3 Signs You're doing an Exercise Wrong

You don't just workout for the sake of it, you also want to get better at it. Here are 3 signs that you could be slowly headed in the wrong direction.

When you're exercising on your own it can be hard to tell whether you're doing something wrong. I've spent years learning how to do exercises over again. Here are some hints that you need to stop and work on your form before you end up doing the same.

1. You're not feeling it where you should be

This is a good sign you're doing something wrong. Now while you shouldn't confusing this with feeling every exercise, with a certain weight you should be able to get more of a feel for things. What should you feel? 

With a light weight:

  • A burning sensation
  • The "pump"
  • A good squeeze or contraction

You should feel more tension if you're using a heavier weight.

2. You're in pain during or after an exercise

You should not be feeling pain after you finish a set. Not the burn you feel in your muscles but, a different kind of pain. It may be sharp or it may be dull.

Examples of this might be feeling your lower back hurt after a set of deadlifts or hip thrusts.

Pain is a really good sign that either a. you're doing something wrong or b. something is wrong with your body (ex. potentially a strain or overuse injury).

3. You're not getting the results you expect

If you have reasonable expectations and a well designed program, you should be seeing some sort of result from the exercises that you're performing. If you're doing them consistently, you should be getting better at them.

  • Here are some different things that you may notice:
  • Getting stronger at the lifts
  • Being able to perform more reps with a given weight
  • The ability to perform exercises with improved coordination
  • Growing new muscle in the areas worked

If none of these things are happening, for sure, something is wrong.

What can you do to fix these problems?

My biased favorite option: Hire a coach and work with them until you're confident executing major movements. The basics include: pushes, presses, horizontal and vertical pulls, squatting, hip hinging and maybe bent-knee hip extending (hip thrusting).

Another option is to watch yourself perform the exercises. If you have a mirror, that might do the trick. You can alternatively record yourself on video to see if you look how you expect.

Reading about how an exercise is performed and then trying it yourself is a distant third option.

Once you are confident that you are performing all of your exercises correctly, with no pain, then you can ask yourself if your program is designed correctly or if something is missing with your diet!

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