You can work out all you want, but if you’re not using the right form, you may not see the results you want — and you may even put yourself at risk for injury.
Even some of the most common exercises are all too easy to do wrong.
Fortunately, there are simple fixes that will have you on your way of getting fit the right way, to avoid unnecessary muscle injuries and muscle soreness. It just also may save you a trip to the doctor or a massage therapist.
Check out six commonly flubbed exercise moves and learn how to fix your form.
Not only is this is a highly effective core exercise, but you also can do it just about anywhere — no equipment necessary.
- Middle of the body sags to the floor, sometimes even touching the ground
- Neck and spine are misaligned
- Looking up and craning the neck
- The buttocks and hips raised too high
- Keep your body aligned from head to toe, make sure your hips are neither too high nor too low
- Only toes, forearms, and hands should touch the ground
- Engage your abs to help your alignment – if you can’t keep them tight, take a rest
- Position shoulders down and back, aligned directly over elbows
- Look at the floor to keep the neck from craning
A classic exercise that uses gravity and your body weight to work out your chest, triceps, leg, abs, and all kinds of muscles in-between.
- Trying to shift body weight off of arms
- Having body swayed down or up at the hips
- Positioning arms too widely
- Letting your chest touch the ground
- Your arms should bear the brunt of the weight — if it’s too much, consider a modified type of push-up with your knees on the ground
- Engage your abs & pull your belly button to your spine to keep your body in a straight line
- Position arms slightly wider than your shoulder width with your wrists at shoulder height
- Your chest should be the first thing that would touch the ground but stop when it’s 2 to 3 inches off the floor
Another exercise that’s easy to do wherever, lunges work out your legs, back, and butt.
- Slouching with the upper body forward or to the sides or back rounded
- The knee of the front leg is leaning past the toe
- Head is misaligned with the rest of body
- Align shoulders with hips; back should be in a neutral position
- When in the lunge position, both knees should be bent around 90 degrees
- Don’t let your front knee bend past your toes and keep the back knee lifted off the ground
- Look straight ahead and keep chin parallel to the floor
It is an excellent workout for your legs, but when done with poor form, squats can easily strain your lower back.
The common mistakes:
- Back is rounded, which puts added stress on the lower back instead of using leg muscles
- Knees are bent past the toes; feet are turned in
- Arms are extended too far forward
- Not squatting deeply enough
- Shoulders should stay back and down with chest lifted
- The back should be in a neutral position
- Feet should be shoulder-width apart with weight on the heels
- Toes and knees should be pointed slightly out, and knees shouldn’t extend beyond toes
- Squat as if you’re going to sit in a chair but don’t go so far that your buttocks drop below knee-level
Biceps curls use all kinds of muscles in your arm, forearm, and shoulder.
The common mistakes:
- Lifting too much weight
- Squeezing shoulders forward (usually because of too much weight)
- Leaning backward
- Bringing weights up too fast
- Using whole-body momentum to swing the weights up and down
- Lift a comfortable amount of weight — not too much and not too little
- Focus effort on the biceps, keeping your back, elbows, and shoulders stationary
- Stand up straight with shoulders back and down
- Squeeze your abs and glutes to help maintain good posture
- Move smoothly, curling arms up until the weights are level with your shoulder.
This exercise works not only your chest but also your triceps and several muscles in the shoulders and back that are involved in maintaining full-body stability.
The common mistakes:
- Raising shoulders too high
- Moving legs and hips to push the weight
- Wobbling during the exercise or having to pop your feet up to stay balanced
- Keep shoulders back and down; the bar should be about level with your mid-chest
- Engage abs and keep neck relaxed
- Your back should have a natural arch but not overarched
- Keep your feet on the floor to add stability
These tips can make you more aware of common missteps to avoid during your workout, but if you’re ever concerned about your form, the best idea is to talk about it with a certified personal trainer.
Asking how to do an essential exercise, such as Lunge, may seem silly but mistakes while performing these exercises are so common that just bringing up the topic will make you look miles ahead of other gym-goers. Plus, learning how to exercise the proper way will help you get the most out of your workouts.