Many people are taking their smartphones into the gym with them and filming the antics of gym goers who might not be doing the exercise quite right, usually the person in question is oblivious to this but believes they are doing everything right.
Some movements are difficult and when it comes to fitness we are all still learning really, not everyone is born with the ability to perform every exercise perfectly, I decided to do put a few common exercises down that people struggle to get right when it comes to fitness, don’t be the person on a funny video online somewhere.
1) Bicep Curls
Obviously this targets youre biceps, out of all bicep workouts this is the one that is done incorrect the most. When you do a curl your natural thought is to get the weight as high as possible but this can mean moving your biceps from a fixed position at the side of your body.
Your biceps should be locked at your sides, behaving like a hinge. If you move them forward the front delts become engaged which changes the single-joint biceps exercise into a multi-joint shoulders and biceps one.
When you do leave your sides your hands end up above your elbows at the top which gives you a nice resting spot taking tension away from the exercise.
Getting Back On Track: Always lock your elbows by your sides for the whole set. No matter whether it is standing,seated or otherwise your hands should never be as high as your shoulders at the highest point of your movement making your arms work harder at the top without resting.
2) Cable Crossover
This is just a single jointed exercise for your pecs but many people do the exercise just like a press. This is noticeable from the elbows, if they close and open up like a bench press the triceps are doing the work. This then becomes a multi-joint workout. That’s not always a problem but most people will choose cables to isolate the pecs and if you are wanting more weight you can do bar or dumbbells on a flat bench so it is more effective to do the isolation correctly.
Back On Track: Lock around 135 degrees (halfway between 90 degrees and where your arms are completely straight) in your elbows, holding it there for the whole movement, if you are unsure about any of it is a good idea to look in the mirror whilst performing the routine and see you are doing it right.
3) Dumbbell Kickback
Used to work your triceps it is amazing how many people actually get this one wrong, it is common to see people’s working side elbow drop whilst doing the exercise meaning the triceps get a much shorter range of motion, many people also pull the weights forward pushing with gravity instead of against it creating momentum before any muscle work takes place.
Here’s Where You Are Going Wrong: When you are in the bent over position align your elbow by your torso so that your upper arm is parallel with the floor. It should stay in this position for the whole set, use a mirror if necessary to see this. Hinge at your elbow but do not bring your arm down anymore than 90 degrees at the bottom of the rep. Your forearm should point at the floor so do not bring it any further forwards.
4) Dumbbell Shrug
An exercise for working out your traps that is done wrong so many times by people, it is a common belief that you should roll your shoulders to thoroughly work your traps effectively, it is actually less effective and puts more pressure on your spinal discs.
Let’s Get It Right: The best way to do traps is to elevate your shoulders straight up and down towards your ears, try not to push your head forwards as you shrug as well and keep your arms as straight as possible to keep the focus on the traps and never look down, although it is the natural thing to do it puts excessive pressure on your spinal discs.
5) Leg Press
You would think that it is nearly impossible to get a machine based move wrong but the problems begin when you lower the sled too far, because your back is well supported it might not even seem like you are making a mistake but as your thighs come to your shoulders it is all too easy to lift your glutes from the seat which will put your lower spine and discs at greater risk of injury.
Good Changes To Make: Make sure to control the speed of the descent so as to prevent any sudden jolts to your spine, also be aware of when your glutes start to lift off the seat and stop there even if you can go further down, reverse the direction passing through your feet.
6) Seated Pull-Downs And Cable Rows
Swinging back and forth whilst performing this upper-lat exercise also engages the lower back but this is not your intention and also creates momentum making the exercise easier.
Correct Those Mistakes: Maintain an upright position for the exercise having no more than about 10 degrees of lean, thus keeping all the stress on the upper lats and middle back muscles.
7) Bent Over Moves
Getting the body position right is hard if you have never done it right but once you do you will never get it wrong again, it is mainly about maintaining a flat back with a slight arch when doing Romanian deadlifts, bent-over rows and lateral raises. It is a natural thought to round your back which puts your lower back at risk, especially when using a heavier weight.
Putting Things Right: A good way to see how you should be doing it is to look sideways in a mirror, bend over around 45 degrees, a slight bend in your knees and a slight arch in your back. Press your glutes to the rear, keep your chest up and shoulders back. Keep practicing this until you get it right, this is a safe position to hold in regards to your back when executing bent-over exercises.
When doing the exercises make sure to keep your neck in plane with your body when doing the bent over moves and never look up.
Many times, people will combine a normal deadlift and Romanian deadlifts into one exercise causing some problems. It is not a matter of just bending over on normal dealifts as this creates a single-joint move and you also don’t want the plates settling on the floor when doing Romanian deadlifts which takes tension off your muscles and sends a jolt to your spine.
Make A Change: These are totally different exercises and you should learn how to do each properly. The Romanian one should be done on hamstrings day and the bar should never touch the floor, whereas the deadlift requires you to lower your butt down at the bottom of the rep which better engages all the leg muscles and here the bar should settle on the floor at the bottom hence the name deadlift.
9) Internal And External Rotation
This one is done a lot by guys doing a warm-up on shoulder day, this is a good idea to warm up your rotator cuffs, a thin group of four strap muscles in your shoulder, standing and waving a dumbbell is not the right way.
Getting It Right: The pull must come from across your body when working out your rotators. When standing gravity pulls the weight down. Instead of using a dumbbell, set up a pulley so that the line of pull comes across your body at elbow height, keep your elbow at 90 degrees when doing the workout.
Your elbow should be at your side acting like a hinge, pull to the outside to work your external rotators and pull inward toward your body to work the internal rotators, your internal rotators are more likely to be stronger so perform those after the external ones. Go for light weight and high reps. Rotators can be done with a dumbbell but this must be done on a bench.
Hopefully these tips will help you improve your method of working out and actually make you progress a bit faster.