Train Pain Free

Exercises will often put our bodies in vulnerable positions. We have to first prepare our bodies by making sure that we have the strength and mobility to properly perform these exercises. 

We have compiled tips to help you avoid the common mistakes that can cause knee, hip and shoulder pain so you can train pain free.


Exercises such as squats and lunges can put a lot of strain on the knees if not done properly. 

Being cognizant of knee tracking is important for preventing injury. The goal is to keep your knee in-line with your toes. However, if there is weakness or limited mobility, the knees may go “off-track.” This is when valgus knees (knees collapsing inward) tend to happen. Valgus knees can be caused by a number of things such as fatigue and poor hip mobility but for many it’s a sign of weakness in the glutes. Your body will compensate for the weakness by asking your knees to carry the load (eeeek our knees shouldn’t be doing that much work). 

Things you should do:
  • Watch yourself in the mirror when performing knee dominant exercises to check for proper knee tracking.
  • When squatting think –  “knees out” This cue will help prevent the collapsing of the knees in a squat 
  • Strengthen the glutes. Exercises such as hip thrusts or glute bridges can help to strengthen the glutes and aid in preventing valgus. 

Lower Back 

Hip dominant exercises such as deadlifts, hip thrusts and glute bridges may cause stress and pain in your lower back, T-spine or neck. 

Many times, lower back pain occurs during these exercises when you are not set-up properly when performing these exercises.  For instance, having your hips too high in a deadlift may cause you to round your back in order to reach the bard and having your hips set too low you will cause you to “squat the deadlift” and put unnecessary stress on the lower back. 

Things you should do:
  • Maintain a neutral spine – when performing these exercises keep your head in line with your spine
  • Modify the height of the bar during hinge movements like deadlifts – You can place the bar on a platform so you don’t have to reach down so far to reach the bar. This will help to put you in the ideal position for power.  
  • Brace your core! Your core isn’t just that six-pack you have been looking for. Your core actually wraps all the way around to your back. Engaging your core throughout these exercises is a major part of keeping proper form and avoiding injury. 


Push exercises (bench press, push ups and shoulder presses) and pull exercises (rows, pull-ups and bicep curls) can cause shoulder discomfort if not done properly.  

When performing push exercises improper positioning can cause instability in the shoulder joint. Even slightly bending your wrists opens the door for shoulder pain to occur. 

In pull exercises lack of control through the entirety of the movement can cause pain and discomfort. This is especially important in the eccentric (lowering) phase of the exercise. 

Things you should do: 
  • Lighten the load – It doesn’t make sense to do heavy weights if you don’t know how to position yourself properly or control the weight. 
  • When performing push exercises always think “stack and keep it tight.” Your wrist, elbow and shoulder should always be stacked when doing these exercises. You also need to keep everything very tight, from the wrist all the way to your core – no wiggle room. 
  • Focus on controlling the weight during pull exercises – incorporate negatives (taking 3-5 seconds in the lowering phase of the movement) to help strengthen and learn control.

Being in the weight room isn’t dangerous but improperly performing exercises can cause pain. Think of it like driving — Driving a car isn’t dangerous but driving distracted or not following the rules of the roadway can be a danger. 

At the end of the day, always listen to your body. If you feel pain while doing an exercise, check yourself. Ask a trainer to watch your form or video yourself performing the exercise to go back and check your form.

Have questions about your training? We would love to help. You can contact us at

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