Top Muscle Building Exercises That Are Performed Incorrectly

Top Muscle Building Exercises That Are Performed Incorrectly

By nature, bodybuilding and resistance training is one of the most easiest acts to perform. Use a certain muscle group to repetitively lift up and release some metallic object.

Not complicated.

However, in application, performing and perfecting various movements is an undertaking that requires years of consistent repetition. Perfecting form is something that does not happen overnight. We should always strive to improve, workout after workout.

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Mastering these basic lifts properly takes dedication and constant reevaluation of yourself repeatedly. Some people will lift for years or even decades without ever fully grasping proper lifting concepts. Take a look at some of the most common exercises that are performed incorrectly and cues that can be used to improve overall technique.

Top Muscle Building Exercises That Are Performed Incorrectly



Among many circles widely considered the most fundamental and beneficial compound movement on the planet, the deadlift is simple to explain yet nearly impossible to perfect.

If you go to almost any gym in America you will undeniably see deadlifts performed in the wrong manner. Some common mistakes lifters perform include:

  • Rounding the lower back
  • Not developing proper hip hinging
  • Hyperextending the back at the end of the movement
  • Not keeping the neck in a neutral position


We have all seen the half-squatter or the quarter-squatter putting on 4 plates per side at the gym. only to descend downwards half an inch. Although squat technique will vary among people due to differences in body types, height, and structure; there are some common mistakes that tend to transcend all lifters alike:
  • Not reaching parallel level to the ground
  • Rounding the lower back
  • Only performing partial repetitions
  • Going too heavy

Bench Press

How much you bench is quite possibly the most commonly asked question in gyms. For most individuals, it is the one exercise they focus most on at the beginning of their lifting careers.

However, many people still find ways to not perform this exercise properly even after years of practice. Some common bench press form issues we see include:
  • Flaring out elbows too far placing excess pressure on shoulders
  • Lifting your body off the bench
  • Not digging traps into the bench
  • Going too heavy

Dumbbell/Barbell Curls

Every day is arm day. Curling might be the most popular weightlifting move in the gym because, let's face it, who doesn't want big arms? Even though this is the most basic exercise around many still do not perform it in the correct manner.
  • Not performing the full range of motion from the top to bottom of the rep
  • Swinging the whole body back and forth using shoulders and back to support the exercise instead of performing it in isolation
  • Not doing the eccentric and concentric portion of the movement
  • Using dumbbells that are too heavy
Pull Ups

Lat Pull Downs/Pull-Ups

While performing exercises that work our lats, we must focus on getting the full range of motion from the top of the movement all the way to the bottom. Too many people can be seen in the gym performing the exercise in a way that is not conducive to overall muscle building and growth.
  • Lean back slightly instead of staying strictly in an up and down plane of motion to place extra emphasis on lat contraction
  • Bring the bar all the way down and use the mental cue of pulling towards your buttocks
  • Release the bar all the way up to the top where your lats are fully extended

Bent over rows

Bent over rows are a staple that can be great when performed properly in a back day routine. However, this movement is rarely done in the most effective manner that is conducive to back growth. Some common mistakes seen when performing this movement include:
  • Going too heavy
  • Not fully contracting the back muscles with each repetition
  • Rounding the lower back instead of keeping near parallel with the ground

Leg press

The worst possible sight to see at the gym is someone loading up ten or more plates per side on the leg press and only going down an inch or so. Not only does this look stupid but it also puts excessive pressure on your knees and joints.

Some typical problems with the leg press include:
  • Not using the full range of motion to contract the quads
  • Loading too many plates on the machine
  • Putting the legs too close together in a position that is not optimal
We see several of the same people in the gym for years struggling to make progress while repetitively performing exercises in an incorrect manner. In order to fully optimize your workout goals and progress, instead focus on making every single repetition count.

Focus on using the mind muscle connection throughout each and every single last set.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram @ryanrodal and subscribe to my YouTube channel MuscleMinds for more great nutritional advice and workout tips.
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