Common weight-lifting mistakes

Lifting weights is a great way to build muscle mass, burn body fat and reduce stress. However, if done incorrectly, weight training can cause serious injury and do more harm than good. Below are some crucial steps you should take to stay safe and get the most out of your workout.

Upper Body

  • Performing more pushing/pressing vs. pulling/rowing

Strength and conditioning specialist, Brad Rilling, at Sanford POWER in Sioux Falls, SDEveryone loves to do push-ups and bench press but rarely likes to do pull-ups or pulling exercises. This is one of the leading causes of shoulder pain or imbalances within the upper body. To help maintain shoulder health and an equally symmetrical body type you should perform as many pulling/rowing exercises as pushing/pressing exercises.

  •  Pulling/rowing technique

So the volume of pushing and pulling are equal but you still get shoulder pain? When performing pulling/rowing exercises, the humeral head of your shoulder should not be going forward at the end range of a pulling/rowing exercise. When performing pulling/rowing exercises, the shoulders should be back and not rounded or pulled forward. Also, to help prevent the shoulder from going forward, do not go past the end range of motion. Example: Pulling the dumbbell past your chest when performing a 3-point row brings the shoulder forward and not back.

Lower Body

  • Performing more knee dominant exercises vs. hip dominant exercises

Squatting, lunging and step up variations are all knee dominant exercises. Hip dominant exercises include hinging exercises like RDL, deadlift and various bridging exercises. Just like upper body exercises, you need the backside of your body to have equal or even more volume within your program than the front side to ensure proper posture and symmetry.

Check your program to ensure the volume of the “mirror muscles” (front side) are equal to the “non-mirror muscles” (back side) both upper and lower body.

  • RDL or straight-legged deadlift technique

When performing RDL’s or straight-legged deadlifts do not bend at the waist but hinge at the hips during the movement. The common mistake is to bend over at the waist and go to the floor with the weight.  Instead, push the hips back and perform this until the hips no longer go back and return to the starting position. Also, ensure the bar is close to your legs and your back and head is neutral or straight.  Do not perform this with the bar away from your legs and/or a rounded back.

Brad Rilling, Sanford POWER CSCS