The 4 Exercises You're Probably Doing Wrong (and How to Fix Them)

Simple tweaks can make a huge difference.
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The 4 Exercises You're Probably Doing Wrong

Have you ever wondered while you're holding a squat position whether you're doing it right? 

While most people assume the more advanced the move, the higher chance you're doing it all wrong. However, it's often the simplest and most common bodyweight exercises that we think we are performing correctly when we're actually not. 

Thankfully, by just making some easy adjustments, you can quickly fix your mistakes and not only avoid injury but also get the most from your workout. 

Here are the four most common exercises you're doing wrong at the gym and how to fix 'em. 

1. Squats

Squats are a fantastic bodyweight exercise to help strengthen and tone your glutes -- that is if you're doing it right, which you're probably not. 

According to Lalo Fuentes, personal trainer and owner of Lalo Fitness, there are a few things you might be doing wrong while performing a squat. For one thing, Fuentes said, you might be bouncing too much. 

"When you bounce while doing a squat, the muscles triggered are your quads, which are the ones keeping your body from smashing against the floor," he tells Organic Authority. "Every time we bounce while doing a squat, the elastic effect of your body (the muscles) fire the quads. The faster we extend a muscle, the faster the muscle is going to retract."

Which is why when you do a squat, Fuentes says to pause for a second at the bottom of the movement, focus on your glutes and squeeze, and then rise. 

Other things to look out for when doing a squat? Weight placement and alignment. 

"Your body weight should be on your heels and you should focus on sitting on your glutes when lowering the body into a squat position," he says. "When doing a squat, your knees should be aligned to the tip of your toes." Fuentes notes not everyone is as flexible, which is why you want to keep your legs as wide as you can while keeping your knees aligned with your toes. 

"You will feel your inner legs firing bringing more muscles into the picture and getting more benefits with one exercise."

2. Planks

Planks are basically the queen of core exercises, but if you're not doing them correctly then you're not reaping all the benefits. 

The goal of a plank is to keep a nice straight line from your feet to the crown of your head. Easier said than done. 

One of the most common mistakes people commit is arching their back too much in a plank. This happens when you're not fully engaging your abs as well as shrugging your shoulders and cranking your neck instead of keeping your body in a straight line. 

To help correct this make sure you're firing your core, keeping your neck straight, and having your arms flat and wide on the floor so that your shoulders can better support you.

Another thing to watch is the location of your hips, which usually sink to the ground, especially when you're getting fatigued. In order to keep your hips aligned, try tucking in your pelvis to keep your lower back from arching and continue to engage your abs. You might also want to widen your legs a bit for extra support. 

3. Lunges

Lunges are the go-to move to strengthen and tone your legs and glutes, but, of course, in order for you to activate all the right muscles, you need to fire all the right muscles. 

"Depending on which muscle you're trying to target the most, is the direction you want to do your lunges," says Fuentes. "Forward lunge and back, focus more on the quads. Lunging back, you'll target more the glutes. Walking lunges target more the glutes and inner legs."

Which is why weight placement is so important. According to Fuentes, your weight should be placed on the heel of the front leg and your glutes. Otherwise, "placing the weight on the front part of your toe will focus more on the quad and knee."

4. Push-ups 

Most people hate 'em but push-ups are an effective bodyweight exercise that targets your chest, arms, core, and legs. But it's probably the most common exercise that everyone does wrong. 

First, you want to make sure your arms aren't flaring out wide. Your elbows should be tucked in slightly; they're not by your sides nor are they by your ears when you drop down but somewhere in the middle at about a 45-degree position to your body, and your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Alignment is also key for a proper push-up. Your body should be going up and down in a straight line rather than worm-like. Make sure your hips and core are engaged and that your nose/head touches the ground first. If you find yourself fatiguing, then take that as your body's cue to stop. 

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