5 Simple Exercises EVERYONE Screws Up!

Did you know that there are 5 common exercises that everyone screws up at some point in their lifting career? In this video, I am going to show you what those 5 exercises are and how they get messed up so that you never get them wrong again when trying to build muscle.

It is important to note why these specific exercises are often performed wrong and it come down to two simple reasons. First, we may have learned to do the exercise this way in the first place and just never learned how to do it the right way. Secondly, it’s something we might revert to as we become fatigued throughout the workout. This is more often the case with seasoned lifters that have learned how to properly perform the exercise over time.

The first common exercise that gets screwed up is the Glute Bridge. When trying to reach full hip extension, it’s easy to see that most people are putting themselves into anterior pelvic tilt throughout the movement. This shifts the load of the exercise from the glutes to the low back, which can lead to low back problems if done consistently. Tp prevent injury and to get the most out of the exercise itself, keep a posterior pelvic tilt – allowing the glutes to be the prime movers throughout. This will ensure you do the exercise correctly and see the most benefits from it.

Next, a commonly incorrectly performed exercise is the Pullup. The biggest problem I see with the Pullup is that people will often forget to plug their energy leaks. By allowing the legs to dangle and cross back behind our bodies, we are losing rigidity throughout the entirety of the body. I’ve suggested in the past to point your legs at a slight angle forward with your quads and glutes flexed to plug those energy leaks. Doing so will also make sure that you can perform more Pullups which will in turn allow you to see more muscle growth as well.

The Bench Dip is one of the most commonly performed exercises that I see get screwed up the most. As I’ve shown on Live With Kelly & Ryan, hand placement is everything. By keeping our hands pointed forward, as is often taught, you are allowing the shoulder to push into the anterior capsule. Reps accumulated over time in this position can lead to discomfort or even injury. To keep your shoulders safe and to get an even better activation of the triceps, turn the hands outward, getting your shoulders into external rotation. This will help you to grow bigger triceps without worrying about safety.

This next exercise uses the body’s ability to compensate to try to hide the fact that it is performed incorrectly. The Kettlebell Swing makes use of the glutes through the hinging motion of the exercise to keep the kettlebell moving through space. The problem comes when our glutes are weak or fatigued; we start to utilize our quads and our delts. Instead of hinging the hips back, you simply squat down and to get the kettlebell moving upwards again, you begin to actively lift it up. In order get the most out of the exercise, you need to perform it correctly – so make sure you hinge!

Lastly, this exercise is most often screwed up by beginners or those that simply never learned the right way to do it. With the Pushup, you might see someone with their elbows flared, around 90º. Doing Pushups with our arms in this position creates less travel through the exercise, effectively making it easier to perform. The problem is that it takes away activation of the pecs and adds it to the shoulders while also putting more stress on them in an internally rotated position. To get the most out of the Pushup, keep the elbows at a 45-60º angle.

Now that you know what these 5 exercises are and how they commonly get messed up, you have the ability to make sure that you get them right every time. Remember, it’s not just what exercises you do, but how you do them that matters. If you want to build the most muscle possible, you need to make sure that you are avoiding any possible mistakes that could jeopardize your gains.

If you are looking for a step-by-step workout plan that shows you not just what exercises to do, but how to do them properly, then head to the ATHLEAN-X website and check out our training programs via the link below.

For more videos on the best exercises and how to perform them to build muscle, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on YouTube via the link below and make sure to turn on your notifications so you never miss a video when it gets published.

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45 thoughts on “5 Simple Exercises EVERYONE Screws Up!

  1. Aj says:

    During high school tests, Jeff answered half the questions with his right hand and the other half with his left to prevent muscle imbalance

  2. clearwater1231 says:

    Could u please analyze different kettlebell moves. Benefits and drawbacks, like windmills armbars getups …

  3. ATHLEAN-X™ says:

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD “FAST ACTION” Q&A* – Leave your most burning question about this video or any other training, PT or nutrition question within the first 2 hours of this video’s release (AS A SEPARATE COMMENT!!) and I will pick 10 to get a detailed reply from me right here in the comments. Answers will be posted within the first 24-48 hours of you leaving the question. Good luck!

    • dusan dragovic says:

      @Nice Guy When you start, to practice Mind Muscle and wake your body the proper way, IMO, I would go high reps, to feel the pump and muscles – MIND MUSCLE CONNECTION is the Training.
      “Quality of contraction” as Jeff keeps saying – the most important thing (I’ll explain in another video, no one talks about it the way I will).
      Bronze era bodybuilding, I think it was all high reps.
      Blood flow works miracles on tendons, something I should’ve learned 10-15 years ago -.-
      You should go 1 RM from time to time, to test and feel muscles better, but patience and MIND MUSCLE connection, CONTROL 😉

      As Alan Thrall says: TRAIN UNTAMED!
      And Brian Alsruhe: Be nice to each other!

    • Guido Perdomo says:

      @Night’s King the thing that matters is the position of the shoulders relative to the torso, so whatever way people are facing, if the arms are pulled too much behind then it will likely put the joint in a vulnerable position.

  4. Kebab Warrior says:

    Hi Jeff! I’ve been watching for years and have kept my fitness going thanks to you!

    I have a burning question for you about pullups. When I start my pullups from the bottom (from a dead hang) and begin pulling myself upwards, I hear pops and nudges in my right shoulder during the first rep. However, when I begin my set from the top of the bar, lower in a controlled fashion, then pull back upwards I hear no popping. What is this and how can I fix it?

    • Annas Ayaz says:

      @ATHLEAN-X™ Hi Jeff! It hurts when I try to shrug my shoulders. Like the bone starts to spin and it hurts. I can’t do pullups from a dead hang. When I shrug my arm bone moves forward to the shoulder bone. It’s like there are no tendons connected to my upper arm bone and shoulder. The thing keeping it together is the skin and muscles.

