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Taken from the part one intro:

Without proper guidance and professional instruction most people and athletes have incorrect form while lifting weights resulting in poor mechanics throughout the entire exercise.

Maintaining a Five Point Contact is key to performing all resistance exercises.  This is a subject I covered in an earlier article called “Maintaining Proper Spinal Alignment While Resistance Training”.

Here is the second list of some of the most common mistakes made during these lifts and their correction’s as these are the ones most often performed with improper technique.

Cable Triceps Pushdown


Rounded shoulder positioning with no scapular stability.

Head tilted down and forward, excessive upper arm movement.

Elbows placed right against side of body just above hips.

Standing with body completely upright allowing lower back to go into excessive lordosis.

Swinging of entire body.

Corrections: (You will notice that the rules for this are similar to the bicep curls. It’s the same movement but reversed.)

Shoulders slightly pulled back and stable, the weight should be supported by posterior deltoids and scapular musculature.  This will help with preventing the upper arm from going into too much shoulder flexion or extension.

Do not place elbows against body. This will create unnecessary stress on glenohumeral joint and result in tendonitis. Elbows should be in line with upper body and about a golf or tennis balls distance away from sides of body.

Position head in neutral, looking straight ahead and without dropping chin towards chest.  Tucking chin downwards will result in rounding shoulders and loss of scapular stability.

Stand in a partial squat initiated from hips, not the knees and keep core musculature tight throughout. This will prevent swaying of the entire body and help protect against lower back injury.  Keep the 4-2-5 concept in mind.

Work triceps throughout entire range of motion, making sure triceps are under constant tension throughout entire movement.

Front Neck Pull Down


Excessive swinging of upper body

Not maintaining scapular stability, and letting shoulder rise, placing undue stress on tendons and ligaments.

Tucking chin downward while performing movement, and not maintaining normal lordosis.

Pulling bar down to far down and going into internal rotation of the shoulders.


Sit upward maintaining a neutral spine.

Place hands on bar with either a 1 or 1.5 biacromial width.

Bar should travel in a straight line down to touch superior part of sternum just below clavicle.  At top end of movement maintain scapular stability by not going into a full extension. You want to let bar rise as far up as long as the shoulders do not come up as well, unless you are performing a scapular retraction and protraction. Weight must remain on musculature not pulling on joints by maintaining a constant a muscular contraction.

Maintain tight core musculature and the only part of body moving should be arms.

One Arm Dumbbell Rows


Not maintaining normal lordosis and performing exercise with a rounded back.

Excessive use of trapezium while pulling weight upward during exercise.

Losing scapular stability while performing exercise.

Not keeping neck in a neutral position.


Maintain a neutral spine position and normal lordosis of lumbar spine. Performing this exercise with a rounded back puts you at risk for vertebral disk herniation.

Drive weight upwards by driving with elbow and shoulder depressed. This will prevent too much trap recruitment.

Be sure to keep scapula pulled back slightly and stable with a constant contraction at all times.

Keep head in a neutral position. Tucking your chin downward will round your upper back and cause loss of scapular stability.

Supine Dumbbell Chest Flys


Excessive arching of back on bench by not maintaining a 5-point contact.

Too much flexion in elbows resulting in a movement more similar to a press.

Performing exercise with elbows placed at a higher level than acromioclavicular joint throughout movement causing too much compression on AC complex.

Performing with a partial or not full range of motion.


Maintaining a 5-point contact throughout exercise, and keeping a tight core.

Elbows should have a very slight bend in them, which stays constant throughout execution of exercise. If you are increasing the flexion in your elbows in the negative or eccentric part of this exercise then you are doing a chest press.

Throughout exercise in both the eccentric and concentric motion of this exercise the elbows should be 1-3 inches lower than shoulder girdle. Hands should follow a line at mid sternum height in the transverse plane.

Performing this exercise with elbows more superior of acromioclavicular joints can cause AC impingements.

Perform a full range of motion, which is when hands are in line or slightly below body in the frontal plane.  In other words your hands should be at least the level of the bench you are lying on in the downward motion of exercise.

If you are still confused and need a visual aid then two excellent resources are the books “Strength Training” by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, or “Strength Training Anatomy”.

Human Kinetics publishes both books.


Jon Torerk, CSCS