When it comes to getting stronger, resistance training is key. In addition to preserving lean muscle mass, it can also help increase your bone density (key for staving off osteoporosis) and keep your weight in check—all things that get harder with age. If that’s not reason enough for you to hit the weights—or break a sweat with a bodyweight workout—know that resistance training can also help manage everything from arthritis to back pain.
But before you jump into a new routine, it’s integral that you take some steps to set yourself up for success. After all, a training program is only as good as the exercises in it. And the exercises are only beneficial if they’re performed properly. Poor technique doesn’t just yield poor results, it also increases your chance of injury. As a trainer, I come across so many people who rush into strength training only to fall victim to injury. Sloppy form is often the culprit. Here are five exercises that are often done incorrectly, plus tips on how to fix your form.
Common Mistake: Reaching too low at the bottom of the movement and aiming for the weight to touch the ground, rounding your back in the process.
Simple Fix: As you lower the weight, focus on sliding your hips back as far as you can. When your hips no longer slide back, contract your glutes and hamstrings, and thrust your hips forward. This will place focus on the hamstring and glutes and eliminate potential strain on your lower back.
Common Mistake: Angling yourself too far back relative to the angle of the TRX strap (or lowering yourself too close to the ground). Doing this targets the wrong muscles; you end up using a lot of your upper back and arms, instead of the rhomboid muscles between your shoulder blades.
Simple Fix: Create a 90-degree angle between the strap and your spine. This forces you to use your rhomboid muscles and reduces the strain on your neck.
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension
Common Mistake: Bringing the dumbbells too far back behind the head during the concentric (shortening) portion of the movement and too far forward during the eccentric (lengthening) portion.
Simple Fix: Lower the dumbbells straight down while keeping your elbows pinned to your ears. Then drive the head of the dumbbell straight up towards the sky. Your upper arm should remain still and perpendicular to the ground the entire time. This ensures you work your triceps without the muscles in your upper back (the latissimus or teres major muscles) assisting.
Common Mistake: Allowing your leading knee to slide too far forward past your leading foot. This puts undue stress on the knee, increasing your risk of injury, and only really works the quadriceps.
Simple Fix: When you lunge, don’t allow your front knee to move past the laces on your shoe and keep your weight between the arch and heel of your front foot. This redistributes the work among the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
Common Mistake: Using the momentum of swinging, rather than lifting the brunt of your weight vertically. This is called a “kipping pull-up,” and it has become common thanks to CrossFit. I’m not a big fan of this version, though, as it’s kind of a functional cheat.
Simple Fix: Work to build a strong, strict pull-up (these tips can help). Your lower body should never be in front of your upper body. Push your chest out on the way up.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.
25 CommentsLeave a comment
This is great, I will mend my ways and find these exercises much easier.
Great post! Clear and to the point. Thank you
Great post.. Love it. Thank you.
This is the great post, really clear for me.
whats the best way to lose fat from belly, l got some to lose.
Lots of cardio, cut out ALL added sugar, (don’t touch “sugar substitutes either) find and cut hidden sugars wherever possible, reduce simple carbs. Eat “good fats”
Love the Reverse Lunge idea. No matter how much I tried to keep my forward lunges properly aligned, at some point I would get off track & feel it in my knee. Please keep these tip coming.
Excellent demonstrations and explanations!
Great info – very instructive and to the point, Thanks!
Great advice. I will be very conscious of your suggestions for a better workout.
This was really helpful. Thanks so much!
Just what I like short video very informative.
Awesome post! Will correct my ways, Thank you so much!
Aloha & Mahalo!
Awesome post! will correct my ways. Aloha & Mahalo!
My greatest concern with fitness is trying to perform the movement in perfect position. Moving in good position becomes more important if performing the movement in higher volumes or activating the muscle with increased loads. But never training out of position crates a muscular structure with flaws creating a potential for injury. Be smart about training and always keep volume and load at the forefront and set your ego aside.
Fantastic post! Very informative and straight to the point. Extremely helpful, thanks
thanks regarding Forward Lunge
You got the eccentric and concentric passes mixed up in the triceps extension
Thank you for the demonstrating the correct way to do these excercises. This is the way I was taught over 40 years ago.
Thank you! Great info and videos to help me from hurting my 72 yr old body!
Very helpful post and videos! Please keep them coming.
I want to focus on my glutes, 69y/o, and I see my glutes loosening. What exercise do I need to make my glutes firm.
Harley, thank you so much for your demonstration. I agree that good form vs improper form and the how, “not to do’s,” with exercises. I have seen it myself. These common mistakes are made so often, I just lost count. People do not understand improper form and how to perform an exercise incorrectly will only cause long term injury. Love your Video techniques.
Susana CPT, Health and Fitness Nutritionist
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