the-squat-1The Squat

How To Do It

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder wide-apart, toes forward, Push your hips back as if you’re about to sit in a chair, and lower your body. Pause, and then push back up to the starting position.

1. FRONT VIEW
As you lower your body, Your knees and feet should be in a straight line. If your thighs rotate inward, then your knees are moving toward each other and become vulnerable to injury. You need to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, which will keep your legs in the correct position.

FIX IT Do not hip raise and leg curl: Lie on your back with your heels on a Swiss ball. Lift your hips so your body is straight from ankles to shoulders. Pull the ball toward your butt as you bend your knees. Reverse the move, but don’t let your hips sag or touch the floor. Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

2. SIDE VIEW
You should be able to squat until the tops of your thighs are at least parallel to the floor (lower if you can), while keeping the natural arch in your lower back, says Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S. If you can’t, your core needs work.

FIX IT Try mountain climbers for your abs and hips. Start in a pushup position but place your hands on a Swiss ball and toes on the floor. Lift one knee toward your chest. Lower and repeat with the other leg. Do 2 or 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps per leg.

The Lungethe-lunge

HOW TO DO IT

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Take a long step forward and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees. Then push back to standing, repeat with your other leg.

1. SIDE VIEW
Your torso should be perpendicular to the floor throughout the movement. If your torso leans forward, Robertson says, you may have stiff hip flexors, which could lead to pain in your lower back or the front of your knees.

FIX IT Do the ultimate hip-flexor stretch before a lower-body workout: Start in the lunge position with your right leg forward and left knee resting on a pad. Extend your right arm overhead, bend your torso to the left, and twist slightly to your right. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.

2. FRONT VIEW
When you’re in the bottom position, your foot, knee and hip should be in a straight line. Hold this position for a few seconds. If your knee wobbles, you risk injury from the instability.

FIX IT The problem could be your feet, Robertson says. Take off your shoes and do 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 10 lunges per leg in socks or bare feet.

The Pushupthe-pushup

HOW TO DO IT

Assume a pushup position, with your arms straight and hands below and slightly wider than your shoulders. Bend at the elbows and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, and push your body back up.

1. SIDE VIEW
Does your torso sag during the exercise? Your body should be rigid, in a straight line from neck to ankles. If it isn’t,  you need to develop strength and endurance in your core muscles, Robertson says.

FIX IT Do Planks, Start in pushup position but with your weight on your forearms, Brace your abs, and hold this position for 2 minutes.

2. TOP VIEW
Your shoulder blades should remain flat, Hartman says. But they shouldn’t protrude above the plane of your upper back muscles. If they stick out, it probably means your serratus anteriors are weak, These muscles are just outside your pecs alongside your rib cage, and they help control the stability and movement of your shoulder blades. A weak serratus anterior can lead to shoulder pain.

FIX IT Do incline pushups, Secure a  barbell (or the bar of a smith machine) at hip height. Grab it with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders, and do slow, controlled pushups. Push yourself up as high as you can on each rep – that ensures you’re targeting your serratus. As you improve, gradually lower the bar each workout until you’re doing pushups on the floor with the same form.

If you aren’t seeing the results you expect from your workouts , there may be a simple reason: you’re all alone. Many of us think we can do everything on our own, but sometimes you need a wingman to help you reach your potential. You see, weight training shouldn’t be a-one-man activity-at least not until you’ve perfected your form. Sure, you can hoist heavy objects until your biceps feel like they’ll pop, but if you’re hoisting incorrectly, you’ll never look good as you could-and you might hurt yourself in the process.

That’s why we turned to Mike Robertson, C.S.C.S., and Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S., co-owners of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training. They provide expert tips that a buddy can use to analyze your technique on three common exercises. Open up to constructive criticism and you’ll build the strength and size you want, without the pain and frustration that comes with thinking you’re a gym genius.