Extremely Common Exercise Mistakes

You may notice a lot of people doing wrong things at the gym. Not everyone hires an instructor so they may use machines based on how they perceive the equipment work, or how they saw others used them previously. If exercises are done incorrectly, they may cause trouble instead of the results they initially expected.

With so many exercises you can possibly do at the gym, what can you do to avoid basic mistakes?


This one is really important; something that can be noticed right away. Whether you’re standing, sitting, or on a pushup position, your back and head should be straight. If you’re doing a pushup or a plank, your heels, hips, shoulders, and ears should form a straight line. If you’re doing the bear crawl, your hips, torso, shoulders, and ears should be parallel to the floor.

In the gym, these are the most common mistakes you can see people do when performing a bear crawl, plank, and pushup: butt sticking in the air, stomach sagging toward the ground, and lifting the head while checking out the posture of others.

To know if your butt is high up the air, check if your nose will reach the ground before your chest. If you feel a strain on your lower back, your stomach is probably sagging. And don’t check out other people when you’re doing these exercises. Wait until you’re standing to see what’s going on around you.

On the other hand, if you’re doing a loaded carry workout, you would know there’s an error in posture when you need to bend to the side to hold the weight, or it you need to flare your ribcage out and lean back. Pay attention to determine if you’re standing straight. Or, you can do the workout in front of a mirror so you would know if what you are doing is correct. Also lower the weight if you know you’re struggling with it.


There may be a time when you see a person completely doing an exercise wrong. Maybe an old man pulling the bar down to his hips at the lat pulldown station. What he lacks is the understanding of the exercise goal, which is to work the muscles on his upper and middle back. To do that, what he needs is to choose a heavy-enough weight that will cause resistance when he pulls the bar to his chest.

The above may be an extreme example, but there are exercises that are commonly done incorrectly. An example would be the hanging knee raise, which is an ab workout. To do it right, your pelvis needs to be tilted upward. What other guys do is to simply lift their knees, which works on the pelvis, but not the abdominal muscles. If the pelvis tilt is too difficult for you to perform, then it is better to do a reverse crunch from an incline bench or on the floor.

When doing a kettlebell swing, what you need to do is straighten your hips while you move the weight. Remember not to pull the weight using the muscles of the shoulders.


Building muscles is different from lifting weights. This is what a lot of men don’t understand when they are working out. A guy may train like a weightlifter doing a lateral raise, like swinging the weight up and then letting it fall down. However, bodybuilding is all about controlling the burden using a range of motion.

The focus of the lateral raise is at the center of the deltoid muscles. They need to be put under pressure to be developed. The deltoids are under most tension when the motion is at the range’s top. The mistake is when you jolt the weight after pulling it correctly halfway.

To fix this, get a weight that is not too heavy so you’ll be able to hold it at the maximum level of tension. Hold it for at least five seconds to test if it’s just right. If you want to drop it after three seconds, then choose a lighter one. For other exercises, such as seated rows or lat pulldowns, you’ll be able to test the weight at the end of the motion. For bicep curls however, check the weight at the midpoint.

Get a personal trainer, if needed. If you go to Gold’s Gym, they can offer you world-class trainers to help you develop the right control, posture, and understanding of exercises and gym equipment.

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