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Tips For Proper Shoulder Form When Lifting Weights

Quick Tip: Keep Your Shoulders Down

So many things to think about when strength training, like where to place your feet, how to keep from arching your back, and not overdoing it on the weights. I'm constantly reminding myself to do all these things, but one main thing that commonly plagues me, whether I'm doing a squat or a bicep curl, is how not to hunch my shoulders.

I'm not alone; rounded backs and hunched shoulders are one of the most common mistakes people make at the gym. It can lead to neck or muscle strains, imbalances, and injuries, so it's important to remember to keep your shoulders down when you are working out (even when you are doing cardio). If you have trouble remembering to keep your shoulders down, read on for two easy ways to remember to stop hunching.

I recently learned these shoulder-relaxing tips from two personal trainers at Crunch and Sports Club LA, who are used to seeing people rounding their backs and shoulders at the gym:

  1. Imagine there's a yard stick behind your back, directly behind your tailbone. If you're doing an exercise correctly, your tail bone, the area between your shoulder blades, and the back of your head should be touching the yard stick at all times.
  2. Always have this mantra repeating in your mind: keep your shoulder blades "tucked in your back pocket." This forces you to move your shoulders down and back so they aren't rounded over or up by your ears.

I always try to remember these two tips, and they've definitely helped me have better form — whether I'm doing lunges in class or lifting dumbbells, staying unhunched helps keep my chest open and back aligned.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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