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Top 9 Exercises You Are Doing Wrong

How good is your form? This might be something you expect to hear regarding kicking or punching, but not when doing squats or pushups. To get the most out of your workouts, you have to do the exercises right!! Even when you think you are doing them right, there may be some flaws in your form that are keeping you from reaching your potential and may be setting you up for long term injuries. Keep these points in mind whenever you are gearing up for your next workout!

  1. Squats! – Whether you know it or not you do squats every day. From getting off the couch, to getting off of the toilet, you are doing a basic squat.
    • Keep knees right outside of shoulder level with toes facing forward
    • Bring your ribs over your pelvis, and engage you abs to hold yourself in this position
    • Keep neutral head position by keeping your ears over your shoulders and looking straight forward
    • Keep the knees in line with the big toe
    • While squatting do not let the knees go past the big toe (90 degree angle is ideal but not a necessity)
    • Keep the chest high
    • “Push your knees out” Laterally – Pretend that you have a giant rubber band around your legs that is trying to pull your legs together. Squeeze your glutes and “push out” with your legs as if to push against the force of the imagined rubber band
    • Keep the heels firmly planted and press through them to stand back up
  2. Lunges!
    • Keep the knees in line with the big toe
    • Do not let the knee come past the big toe while descending
    • Press through the heels
    • Keep the chest high, shoulders over your hips, and ears over your shoulders
    • Keep your glutes engaged during the entire exercise
  1. Crunches!
    • Bring your hands behind your head, and place your head into your hands.
    • Keep your back pressed into the floor
    • Contract your abs, don’t pull on your neck!
    • Keep your neck relaxed and in line with your shoulders.
    • Relax your legs and pretend that you are trying to balance a ball on your abs.
  1. Pushups!
    • Keep your shoulders back and down so that they are engaged properly.
    • Keep your hands under your shoulders
    • Have your fingers facing forward
    • Keep your ears in line with your shoulders, shoulders in line with your hips, and hips in line with your toes/knees
    • Look forward, don’t let you head sink down
    • Don’t let your elbows flare out! Keep them at around 45 degrees
  1. Plank!
    • Keep your body in a straight line from shoulder to foot
    • Don’t let your shoulders sink in, keep them engaged
    • Try and pull your bellybutton into your spine
    • Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders
    • Pretend you are holding a water balloon between your chin and chest to prevent neck strain
  1. Overhead Presses!
    • Tightenyour abs to control your posture
    • Engageyour leg muscles as well as your arms and core.
    • Keep your shoulders back and down, like you are screwing your shoulders into place
    • Don’t Swing! Keep your body still and in control. If you can’t lift the weights with good form, go lighter.
    • Keep your back from over-extending, keep a neutral spine. To find your neutral spine, squeeze your abs and glutes as hard as you can. To keep neutral spine during the day, engage your abs and glutes at about 20%.
  1. Kettle Bell Swings!
    • Don't squat, instead hinge backwards at the hips, and then drive your hips forward explosively.
    • Keep your spine neutral (see the last point on number 6 for tips on neutral spine).
    • Keep your arms straight.
    • When you drive your hips forward, keep your core engaged, and squeeze those glutes!!
  1. Pull Ups!
    • Keep your shoulders back, down, and externally rotated (like you are “screwing them in”).
    • Keep your wrists in line with your forearms and shoulders in line with your hips.
    • Pull in a way that your elbows are pointing toward the ground.
    • Keep your core engaged so that you don’t swing back and forth.
  1. Burpees!
    • Start in a good standing position with toes pointed forward.
    • Lower into a squat position and bring your hands to the ground.
    • Kick your feet back, while bringing your body into the “down” pushup position.
    • Push up with your arms while popping back into the original squat position
    • Jump!
    • Don’t let your hips sag, always keep your core braced!