Top 10 most common exercises done incorrectly 

New research from an online sports equipment retailer in the UK has revealed the top 10 most common exercises done incorrectly by gym goers and exercise enthusiasts. 

Some of the most popular physical activities carried out by those looking to get fit are amongst those most frequently undertaken inaccurately according to a poll. Top of the list was the bicep curl (64%), followed by crunches (61%) and chest press (58%).

The research, conducted by, polled 942 fitness professionals from around the UK as part of on-going research into the exercise habits of Britons.

The study asked respondents ‘What are the most common exercises that you see performed incorrectly?’ and asked them to choose from a list of potential options, allowing each individual to select the five most frequently poorly performed routines that they witness.

Once they had chosen the appropriate exercises from the list, respondents were then asked to stipulate the most common errors that they had seen being carried out. The team at then compiled a list of the most common exercises carried out incorrectly, along with the most frequently mentioned errors to make the top 10.

The top ten exercises done incorrectly and the most common mistakes were as follows:

Bicep Curls (64%) – the most common error was simply trying to lift too heavy a weight, which took the focus from the bicep and onto the shoulders.

Crunches (61%) – too much strain on the neck was the most quoted problem here.

Chest press (58%) – Failing to keep the shoulders back and squeezing the chest muscles together when bringing the dumbbells in was the most frequent mistake.

Squats (57%) – poor posture putting too much strain on the lower back and not enough emphasis on the legs was the biggest issue for people attempting squats.

Lat pull down (55%) – the bar should be pulled to the front of the body and to level with the chin, not behind the neck.

The plank (53%) – too often peoples’ bodies sag, according to those polled. The body needs to be kept straight, with taught abdominal muscles and glutes to avoid stress on the lower back.

Bent over rows (36%) – exponents were prone to hunching their back forward whilst straining against too heavy a weight.

Leg press (47%) – people often go ‘too deep’ with the danger of adding too much stress on the lower back, and often lock their legs when they come back up.

Leg lifts (43%) – the most common error here was the fact that exercisers think they’re working their abs when in actuality they’re working their hip flexors

Lunges (39%) – too many people put their knee over the toe with the pressure on the ball of their foot.

Following this, the fitness professionals taking part were asked what they felt were the reasons behind the incorrect exercises, allowing them to select more than one response if appropriate. The top reason was simply that people were ‘trying to do too much’ with 44% agreeing. A further 32% went beyond this, saying that a lot of gym users were ‘trying to impress their peers’. 39% blamed a ‘lack of education’ when it came to workouts at the gym.

Maz Darvish, the CEO of, made the following comment:

“You see all kinds of techniques undertaken when exercising and these techniques are often incorrect. Not only does this mean people are failing to get the most out of their workout, but it can also lead to serious injuries.”

He continued:

“It’s important to get your posture correct. If you’re unsure, ask one of the instructors in the gym. If you’re doing a home fitness routine, it’s worth doing some research to make sure that you’re optimising your routine. If in doubt, you should reduce the weight. Quality not quantity is the key when it comes to working out.”

Image: iStockphoto

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