Nerd-Core Fitness 101 – Beginner Workout Mistakes

Happy #FitnessFriday loyal readers!

Today we are going to look at some common mistakes with the exercises contained with the Nerd-Core Fitness 101 series. As I have mentioned before, when you are performing these exercises proper form is paramount! Of course, no matter what you are doing you want to have good form but in the beginning we are trying to teach our skeleton and musculature good habits.

This isn’t easy, especially at first! As you are strengthening your major muscle groups you are also conditioning all your tendons and small stabilizer muscles at the same time. Everyone is different, and everyone will have weaker and stronger spots, but the constant is that everyone will sacrifice form subconsciously to make an exercise easier! You just have to be mindful when working out so that you can avoid putting reps of an exercise with shoddy form.

Not only will doing an exercise incorrectly impede your progress, it can also potentially cause injury. Since we want to get as much out of each workout as possible, and avoid injury, I want to lay out some of the most common mistakes I see with the exercises contained within the:

Lower Body Workout Mistakes

The biggest mistake with lower body exercises is not getting a full range of motion in the legs with each rep. This becomes increasingly difficult as you get deeper into your sets as the fatigue sets in.

Incorrect Squat

This is not how to do a squat!


Squats – If you look at the picture to the right, you will see exactly how not to do a squat, but very often this is what it looks like.

  • Weight is forward over the toes, instead of the heels
  • Back is bent
  • Looking at the floor
  • Almost no bend at the knees



Incorrect Lunge

This is how not to do a lunge!


Lunges – If you look at the picture to the right, you will see exactly what a poor lunge looks like.

  • Shallow step forward
  • Neither leg bent at a 90 degree angle
  • Leaning forward and hunching of the shoulders
  • Chin down, instead of up



Upper Body Workout Mistakes

The biggest mistake here usually comes from weak core strength and/or a lack of full range of motion. Keeping your back in a straight line while using your chest and arms is hard, especially a fatigue sets in. Obviously if you relax your upper body you will face plant into the ground, so the next logical place to relax the muscles is your core. Don’!

Incorrect Pushup

These are examples of how to fail at pushups.



Pushups – If you look at the picture on the right you will see what sloppy pushups often look like.

  • Butt high in the air taking stress off the abdominal muscles
  • Pelvis sagging taking the pressure off the lower back muscles
  • Looking down at the ground
  • Potentially either ending the pushup to early by stopping too high from the ground or conversely starting them too early before your arms reach full extension (difficult to show in picture form)



Total Body Workout Mistakes

The biggest issues with these exercises usually come from weak core strength, much like the pushup errors noted above. As you get stronger it will be easier and easier to keep the form, but fatigue will let laziness poke its nefarious head out of its lair and wreak havoc if you let it. So don’t!

Incorrect Crunch

Please don’t do your crunches like this!


Crunches – The picture to the right shows the most common issue with a crunch.

  • Upper back flat on the ground
  • Hands pulling on the head (Remember he goal is to get your shoulders off the ground and closer to your knees, not just your head!)


Incorrect Knees to Chest

This is a horrible knees-to-chest. Don’t look like this!



Knees to Chest – The picture on the right illustrates te common problem with doing a proper knees to chest.

  • Looking down at the ground
  • Butt way in the air. This takes the pressure off the abdominal muscles and shifts most of the work onto the shoulders, which are more apt to handle holding up you weight. Don’t do this!
  • Knees only coming up to mid-torso instead of all the way up to your chest.


Notice a common theme here? Almost all of the errors come from improper spinal alignment. It is hard to force yourself to keep your back straight, the muscles are generally not as strong as the major muscle groups (yet; we are going to start working on that soon!), and oft-times bending the back makes the exercise feel easier. Make sure you are vigilant in keeping you spine straight! Don’t cheat on the exercises; not only can it potentially cause back issues for you in the long-term it reduces the benefit of the workouts. Remember, we want the maximum benefit-to-time invested ratio we can get!

So, as you continue crushing these workouts (you are doing them faithfully, right?!?) let’s endeavor to do them as close to picture perfect as possible. In a couple of weeks we are going to add some more exercises to these basic routines and I want you to have the tools to succeed!

So what exercises are you having the most trouble doing correctly? Leave a comment below and let me know, so I can help! Also Sign up for our free newsletter! so that you don’t miss new workouts and diet tips as they go live, and follow me on Twitter for my exclusive #FitnessFriday health tips.




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