To maximize the benefits of gym time—it’s important to make sure that you’re doing exercises with proper form. More often than not, we see many exercises done incorrectly, but today we’re sharing how to fix that and do these exercises safely.

Barbell Deadlift

Top Exercises that People Use Poor Form

The exercise that we tend to see the worst form on is the barbell deadlift. It is one of the best exercises for you, but if done wrong can be one of the worst for you. We see rounded backs, arching necks and pulling arms that all tend to lead to major injuries. The best way to prevent injury on the deadlift is to maintain a flat back. To do so, you should be squeezing your shoulder blades together, pushing your hips behind you with soft knees, and strongly bracing your core. Imagine a stick from the base of your neck to your lower back, like the photo above shows.

-Greg Stein, FAST North Scottsdale

Push Ups

How to Properly do a Push Up - FAST Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training

The push up is one of the most incorrectly done exercise out there. To do it correctly, start on the ground with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Set your feet in a stance that is comfortable to you as well as allows you to be successful. Think of your body as a straight line (plank position) and clinch your butt and draw in your belly button. Proceed to push up and down keeping that straight line. A great que is knowing that a push-up is really just a moving plank.

-Kyle Decker, FAST Arrowhead

Hip Hinge

FAST Training - Don't Make these mistakes at the gym

The number one exercise I see people or athletes do incorrectly is the Hip Hinge or a Deadlift variation. Most people will initiate the movement by using their back rather than using their hips and hamstrings. Although the back is used during a Deadlift, it is important to initiate the movement from the hips by pushing your butt back while keeping your shoulders pulled back to ensure you don’t have any rounding in your back while you lift. This will keep your back safe but also put more emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings as the working muscle groups.

-Jeff Placencia, FAST South Gilbert

Deadlift (any variation)

FAST Training - How to Properly Perform Exercises

This exercise proves to be one of the most improperly performed exercises. Many exercisers tend to bend too much with their knees instead of hinging with their hips, stand improperly, or have difficulty keeping their back flat. The biggest risk of injury occurs when the exercisers loses trunk stability and allows their back to round.

To help correct this issue, be sure to engage/contact the muscles surrounding the trunk and bring yourself into a shoulders back, chest out, back flat position. Once the muscles are engaged to start the lift, the chances of keeping correct form throughout the lift increase.

-Kyle Schneider, FAST Ahwatukee


FAST Foothills Acceleration and Sports Performance Training

The exercise I see most frequently performed incorrectly, is the squat. One of the most common areas a squat is done incorrectly is the knees caving inward. Placing a band above the knees is a great way to work on this aspect of the squat. The band is trying to pull the knees inward, thus the individual has to actively engage their glutes in order to keep the knees in line with the toes. This is a great tool to use as a cue, as well as also strengthening the area that is weak (hips) to fix this problem.

-Brandon Wood, FAST Litchfield Park

Chin Up

How to Properly do a Chin Up

The chin up is one exercise I see performed poorly by many gym goers. During the chin up we tend to extend or arch are back when we really want to be doing the opposite by hollowing out our body. One cue I like to give our clients is to shape your body into the letter “C” before you start your pull towards the top of the chin up. This will engage your core fully and make the chin up that much more effect and beneficial.

-Wade Haras, FAST Old Town Scottsdale

There you have it—the top exercises that people are doing wrong and how to fix your form. If you’d like to work one-on-one with a FAST certified strength and conditioning specialist, visit our website to schedule a FREE fitness assessment. We work with weekend warriors, competitive athletes, and those who are wanting to build healthy habits.

Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST) is empowered by Foothills Therapy Partners (FTP).