How to Lift with Proper Form

A common mistake lifters make in their fitness journey is not correcting their form. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect, your form should be correct and proper to ensure optimal results and that you’re lifting safely.

Let’s break it down into some of the most common exercises people make mistakes on:

Conventional or Romanian Deadlift

Two types of deadlifts are engaging and fulfilling when done right. A conventional deadlift is a strong compound movement that helps with your overall leg strength and growth. Romanian deadlifts help target your glutes or hamstrings.

Common mistakes here include:

  • Not engaging your core
  •  Rounding your back
  •  Lifting with your back instead of your legs
  •  Lifting too heavy

These mistakes aren’t unheard of but should be quickly adjusted and fixed to avoid injury. You also want to achieve optimal results, and bad form will hold you back.

The key to a good deadlift is to squeeze your core, straighten your back, and roll back your shoulders. Maintain a good posture, and avoid relying on your back to get the weight up. For RDLs, there is no need to go all the way down, but rather as soon as you feel it in your hamstrings. Here’s an example of a conventional deadlift:

This YouTube video demonstrates good deadlifting form: 

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This movement is efficient when done right, but here are some common errors:

  • Arms are at an incorrect angle
  •  Not lifting both arms at the same height and time
  •  Not using a full range of motion
  •  Touching the dumbbells at the top

A tip I found on TikTok was to press the dumbbells at a 45-degree angle for better engagement and safer lifting. This is up to interpretation, but I find holding the dumbbells at a 90-degree angle puts you at risk of injury, such as losing your posture and dropping the dumbbells (I have personally witnessed this happen).

Lifting both arms at the same time and height is important, and if you are unable to do that, chances are you need to lower the weight. In addition, make sure you’re pressing using a full range of motion, by pressing to the top and then lowering just above your shoulders. Another thing not to do is to tap the dumbbells together at the top.

This article explains the instructions for this exercise very well, and can also be applied to chest press in some ways.

Barbell Squat

I absolutely hate squats, but I’m implementing them into my routine again, so this is good to know.

Often people make the mistake of:

  • Going too heavy too soon
  • Not keeping a neutral spine
  • Butt wink
  • Not engaging core

A main tip is to start with the bar until you perfect the form, then add weights after.

This TikTok gives a few tips for a good squat, and demonstrates good form as well:


i worked on these things for a while- dont expect to perfect it in one try. let me know if this helps! #squatform #squats #gymtok

♬ original sound – meg ballard


Lifting with good form is easier said than done. Some tips to apply across the board are to start with lower weight and engage your core. Ultimately, do your research, and practice until you get it right. It’s better to start slow than to risk injury. Until next time, contact me for more!

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