shown that increasing your muscular fitness with strength training helps to reduce body fat, which means that it’s not only an effective way to lose weight, but you’ll also reap the benefits of a reduced risk for heart disease thanks to decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels and an overall stronger heart. (And those are just a few of the advantages.)

Whether you knew about the benefits of strength training and already incorporate weighted exercises into your routine or you’re just beginning a new workout regimen for the first time, it’s important that you execute all of your exercises with proper form.

Click here to see the most common strength training mistakes.

Every exercise has variations, but even though each can be performed at different levels of difficulty, the foundation for correct execution will always remain the same. We asked three personal trainers to share the strength exercises they feel are performed improperly most often and enlisted them to explain how to correct the most common mistakes, too.

Compiled by Marc Perry, a NSCA-CSCS and ACE certified personal trainer and the CEO of Built Lean; Dr. Christina Outlay, a a certified Group Fitness Instructor and the author of FitScholar.com; and Britney Anderer, an ACSM certified personal trainer from Long Island, New York, our list includes popular exercises like dumbbell bicep curls, squats, and bench presses.

Before your next visit to the gym, consider these nine common strength training mistakes and get the most out of your workout by always exercising safely.