Performing exercises improperly can lead to serious injury and reduced performance. Avoid common pitfalls to everyday activities by identifying the mistakes before you make them.

Proper Push-Up Technique

Two common mistakes in push-up technique illustrated by the video include leading with the core where the body dips down stomach-first and raising the buttocks where the body dips to the floor head-first.

Proper technique for push-ups demonstrates a straight back and 90 degree outward bend in the elbow with the chest moving straight to the floor.

Sit-Up and Crunches Mistakes

Common errors in sit-up technique include using leading the sit-up motion with the neck by pulling forward or up with the neck, flexing the back on the forward motion and holding the breath through the exercise.

Effective crunches and sit-ups rely on the abdominals doing the work. Bring your chest to the ceiling, raising your shoulders off the ground, flexing your abs and going straight up to the ceiling. You always want to exhale on the part of the exercise where your body is doing the work. In the case of the sit-up, inhale on the release as you come down to the floor, and exhale on the upward motion.

Bicep Curl Technique Errors

A commonplace mistake in bicep curl technique is curling the body with the curling motion. This not only makes the curl less effective in working the bicep but also increases the chance of injury.

Lunges Gone Wrong

The first, most common lunge mistake, is allowing the knee to pull forward over the toes. This places pressure on the forward knee.

The second common mistake many people make with lunges is bringing the back foot too close toward the center line of the body, creating a kink in balance and twisting the foot away from the body, placing pressure on the knee and joints in the toes.

Common Static Stretching Blunder

Static stretching exercises are great elements of a fitness routine after the workout or during the cool down. When performed before the workout, static stretching can be dangerous and/or lead to reduced performance.

Dynamic stretching exercises, on the other hand, should be incorporated as important parts of warm-up routines. Examples of dynamic stretching exercises include walking lunges, arm circles, leg raises or any exercise that involves taking a joint through its range of motion in an active way without holding the stretch in place.

Running Technique Mistakes

Poor running technique can lead to serious stress on the body’s joints, leading to foot, knee, hip and back injuries and weakness.

Avoid vertical motion in your running gait that will not only slow your pace but also force your body to slam directly onto your feet. Keep your arms at a natural 90 degree bend and avoid crossing your hands through the center of your body. Your hands, shoulders and neck should be relaxed and pump or flow naturally as you run.

Common Punching Technique Pitfalls

All too often as new students start cardio kickboxing or begin punching drills on heavy punching bags, they make critical errors in their punching technique that lead to injury. Avoid making a circular motion with your arms as you punch, hyper-extending your elbow. Instead, bring the punch out from the shoulder in a straight line.

Other very common punching technique mistakes include punching with soft wrists and following through with the wrong knuckles. These errors lead to broken wrists and broken bones in the hand. When punching, maintain that straight line through your wrist, keeping it strong. Always punch with the first two knuckles.

Chest Press Trouble

A mistake that leads to injuries during the chest press arises from trying to lift too much weight. In response to the overload, the person tries to compensate by arching their back off the bench and using their feet to leverage the chest press, putting a lot of stress on the back.

To execute a chest press properly, your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder grip. Your legs should be flat on ground and your back flush to the bench. Always use spotter when performing a chest press with free weights.

Avoid Mistakes on the Elliptical Trainer

Common pitfalls of elliptical machine technique that lead to injury include side to side movement, bouncing, improper foot placement and slouching the spine.

Maintain good spinal alignment, keeping your shoulders back, your heels pressed into the machine’s pedals and your hands lightly touching the handles to maintain your balance. Your ultimate goal for balancing on the machine is to get to a point where you are comfortable without having to hold on.

Rowing Machine Mistakes

Commonplace errors in rowing machine technique include yanking the chain too early, poor spinal alignment and over-gripping the handles, leading to risk of injuring the back, shoulders, elbows, wrists or knees.

Pay close attention to the demonstration in the video. While on the rowing machine maintain good spinal alignment, let your legs do the work and carry the motion through the arms directly to the chest only after pushing away with your legs.