Wether you are a stepping into a gym for the first time or you’re a seasoned vet, you are going to want to avoid the most common gym exercise mistakes. In this video, I am going to show you 17 of the most common gym exercise mistakes and what you can do to avoid them. If gains are what you’re after, you’ll want to be getting them right.

The first common gym exercise mistake that you might be making is on the leg extension machine. You might be running to this exercise to hammer your legs – whether it’s because you think it directly isolates the quads or because it’s just an easy to perform exercise; I suggest you utilize your time on a safer, more effective exercises to blow up your quads.

On the flip side of the legs, you might be performing leg curls to target your hamstrings. The big mistake here is driving your knees into the pad causing an over activation of the hip flexors. If this happens, then you are asking for lower back pain. Instead, activate your glutes before each rep. A better option is to perform the exercise standing or seated if you have the opportunity.

Probably the most popular gym exercise for building muscle is the DB bench press. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when performing this exercise is to forget about leg drive. By not utilizing your lower body through each rep, you are missing out on an opportunity to move heavier weight which we know can be used to build more strength and size.

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Sticking with the chest, the pec deck is another popular exercise that beginners and veterans will find themselves performing to build a big chest. A big mistake that I often see when people perform this exercise is the idea that you are supposed to “hug the tree”. By performing this motion, you are incurring more work to be done by the shoulders instead of the chest which is the muscle group you are trying to target in the first place. Instead, think of driving your back into the pad and squeezing with your chest.

The next common mistake I see is when it comes to the skull crushers. Instead of using your head as the target point of the rep, I would suggest getting the bar back overhead in order to increase the stretch on the long head of the triceps. Doing so will give greater muscle activation, leading to more muscle growth which is what you are seeking in the first place.

If you have been watching me for any length of time, you know what mistake I am going to call out on the lateral raises; pouring the pitcher at the top of each rep. By letting the pinkies raise higher than the thumbs as the arms go up, you are introducing internal rotation with elevation which is a recipe for shoulder pain and impingement.

The leg press is one of those gym exercises that I see misperformed all too often. One of the biggest mistakes I see is the foot placement; always far too high on the plate. This can cause a positioning of the body that forces the low back off the back pad of the machine which is not something that we want. Instead, bring your feet lower on the plate.

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The seated DB press is one of the most commonly perform shoulder exercises that I happen to think is riddled with mistakes. While seated, it often happens that as you fatigue through the set, in order to press the dumbbells up overhead, you are drive your back into the seat. The major problem with this is the fact that it disrupts normal scapular movement through the range of motion. Instead, you would want to keep your back off the back of the seat in order to keep the scapular rhythm in check.

When it comes to building triceps, you will almost always see triceps pushdowns in somebody’s workout or program. Why? It’s a great exercise! The only problem is the way that people sometimes perform it. By not letting the wrists go into extension as you press the bar down, you are sacrificing an opportunity to for full elbow extension to make sure the triceps are doing the most work possible. So make sure that you are letting your wrists extend with each rep.

Be sure to watch the entire video to see the rest of the most common gym exercise mistakes and just how to avoid them to make sure that you are getting the best and safest gains possible.

If you are looking for a workout program that makes sure you avoid any and all gym mistakes while helping you to build muscle, head over to the ATHLEAN-X website and use the program selector to find the workout program that fits your goals today.

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31 thoughts on “The WORST Gym Exercise Mistakes (AVOID THESE!)”
  1. *THE GIVEAWAY IS BACK* – I’m giving away my brand new complete 90 Day Beaxst PPL program to 40 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 40, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! Clicking twice does nothing. Only one entry per video. Remember to watch to the end for more workouts.

    If you don’t win, no worries, you’re not going away empty handed. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

    1. How come we don’t do pull ups with opposing grip, like deadlifts? Wouldn’t these 2 exercises be push/pull?

    2. I noticed on the concentration curl your wrist wasn’t bent back. It must be really easy to be in the wrong form. Probably another reason not to do them.

  2. Good teaching on form. Thank you! Can you reiterate more on how we should focus on our breathing as well ?

  3. Hey jeff, I watched an old video on this channel where you showed a couple of exercises for the core using the trx and I always see it in your videos hanging by the pullup bar so I was wondering if you could do more videos with the trx, as always thanks for your content, I think you’re the best and most informative coach on youtube, keep up the good work.

  4. Push
    2:15 DB Bench Press (Unshrug, Leg Drive)
    3:30 Pec Deck (How to Setup, Drive Chest Backwards)
    4:45 Skullcrusher (More Triceps Strech, Keep Tension)
    5:25 Side Lateral Raise (Thumb Over Pinky, Lean Forward)
    7:35 Seated DB Press (Seat Upright, Alternative: Standing DB Press)
    8:30 Triceps Pushdown (Stand Upright, Bend Wrists Back)

    12:25 Lat Pulldowns (Bar Reaches Chest, Lats Stretch at Top, Seat Upright)
    13:20 Ez Bar Curls (Bend Wrists Back, Grip for Supination)
    14:20 Concentration Curls (Triceps next to the Thigh, Supination)
    15:30 1 Arm DB Rows (Causes Hernia, Alternative: Tripod Row, Drive Elbow Behind Body)

    0:20 Leg Extension (Alternative: Squat)
    1:18 Lying Hamstring Curl (Alternative: Seated Hamstring Curl)
    6:40 Leg Press (HighVsLow Feet Placement)
    11:00 Step Mill (Full Hip Extension)

    9:25 Captain’s Chair Knee Raises (Curve the Pelvis, Control the Eccentric)
    10:15 Crunch Pulldowns (Hips Stay Still, Flex the Spine)

    11:40 Treadmill (No Leaning, Stand Upright)

  5. Nice video guys for new years. Also, as other people said, new people to the gym get injured, stop training, and then quit but with from videos like these maybe they can learn something.

  6. I’ve never seen anyone give out the cue of flipping your grip on the EZ curl bar. I’ve been doing it that way for years just because I could feel a better contraction in the bicep. It’s nice to see someone like Jeff confirming it. This is a great video for beginners and intermediate lifters. It will really cut down on the amount of time it takes to workout correctly by just trial and error.

    1. Jeff has been saying that since he was filming in his basement with the faux brick paneling and bars on his windows.

  7. Thanks for the tips for correcting these common mistakes! Thanks to your videos I’ve probably saved myself a lot of injuries that would have resulted from improper form. And, all the best in the new year, Jeff!

  8. Dude…. When you started the pec deck machine thing I was like no way man… Cause I’ve been out of the gym for 3 months now because I hurt my shoulder really bad doing exactly this

  9. I have to say that this is one of the BEST videos from Jeff. Small tweaks that may have been lost over the years that he brings up are just so beneficial. Thank you!

    1. I agree! In fact i would like to see videos of him correcting other people at certain lifts.
      Jonni Shreve does a lot of videos in that style and i find them tremendously helpful.

  10. Hey @ATHLEAN-X, you talked in a previous video in reducing workout length or increasing intensity, what corrections would you have to make (to let’s say the pull workout in the ppl split you uploaded) it possible (such as reduced load or strategic resting)?

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