Performing an exercise with good technique can prevent injury, increase your neuromuscular efficiency, and help you get the most out of your workouts overall. Which movements do we see fall victim to bad form the most often? Keep reading to find out!
5 Exercises That Are Often Performed with Bad Form—And How to Fix Them
The squat is one of the most foundational and best “bang for your buck” movements. It challenges your core, legs, central nervous system, and even cardiovascular endurance. But the squat requires a good amount of hip and ankle flexibility, in addition to good body awareness.
- Keep your chest up, back flat, and core engaged.
- Keep your feet about shoulder width apart with your toes pointed slightly out.
- Make sure your knees stay in line with your feet.
- Keep your heels down on the floor.
- Go as low as you can while maintaining good form–ideally until the crease of your hips goes below the level of your knees.
The deadlift gets a bad rap, but it’s such a great movement for developing power and strength.
- Start with your feet about hip width apart, with the knot of your shoelaces under the bar.
- In the start position, raise your hips until your shoulders are slightly ahead of the bar. Lift your chest and pull your shoulders down to engage your lats.
- Lift the bar until it gets past your knees, then open your hips and stand up–just don’t hyperextend your low back at the top.
- Keep your chin tucked and your back straight throughout the entire movement.
- Push through your heels.
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3. Kettlebell swing
This movement may look like it requires a lot of upper extremity strength. In reality, your arms mostly serve as straps holding the kettlebell in place, while it’s your back and glutes doing most of the work.
- Keep your back flat, and your chin tucked. Feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Hike the kettlebell back, keeping it close to your groin while your knees stay slightly bent.
- Squeeze your butt and drive powerfully through your heels to “pop” the kettlebell up to shoulder height, like a pendulum.
4. Push up.
This is a great, do-anywhere, upper body pushing movement that has tons of variety.
- Ensure that your elbows lock out completely at the top and that your chest (not legs) touches the ground at the bottom.
- Keep your body in a straight line (use a mirror or gym buddy to check your form) and look down at your hands to avoid overextending your neck.
- Keep your elbows tucked in close to your body. Don’t let them wing out to the side.
5. Pull up
This is another great gymnastic movement that’s awesome for developing strength in the shoulders and back!
- Start from a full “dead hang” with your elbows fully locked out. Pull your shoulder blades down your back to engage your rotator cuff muscles.
- Keep your gaze straight ahead of you the entire time you’re moving.
- Pull all the way up until your chin passes the bar. Avoid tilting your chin up to keep from hyperextending your neck.
- Lower all the way back down until your elbows lock out again for the full range of motion.