Top 5 BodyWeight Workout Don’ts

Did you say “don’ts”?

Don’t you love being told what NOT to do?  I know, I love criticisms of all sorts.  NOT!  OMG, I hate criticism, constructive or otherwise; it’s one of my biggest flaws.  But I digress…


This post is sort of stolen borrowed. Okay, it’s totally information I received and thought I would pass on to my readers, because I think it’s really important.  Yes, sometimes I can let others have the best ideas.  More like, all the time, but whatever….

I don’t know if any of you are fans of Mike Whitfield, Master CTT, but I am.  I think this guy is phenomenal.  I LOVE his sprint conditioning drills, metabolic finishers, bodyweight workouts, and everything else.  When he speaks, I listen. You should totally check him out, if you haven’t already.  Like, right this minute.

Anyhoo, I always look forward to my daily e-mail from Mike.  Particularly, one I received the other day. I felt I should share this information with you, because I see these sorts of mistakes being made all the time, and I like to see people get the most out of their workouts!  Otherwise, what’s the point?

Top 5 bodyweight training mistakes (and how to fix them)

Look, it’s awesome. Bodyweight exercises increase your
athleticism (at ANY age), burns more fat than treadmills and
ellipticals plus helps you bend down a little lower and reach things
a little easier.
We all could use that, right?
So, we might as well make the best of it. Take a look at this
list so you can improve your bodyweight training.
5 Bodyweight Training Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)
-Mike Whitfield, Master CTT
Mistake #1 – Locking Out Your Elbows on Pushups
 When doing any variety of pushups, don’t “lock out” your
elbows as this puts unnecessary stress on your joints.
So, at the top of each rep, straighten your arms until just before you “lock” your elbows. Your joints will thank you.


Mistake #2 – You Purposely Burn Out
 You should rarely train to failure (I sometimes use this technique
as a finisher). Training to failure leads to over-training and sloppy
As a good rule of thumb, you shouldn’t train any more than
2-3 reps short of failure.


Mistake #3 – You Grab it Too Hard
When using a chin-up or pull-up bar, you tend to grip the bar
much harder than necessary. This leads to wrist fatigue and your
grip will fail before your muscles.
That means your muscles lose out on the benefit.
The same goes for DB Rows (but we’re talking bodyweight today).
So use a firm grip, but relax a bit.


Mistake #4 – Your Lunges Are Horrid
 No lazy lunges…. far too many people do one or more of these
things when doing lunges:
 1) Lean forward as they go down <= No.
 2) Take too small of a step forward <= No.
 3) Barely engage the glutes (aka the booty) because the depth

of the lunge is a joke. <= No.

Now you can fix it…
 1) Keep your shoulders back (this will force your upper body to
stay straight… and hey, you’ll improve your posture). <= Yes!
 2) Remember to take a big enough step forward so that you
work more muscle (which burns more calories). So yes… take
a Giant step.<= Yes!
 3) Look at the lunge as 2 separate movements. Move #1 is
taking the step out while keeping your upper body straight.
Move #2 is lowering yourself STRAIGHT down as if your
upper body is on an elevator. Your rear knee should be about
2-3 inches off the ground. <= Yes!


Mistake #5 – You Don’t Leave Your Ego at the Door
 Not everyone needs to be doing burpees.
 Not everyone needs to be doing jumps.
 Not everyone needs to be doing a variety of a pushup in which
they can’t complete 10 reps… on a program that calls for 20 reps.
 Look, challenge yourself, but don’t destroy yourself.
Need an idea on what exercise substitutions you need? Take a
look at this list

So, there you have it — some sage workout advice! I utilize so much of Mike’s wisdom (btw, this is not a sponsored post), in fact, he would probably be pissed that I’m sharing it.  Mike, I give you FULL credit for this information, if you should ever make my day by reading my blog and seeing this post.  

Do you ever want to correct other people’s form at the gym?  Are you a fitness professional who struggles with your client’s mechanics of movement?  Do you like that Mike says “not everyone needs to be doing burpees?”  I like that! 🙂


Spread the good word!


  1. McKenzie
    February 4, 2015 / 4:36 pm

    I look hella dumb at the gym. That’s pretty much why I don’t go. Boomtown!

    • Erin
      February 4, 2015 / 4:41 pm

      Oh that’s why? lol

  2. February 4, 2015 / 6:03 pm

    These are great tips! I’m all for challenging myself and not destroying myself. I haven’t heard of Mike Whitfield but will check him out now. 🙂

    • Erin
      February 4, 2015 / 11:11 pm

      They are great tips! Mike Whitfield is a genius as far as I’m concerned. He has no nonsense advice on almost everything fitness related. Thanks for reading, Sharon!

  3. February 4, 2015 / 7:14 pm

    So useful. I’ve been doing a bunch of lunges, and I’m always worried my form is off. Thanks for this!

    • Erin
      February 4, 2015 / 11:12 pm

      Proper lunges rule! I love Mike Whitfield’s tips he’s definite on point when it comes to form! 🙂

  4. February 4, 2015 / 7:19 pm

    I got a wake up call on grip strength when I started working on the pull up bar. Slowly improving, but still, I’m like DANG!

    • Erin
      February 4, 2015 / 11:17 pm

      OMG totally! I still can’t even do one, but I know I was gripping it all wrong! Thanks for visiting!

    • Erin
      February 4, 2015 / 11:18 pm

      Don’t we all lol. It’s a toughie! 🙂

  5. February 4, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    Great workout don’t’s list! I’m anything but a body weight training master so the tips are very helpful 🙂 I was glad the training to burn out point was on there. I have struggled with pushing TOO hard in running workouts and it’s fine for specific “hard” days, but totally burns a person out, physically and mentally, when done often!

    • Erin
      February 4, 2015 / 11:19 pm

      That is SO true, Amy. You can totally ease up but still push yourself. It’s hard when you’re “in the zone” to realize it. Thanks so much for reading – I’m glad it’s useful for you! 🙂

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