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5 gym exercises you may have been doing wrong all along

Reaching your goals is hard enough as it is, never mind when you aren’t going about it the right way.

WITH A WEALTH of information available to us from a wide range of sources, separating fitness fact from fiction can often be one of the key ingredients for achieving results in the gym.

While investing time and effort into your fitness journey is always a good start, walking through those gym doors alone won’t allow you to reach your full potential and get you to where you want to be.

Having committed yourself to making a positive change, there is nothing more demoralising then when your training is failing to yield any tangible results.

You might be spending hours on end in the gym yet there is little or no sign of progress but it is so often down to something as simple as technique and performing each exercise correctly.

If you have poor technique in any sport, it’s going to be difficult for you to be effective. It is exactly the same in the gym.

Form is a word you’ll regularly hear around any gym and the importance of maintaining it whether you’re squatting or benching cannot be understated.

Effective training depends on proper technique, and that is where so many of us fall down. You might watch others but sometimes what we see isn’t always right and oftentimes can be completely detrimental. It’s so easy the think you’re doing the right thing.

So, with the help of Nathan Cullen from Flyefit’s new Dundrum facility, we’ve picked out five of the most common and effective exercises and run through how to perform each with the correct technique.

1. Squats

This is the king of all exercises and something everyone should be working on, whether it’s a basic bodyweight squat or squatting with a barbell — but bad form can put you at risk of injury.


This exercise is working the core muscle groups; the glutes, quad, hamstrings and core.

Break from the hips first, with your weight supported through your heels. Go to knee level or lower if possible and as you drive back up, squeeze your glutes.

Make sure your knees don’t cave in as you squat down and your back isn’t rounding.


Similarly, with the bar  place your feet in a slightly wider-than-shoulder-width apart stance. Your chest should be out and your shoulders back. Remember to point your toes out and ensure that your knees don’t cave in as you squat.



2. Walking lunges

Again, this exercise works glutes, hamstrings and quads and is really effective if performed correctly as walking lunges can also act as a great stretch of the hip flexors.


Stand upright, with your feet together. Now take a step forward with your right leg and bend both knees to a 90-degree angle. Your front knee should be directly over the ankle.

Common mistakes when lunging include:

  • The lunge is too short or too long
  • The front knee collapses
  • Poor posture/leaning too far forward



3. Pull-ups

This is the essential upper-body exercise, but many people forget that the back muscles are the primary focus here.


Using a neutral grip, pinch your shoulder blades and then pull with the arms. Every rep should begin with a retraction of the shoulders and it’s important to maintain control rather than swinging from the bar. Also remember to brace your core.

4. Press-ups

Press-ups are one of the oldest and best fitness tricks in the book. They’ll hit your arms, shoulders and back muscles. While there are many different variations, there are common mistakes.


The positioning of the hands are key here and they should be shoulder-width apart. Another problem area for many people is the tendency to drop the hips whilst performing a press-up.

Always keep your body in line, bring the elbows down nice and wide and drop to around a fist above the ground.

press up

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5. Bicep curls

One of the most straightforward exercises, but there is also so much room for error when performing bicep curls with a dumbbell or barbell.

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  • Do not swing the weights.
  • Do not lean back, stay upright with your shoulders strong and chest out.
  • Make sure you bring the weight all the way down so your elbow is locked out.
  • Maintain control when bringing the weight down rather than letting it drop quickly.



FLYEfit’s newest gym has just opened on Dundrum Main Street and adjacent to the Dundrum Shopping Centre – just a few minutes from Dundrum Luas station and easily accessible from Sandyford, Rathfarnham and Clonskeagh. From just €29 per month, it offers members free weights, Olympic lifting, a high performance and functional training area and a cardio zone with treadmills and ellipticals.

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