Proper Exercise Form Matters!

It’s energizing to see people training hard at the gym. After all, there are so many benefits to regular exercise. However, when I see individuals performing fitness moves with incorrect exercise form or poor posture, I get nervous. Proper form while working out is critical to your safety. Unfortunately, incorrect exercise form can cause you more harm and pain than than not working out!

Here are 3 Common Arm Exercises I See Performed Incorrectly

1. Push-ups

This classic exercise strengthens your chest, shoulders, arms, upper back and abdominal muscles. Maintaining your upper body strength is critical to performing daily tasks like cleaning, grocery shopping and even driving.

If you’re new to exercising, or if you have wrist problems, you can perform the elevated version of the push-up I’m demonstrating here.

Once you’ve mastered the basic push-up, and increased your arm, wrist and core strength, there are a ton of ways to make it harder. Here’s an example.

RISKS: Completing a push-up incorrectly, can put strain on your shoulders, back and wrists so make sure you get your form right!

Common push-up mistakes:
Straining neck: Many people think it’s their nose that should be touching the ground in a push-up. In actual fact, your neck should stay in-line with your spine, and you should be aiming to touch the ground with your chest.
Forgetting to “push”: It’s called a “PUSH”-up for a reason. A lot of the movement should stem from you “pushing” off the ground. Think about pushing up from the ground by using your mid back muscles around the shoulder blades, not just your chest.
Arching back: Throughout this whole exercise, you should be clenching your abs to avoiding arching and putting strain on your back. Your body should be as straight as a board, like it’s supposed to be when you plank.

2. Shoulder Presses

Shoulder presses are an important exercise to get right because this exercise is commonly performed in every day life. We do a version of a shoulder press each time we lift something (dishes, laundry, a box) up over our heads.

RISKS: Completing a shoulder press incorrectly, can put a lot of unwanted strain on your shoulders and back.

Common shoulder press mistakes:
Arm placement: you should ALWAYS be able to see the weights you’re lifting in your peripheral vision throughout a shoulder press. A lot of people incorrectly lift their arms straight above their head in this exercise.
Arching back: Keep your body tall and contract your abs to avoid arching your back during a shoulder press.

3. Tricep Dips

Tricep dips are a good exercise to add into your fitness routine because the triceps are often underdeveloped muscles. Strengthening this muscle group will help you with all of the lifting and carrying you do in daily life.

RISKS: Completing tricep dips incorrectly, can put a lot of unnecessary strain on your shoulders and neck.

Common triceps dips mistakes:
Flailing elbows: Actively try pulling your elbows in tight towards your torso during the tricep dip. This will keep your arms in a safe and strong position.
Body positioning: When moving up and down in the tricep dip, you should keep your body tall and straight versus angled. Often people pull away from the bench on the way up from the dip, which takes the work out of the triceps and strains the shoulders.

If this information has helped you, have a quick read of my top 3 leg exercises I most often see performed incorrectly .

To Sum it up…

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone by trying new exercises is the way you’ll continue to progress and build strength. Frequent exercise offers so many health benefits. However, it’s important to your long term health, safety and strength, to avoid incorrect exercise form. Review the three arm exercises I’ve detailed above, to ensure that your upper body form is correct. Remember to listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right, you probably aren’t performing the move correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.