78606752Many people often start a fitness routine as their own personal fitness trainer at the gym. They set up their own program (or implement one they see in bodybuilding magazines, or the internet), decide how much weight and resistant to use, etc.

Unfortunately, most of the time, poor technique can slowly make its way into the routine. I’ve been in the gym enough to know that a good chunk of people have no idea how to execute exercises with proper technique. Incorrectly performing exercises cause non targeted muscles to be worked and can often lead to serious and lingering injuries that can prevent you from training and having a pain free life.

I’ve always been one to preach that when you’re performing an exercise for the first time to dedicate time to learn the proper mechanics and form first before even thinking about adding resistance. Many injuries in the gym can be avoided by taking the time to learn proper technique and execution on the exercises. In this article, I am going to list 4 of the exercises (in no specific order) that I often see performed incorrectly at the gym and how to properly perform them for maximum engagement of the muscles being worked and to prevent any injuries as well.

1) The Squat

Often considered to be the king of all exercises. This big compound movement is the one that is most commonly performed incorrectly. I’ve often seen guys leaning forward too much causing much of the weight to be on their on their toes instead of into their heels. This will often lead them to use their back to lift a majority of the weight.  This can lead to serious injuries of the lower back, spine and spinal muscles.

-How to correct it: When performing the squat, you’ll want to keep your head up, squeeze your shoulder blades together and engage a neutral spine (natural arch in the spine).  Squat down keeping your knees back (avoid them going over your toes).  Feel the weight pushing through your leg muscles and not your spine. If you can’t execute this technique, lighten the weight on your bar.

Squats, are you going low enough?

2) The dumbbell lunge

The error here is that: many people allow their knees to come over their toes when performing this exercise. This can cause serious injury to the knee joint and tendons.

How to correct it: When doing dumbbell lunges, you’ll need to picture the exercise as a four part movement. 1) Step forward;  2) Drop down (not forward) into the lunge; 3) Rise back up pushing through your front foot; 4) Return to your start position.  Focusing on the four stages will help you engage your leg and glute muscles effectively.

3) The Deadlift

This is one of my favorite exercises and many people often avoid them because of lower back pain. This is usually because they’re lifting the weight with their back instead utilizing their legs into the movement. Can you imagine using your lower back to pull 200lbs+ off the floor? Ouch.

– How to correct it: You should think of lifting the weight off the floor as a pushing movement, not a pulling movement. Your legs should perform a majority of the workload until the weight is up high enough for the back to take it into the finishing position.

4) The bench press

A majority of guys don’t get enough chest stimulation from performing this exercise. They usually end up using their triceps to push up the weight taking a lot of the work load away from the actual chest muscle they are trying to stimulate.

– How to correct it: Squeeze your shoulder blades together (keep shoulders down and back) and stick out your chest during the exercise and keep it out. A majority of guys will start in this position, but as they push the weight, their chest will go into a concave position, taking all of the stimulation off of the chest.


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John considers himself as a fitness enthusiast who loves to do anything to keep the body in peak physical performance (much like a highly tuned machine). He mainly focuses on sports nutrition and supplement research, but is also highly knowledgeable in relation to muscle growth and fat loss. He's helped numerous people over the years achieve the body that they've always wanted and hopes his information will guide you to the goals you want.

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