The BIGGEST Mistakes New Lifters Make

Many people make the same errors when learning new exercises…

I also realized that I use the same phrases over and over from client to client to get them to make the technique adjustments necessary for safe and effective movements.  Below are my most common verbal cues that I give for maximum effectiveness when teaching the big lifts (press, squat, deadlift, pushups)

Weightlifting Mistakes


“Pull the bar to your shins.”

“Chest high and shoulders back.”

“Get your hips higher than your knees.”

“Put a death grip on that damned bar.”

“Pull the flex out of the bar.”

“Get tight.”

“Stand up tall – don’t short the movement.”

“Your back is all rounded up like a turtle.”

“I use bumper plates for a reason; don’t be afraid to bang that shit.”


Weightlifting Mistakes

“Eyes up and straight ahead.”

“Bend at the hip like you were sitting in a chair.”

“Pretend like I’m trying to pull a $100 bill out from under your heel – and you don’t want me to get the money!”

“Your knees are bowing in like your drunk uncle doing the chicken dance at your cousin’s wedding.”

“Go low – whoever said you shouldn’t squat below parallel has never watched Olympic Weightlifting.”

Overhead Press

“If you don’t scrape your nose or bust your chin at least once, you are not trying to push as vertically as possible.”

“Put the bar at your collar bone and push your elbows up.”

“Stick your shoulders in your ears at the top of the movement.”

Pull Ups

“I don’t give a damn how you put your hands or how much body English you use.  All I care about are arms fully extended at the bottom and chin over the bar at the top.”

See also  Common Workout Mistakes: 6 Mistakes Stalling Your Progress

Push Ups


“Keep your gaze focused about two or three feet in front of you.”

“Full range of motion includes chest to the floor, not chest ALMOST to the floor.”

“Keep your body ramrod straight.  There should be a straight line from your ankles to your hips to your shoulders.”

Part of being a good coach or instructor is the ability to maintain the attention of those learning from you.  Often the best way to do this is to entertain as well as educate.  I can tell someone that their knees are not tracking their toes in the squat and the might make the necessary adjustment.

Or I can break the tension a bit with my chicken dance line and usually get a faster improvement.

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What are some of your favorite coaching quotes that you use yourself or have heard from a coach, trainer, or mentor?  Leave your favorites in the comments.

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