Starting a strength training program? If so, it’s vital that you learn how to perform each and every exercise in your routine using good form. All it takes is one slip of a movement to find yourself sidelined with an injury.
Fortunately, if you learn good form when you start your workout routine, you’ll get into proper habits right from the beginning.
Let’s take a look at six bad form mistakes that are commonly made by those starting a workout routine so that you know exactly what to avoid going forward.
The Back Arch During The Shoulder Press
One of the first and potentially most important mistakes you must avoid is arching your back when doing a shoulder press. Any time you have weight over your head, it’s imperative that you think of squeezing the abs and keeping the hips up. This will help keep your spinal column in proper alignment, reducing your risk of lower back pain.
This applies to both the barbell shoulder press as well as the dumbbell shoulder press. If you’re really struggle to keep that low back straight, try doing this exercise seated, focusing on pressing the back against the back pad.
Improper Knee Alignment During The Walking Lunge
Next, you’ll also want to ensure that you maintain proper knee alignment whenever doing a walking lunge. The biggest problem here is letting your knees move towards the inner thigh or outer thigh as you lunge forward.
If they don’t track directly over the toes, you’ll be placing a great deal of sheer force on the knee cap, resulting in potential injury.
While checking for this, also be sure that your knees aren’t moving too far past your toes. Doing so could also result in a greater risk of injury as well. If they are, this indicates you aren’t taking a large enough step forward as you lunge, so is a relatively easy fix all in all.
Here is more on how to do a proper lunge:
The Forward Lean When Performing Squats
Gearing up to do your squats? This is excellent news as squats are one of the most effective exercises you can do in your workout program.
This said, you need to ensure you are doing them properly or injury awaits. The big thing to remember when doing squats is to keep your body upright, not leaning too far forward.
Once you start putting more weight on the bar, if you adopt a forward lean, you’re going to place great strain on the spinal column as it must then carry that weight.
This exercise should be targeting your lower body muscles only, so you want to keep the force directed on them.
Usually the cause of a forward lean is either looking towards the ground as you squat (thus shifting your entire upper body forward) or breaking too much with your hips and not enough with your knees at the start of the movement.
If you are doing a low-bar squat, you will have a slight forward lean, while if you are doing a high bar squat, there should be minimal forward lean. At no point though should this lean be dramatic.
Learn from this advice when doing a squat:
The Full Swing When Doing Bicep Curls
Bicep curls are an excellent arm builder – when you do them properly. The big mistake here is swinging the weight upwards as you perform the curl, letting the elbows swing away from the sides of the body as you do.
This is a quick and easy fix though. What you’ll want to focus on is keeping the elbows firmly tucked into the sides of the body at all times. The minute they move, you know you’ve come out of proper form.
Keep them tucked in and focus on squeezing the bicep muscle as you hoist the weight upwards.
Then the second thing to remember while doing this exercise is that you must move through the full range of motion. Half reps won’t get you that arm size you desire. Lower all the way down and then back up again to complete the rep.
The Lean Back When Doing Horizontal Rows
Horizontal rows are often performed as one of the top back-building exercises. Sadly, many miss the mark on good form in this move as well.
What you’ll want to remember to do here is to keep the back stationary as you pull the weight into the body, never using the back to pull that weight.
Press your chest against the pad in front of you and never let it leave. If it does, chances are you are letting your spine and hips do too much of the work.
If your upper body is moving at all during this exercise, lighten the weight and start again. Keep it motionless throughout.
The Chin Tuck When Doing Crunches
Finally, the last mistake you want to avoid as you perform your workout sessions is tucking your chin too much while doing front crunches. When you do this, you’ll create an unnecessary curvature with the spinal column, which could lead to increased pain later on.
Keep the head slightly lifted and think of putting your tongue to the top of your mouth. This will actually help you reduce the chances that you start using your neck muscles to guide the pattern of movement, transferring more of the force to the core muscle instead.
Maintaining proper form is a must. If you follow these tips, you can feel confident that you are performing your exercises correctly and are on track to seeing the suces you desire.