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8 Gym Exercises We Need to Stop Doing Wrong

Getting in shape requires a lot of dedication, discipline, and hard work. But sometimes little mistakes that you commit unknowingly while exercising can ruin all of your efforts and can even lead to serious injuries.

We at Bright Side visited a gym to find out what the most common mistakes people make while exercising are so that our awesome readers can steer clear of them.

1. Lunges

Lunges are an excellent resistance exercise that strengthen your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. But you can make several mistakes while doing this seemingly simple exercise.


  1. Although lunges help improve your body’s balance, they are not balancing exercises. While doing them people often try to put one foot right in front of the other in a straight line, as if walking on a tight rope, and that’s wrong. You should place your feet a little less than hip-width apart for every lunge.
  2. Another mistake people often make is that they take small steps while lunging. If your feet are too close together, they will form a triangle-like shape between your legs and this is not what you want. Ideally, the space between the legs when you are in a lunge position should form a rectangle.
  3. Every time you lunge, your knee should not touch the ground. It’s perfectly fine if it sometimes does, but if this is how you do it every time, then you have to change your ways. This practice can not only harm your knees, but it also takes the tension off of your legs.

2. Dips on parallel bars

If you want to work your biceps, arms, chest, shoulders, and abs, then dips on parallel bars should be on your exercise menu. But doing them incorrectly can ruin all the hard work you put in.


  1. People often do partial reps because they don’t have enough strength in their triceps to go down completely and then come back up. This should never be done. If you lack tricep strength, do exercises to increase it before attempting to do dips on a parallel bar.
  2. Some people also go too low while doing this exercise, that is also not recommended. If you go lower than parallel with the floor, you’ll be putting too much stress on your shoulders.
  3. A lot of people also try to keep their upper body vertical while doing these dips. Even if you’re trying to concentrate on your triceps you’ll be a lot better by off leaning at least slightly forward with your chest in front of your hips during this exercise.

3. Dumbbell and barbell chest presses

Chest press exercises are great for strength building and are very effective when developing chest muscles. But if they’re done wrong, they can cause injury.


  1. Keeping the elbows very close to each other is something that many gym enthusiasts make the mistake of doing. By doing this, you are shifting the tension away from your chest and toward your triceps and the front of your shoulder.
  2. Another mistake is to flare your elbows out too far. When your elbows are flared out too far you’ll be putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on your shoulders and rotator cuffs.
  3. While doing these presses, you should also not curve your back too much. You just need to bring your shoulder blades back and maintain a natural lumbar curve in your spine — no more, no less.
  4. Also, remember that the weight should never end up directly above or below your shoulders. At the end of the movement, the weight should always be in line with your shoulders.

4. Cable flys

Cable flys are used to strengthen the pushing muscles of the body, including the chest, triceps, and shoulders. If you are looking to beef up your chest muscle mass then your exercising regime has to include this exercise.


  1. People often tend to bring their arms too far back and therefore increase the risk of hyperextending and injuring the shoulder. When lowering the weight, you should stop in line with your chest.
  2. A very common beginner’s mistake is to perform the exercise with the elbows locked. This puts a lot of stress on the elbows and also decreases the amount of tension that should be placed on the chest.

5. Bent over barbell row

Bent over barbell rows are an excellent weight training exercise that target a variety of back muscles depending on which of its many forms you chose to perform. This exercise is effective for both increasing strength and increasing size.


  1. A very common mistake while doing this exercise is to bend the spine outward. Instead, you should push your shoulder blades back and fold your spine down to maintain the natural lumbar curve.
  2. Another common mistake that people commit is pulling the barbell up using your hands, when instead you should be using your elbows to pull the weight up.

6. Cable tricep extensions

The cable tricep extension exercise works the tricep muscles by extending your arms in front of you. This exercise is excellent if you want to have sculpted triceps. But doing it wrongly can waste a lot of your effort and can also cause injury.


  1. Often while performing this exercise people do not lock their elbows in place, because of this they end up engaging their lats, which makes this exercise a lot less effective for the triceps.
  2. Another mistake we often see is when people keep their body upright during this exercise. Instead, you should bend slightly forward to get the full range of motion so that your triceps get properly worked out.

7. Lat pulldown

The lateral pulldown, or lat pulldown as it is popularly known, is a compound exercise that works the muscles of the back. However, it is absolutely necessary to perform it correctly if you want to reap its full benefits.


  1. Excessive swinging backward while pulling the bar toward the chest is the most common mistake committed while performing this exercise. This swinging is risky because it can cause back injury. Instead, stand right under the bar to avoid this swinging.
  2. Also, avoid pulling the bar down too low. The best way to do this exercise is to bring the bar right under your chin or until it touches your upper chest.
  3. And remember to not keep your elbows too close together. You should act as if you are trying to bring your elbows behind your back, but stop when the bar reaches your chin or upper chest level.

8. Skull crushers

Skull crushers are a strength training exercise that stimulates the entire tricep muscle group in the upper arm.


  1. Many people flare their elbows out — don’t be that person. You should keep your elbows close while doing this exercise. Because by keeping your elbows far apart, you are not targeting your triceps properly.
  2. Keep in mind that you should not curve your back too much while doing this exercise. You need to bring your shoulder blades back and maintain the natural lumbar curve, but that’s as much curve as you require, not any more.

  3. Another common mistake is bringing the bar back and above the head while bringing the weight down. Ideally the weight should come down over your forehead. Why else would these be called skull crushers?

Did you just find out that you’ve been doing some exercise incorrectly? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you have ever committed an exercising mistake, please share your experience with us.

Illustrated by Alena Tsarkova for Bright Side
Bright Side/Health/8 Gym Exercises We Need to Stop Doing Wrong
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