  5. BeCoolFool says:

    Hi Jeff! I’ve been watching your channel for several years and words cannot express how thankful I am.
    I have a questions about your perfect fullbody workout:
    – Is there any way to incorporate biceps or triceps exersices (mostly triceps) since i don`t feel like they get enough load
    – What is the best way to put small cardio for fullbody training (like rope jump).
    – What about coreabs routin?
    Thanks for your work!

  6. Hris Master says:

    Question: When I do Pullups I feel it more in my arms. As if my forearms are trying to pull my body up. No matter how much I focus on the lats I still feel it too much in my hands, and because of that I can’t do a lot of them. How do I fix that?

    • ATHLEAN-X™ says:

      Think less about pulling “through the hands” and more about trying to “touch your elbows to your hips”. Of course, you won’t be able to actually do this, but it’s the initiation of the movement through the lats that will help you get a better connection with the lats rather than the forearms and biceps trying to dominate the movement.

    • Raymond Qiu says:

      @Hris Master tbh a pull-up is a pull-up, there will always be small variation in form between people who do it like perhaps u and I, but 90% of it should work the same muscles. I say that to say your forearms may be weak and so u feel it in your forearms, so perhaps work on forearm strength over time but in the meantime use wrist straps to help with your forearm strength. I personally don’t believe much about the mind muscle connection stuff as exercises are generally about doing them with correct form. If u have happened to read my comment, let me know your opinions and if what I said ends up working for you

  7. The Lamenator says:

    This guy is amazing and has helped me bulk up crazy. I went from 83 pounds in 8th grade to 165 as a junior

  8. HELP ME REACH 200 SUBS says:

    0:35 Glute bridge
    1:15 Pull up
    2:05 Bench dip
    3:00 The swing
    4:00 Push up


  9. QST says:

    Hey jeff, I’ve got knee pain since a while now(even whilst walking, and standing for more than 15 min) and i think it’s because my femur is internally rotated. What can i do to fix that? Thanks❤

    • blue berry says:

      Go to a physiotherapist and chiropractor. General practitioners might diagnose you but probably only give you painkillers as “treatment”

    • sweet girls 5 says:

      Special Edition For You Baby-Girls.My.Id is my idol. Hes the person I aspire to be, hes my light of day.m

    • Adriana Gabriela says:

      What @blue berry said. You need a physiotherapist (which Jeff is, but he can’t diagnose you without doing tests, which he cannot do online), and possibly a chiropractor. As this can be due to muscles, due to bad feet position, etc. I.e. variois things

  10. Jenna Crum says:

    Hi Jeff – Love your programs! Here is my question:

    When life gets a bit chaotic and your workout schedule has to take a step back for a period of time, what is the best routine/adjustment to maintain your current level of fitness in both strength and cardio abilities?

    • Sub7 Fitness says:

      It really depends upon how much time you have to dedicate with all the other chaotic things in your life. I would suggest training full body 2-3 times a week and doing cardio on the days in between. This allows you to hit the optimal frequency of training a muscle group 2x a week and still have time for your life, responsibilities, etc…

    • iMillyRockOnEveryBlock says:

      For strength, focus on more compound movements like bench, pullups, squats, deadlifts, overhead presses etc that all target more than one muscle at the same time. Supersets are useful to save time too, eg. a tricep exercise followed by a bicep exercise with no rest between, but rest after the bicep exercise. Focus on compounds and the quality of your movements and you would be fine strength training just a couple of times a week.
      For cardio, hiit workouts are awesome for saving time and maintaining or even improving your current level! Most only take 15-20mins! Also something you’d only need to do 2-3 times a week.

  11. Jake And Sarah Health Nuts says:

    1. Floor glute bridge- tends to be done with anterior pelvic tilt but needs to be done with posterior pelvic tilt
    2. Pull-up- energy leak
    3. Dips- with wrong hand grip
    4. Kettle bell swing- people tend to use to much delts and not enough hip hinge. They turn it into a squat.
    5. Push-up- people tend to flare their elbows out

  12. Luka says:

    Hi Jeff! In your video about hernias, you’ve mentioned some breathing methods that we can use to continue training. Could you point out more about that? I really appreciate any information you can provide.

  13. Lukasz Powalowski says:

    Hi Jeff! I’m loving your content, and bought one of the programs to support AthleanX. My question is: Could you please do a video on training for people with hips dysplasia? Especially legs, stomach and back – my gf has the condition and she actually does pretty well, but sometimes we feel a bit limited and unsure on the moves we select. Some moves have caused pain.

  14. Dennis Da Menace says:

    Well presented Jeff. I been doing glute bridges wrong all along. No wonder I have low back pain now

  15. Kareen sensei says:

    Hi Jeff! My burning question for you is: should I go on doing the Hamstring Wall Stretch if I have a natural internal pelvic tilt? I’m asking because:
    1) I hurt my low back (L3-4-5) last year and even after my chiro sessions, I noticed that the pain usually comes back just after I do this stretching move (doing the 22 days posture pgm)
    2) I’ve watched manyyyy vids of yours in the last few weeks on those subjects and I think I’m getting confused with all of the new info. I remember you saying that people with an internal pelvic tilt shouldn’t stretch their hamstring any more than that.

    note: I also have rather marked knock knees from birth and extremely flat feet, which both add to my back pain if I understood everything well (^-^; )

  16. Sub7 Fitness says:

    The energy leak trick on pullups is HUGE! Any time a show client that they can pretty much instantly do two more pullups.

  17. Douglas Daniel says:

    Good video, I’m particularly guilty of having rubbish hand placement for the push-up, but I’m equally bad on both sides, thus preventing muscle imbalances.

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