The Most Common Workout Moves You’re Doing Wrong (and How to Fix Them) from The Most Common Workout Moves You’re Doing Wrong (and How to Fix Them)

The Most Common Workout Moves You’re Doing Wrong (and How to Fix Them)

Reading about how to do certain moves on the internet  is completely different from actually physically executing them. “Unless you are an advanced athlete, it’s difficult to learn an exercise completely online because it’s hard to tell whether you’re performing it correctly or not,” Jeremy Ethier, founder of HIIT Your Body, says. Ideally, you want a professional to watch and show you in person how to do every specific exercise that is part of your program. It is extremely important to get it right from the start. “If your form is off from the beginning, this will create muscular imbalances in your body and with time will make it much harder to fix the form,” Ethier adds.

Back rows

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This is a compound exercise than many people usually do wrong, Ethier says. The main mistake people make is rounding or arching their back during the movement which can cause injury. “I recommend facing sideways to a mirror so you can see whether your back is neutral or not throughout the movement.”

Squats and lunges

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“Common mistakes people make are arching/rounding their back during the movement and keeping their knees too far forward, which creates a lot of pressure on the knees,” Ethier says. Ideally people shouldn’t go past their toes for both squats and lunges. Another common mistake is not activating their glutes enough.

Deadlifts

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A lot of trainers recommend deadlifts but only if done properly. “The main mistake people make is rounding their back during the movement which puts tons of unwanted pressure on your spine,” Ethier says. The right way to do it, according to him, is: Stand with your mid-foot under the bar and feet about shoulder-width apart. Grab the bar with a width of just outside of your knees with an over hand grip. Bend down with your knees and hips, then push your hips forward, lift your chest and straighten your back. Engage your core and pull while driving your hips forward.

Pushups

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Push-ups, simple but powerful movements that can be used to increase your overall fitness, are a challenging upper-body, bodyweight exercise. They seem basic enough, but some people don’t perform them right. “An arch of the back isn't uncommon, and is a result of muscle imbalances,” Ethier says.

Bicep curls

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A lot of people swing their arms when they do bicep curls (which you can easily do at your desk). “This is usually a result of choosing too heavy of a weight,” Ethier says. “To avoid this, keep a neutral spine and activate your core before you start. Keep your shoulders back as well, and focus on only using your biceps to move the weight,” he adds.

Triceps dips

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Triceps dips are an exercise many people injure themselves on as it puts a lot of strain on the shoulder joint and can lead to injury if you're tight and have some imbalances in your shoulder/upper trap area, according to Ethier. “I recommend progressing it by starting with bench dips first (and you can assist with your legs), then gradually building up to the bodyweight triceps dips.”

Planks

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All variations of planks are among the best core exercises. A lot of people do them but often get them wrong. Two big mistakes are keeping their hips too low to the floor or their butt too high in the air, Ethier says. “Having someone watch you or even having them put a straight stick along your back is essential when first learning how to plank,” he adds.

Kettlebell exercises

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Kettlebell exercises are fairly new to people,” Ethier says. The key is in using momentum and to generate force with your lower body. “For example, during kettlebell swings people tend to only use their upper body (mostly shoulders/arms) to swing the kettlebell,” he says. “But instead you need to drive the force with your hips and create the momentum with your lower body.”

Sitting exercises

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People do too many exercises in a sitting position. You are in a crunched position all day, so avoid anything that requires you to sit more. “Standing exercises force you to use more stabilizers and your core throughout the movement and will burn more calories than seated exercises,” Ethier says. “I almost always urge my clients to do standing exercises as opposed to their seated counterparts.”

Sit-ups

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Full sit-ups are a bad idea because they end up using and pulling muscles attached to the back while skipping the abdominal muscle. “They are not targeting the abs the right way,” Dr. Julie Barnett, an assistant professor of physical therapy at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, says. Full sit-ups actually compress your spine too much, increasing the risk of injury. Partial sit-ups are a good substitute, she adds. “Lift yourself up but just until your shoulder blades come off the floor.”

Russian Twists

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Russian twists are a great bodyweight exercise that is far more superior and intense than crunches. The problem is that most people are slouching and they let their knees move side to side. Sit on the floor; bend your legs at the knees. Assume a V-shape from. Fully extend your arms. Twist your torso to each side and keep your arms parallel to the floor as you hold a medicine ball. Move your hands to the opposite hip but don’t let your shoulder blades drop.

Overhead presses

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Dumbbell overhead press is always a good addition to strength workouts. But you are ruining your workout by arching backward. This puts a lot of strain on the back and increases the risk of a shoulder injury. Keep your ribs down. Bend your knees just a little as you push the weights up above your head.

Hurdle stretches

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Hurdle stretches were very popular, but coaches don’t “prescribe” them anymore because of the high injury riskKnee pain is common after you’ve been holding one leg in front and one leg in a bent position for a minute or so. The bent leg puts a lot of pressure on the knee as it’s forced to be sideways, which is not natural. The knee joint’s only job is to flex and extend. So do regular hamstring stretches instead but don’t bend your entire body as you are reaching for your toes, as this puts unnecessary pressure on the spine, which may lead to pain.

Pull-ups and chin-ups

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They are great for the bicep muscles as well as the core. You have to keep your core tight and engage the back as you descend from the bar – the slower the better. The body should be in a straight line. Don’t lift your legs and don’t swing your body.

Hanging leg raises

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You don’t see many people do them anymore because they are very challenging but great for the abs. It’s important to not swing back and forth. Stabilize your spine as you pull your knees towards the chest. Press your back against the pad and use your abs to raise your legs and knees.