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Say Hello to My Little Friend


Everytime I see someone almost blowing out their back doing squats, or doing the worst bench press ever known to man, I think about Scarface.

I’m standing at the edge of the balcony mowing dudes down and watching the headbands, mesh fingerless gloves, ipods and little white towels fly into the air, while I laugh uncontrollably out loud.

Is that wrong?

Well, instead of going up to these guys and wasting my time “trying” to help them out and them not listening, I figured I will give YOU, the people who are interested in really perfecting their technique and learning to stay injury free, some very simple tips for correcting your form.

And trust me, you don’t need a lot of money, expensive equipment or gadgets to do it.


Pattern Correction

When technique is compromised while performing strength exercises, the failure occurs in a specific direction, resisting a movement pattern or along a movement pattern.

We can force adherence to the movement pattern by pushing or moving the athlete or lifter in the direction of the FAILURE OR COMPENSATION.

This can be done with an elastic band or an additional weight added to the lifter.  This should be in addition to your verbal coaching cues.

Strength Training Movement Patterns:

  • Horizontal Push / Pull
  • Vertical Push / Pull
  • Hip Dominant
  • Quad Dominant
  • Free Flow / Chaos

Why Are Exercises Performed Wrong?

  • bad technique, no knowledge of how the lift should be performed
  • Knowledge to perform the exercise, but not enough repetitions (ie. greasing the groove, they say it takes 10,000 reps to overcome a bad technique or to become proficient at a movement)
  • something is tight (not flexible, not mobile enough for the specific movement)
  • something is weak
  • too much weight
  • something is not braced
  • fatigue
  • poor equipment
  • bad environment

Let’s look at a few examples of how some common exercises are performed incorrectly or where the failure occurs.

Some Common Exercise Technique Flaws:

Squats – lifter / athlete’s knees kicking in


Push-ups – lifter / athlete’s hips are sagging or starting to sag after fatigue


Lunges – lifter / athlete’s knees are wobbly, kicking in or kicking out


RDL’s – lifter / athlete’s head down, hips are shooting up or they are bending over


SPECIAL NOTE:  Fatigue changes everything.  Form may be corrected at the start of the movement or as fatigue sets in AND the athlete / lifter’s must correct the pattern DIFFERENTLY at different stages of fatigue.

So, let’s remember our goal – correcting exercise technique by pulling the lifter into the direction of their compensation.  Let’s see how this works.

Correct Way to Perform the Exercises:

We need to correct the bad technique on the exercises listed above.  Let’s see how their should be performed according to what was being done wrong above.

Squats – Knees should be forced outward tracking over the toes – add a band around the lifter’s quads to fix the pattern.
Push-ups – Hips should remain fixed and up while glutes, hamstrings and abs are isometrically contracted – add a chain or sandbag on the lifter’s lower back to fix the pattern.
Lunges – knees fixed without movement, tracking with hips and ankles, stabilized in the sagittal plane – add a band perpendicular to the lifter’s knee to fix the pattern.
RDL’s – Head in line with the spine, lower back fixed in neutral (slightly arched) and hips move backward – add a sandbag to the lifter’s shoulders to fix the pattern.

Here is the video you voted on, “How to Correct Any Exercise”.  Please subscribe to my Youtube channel and get ready for many new videos coming out in the next several weeks.

Pattern Correction


PS.  Just a quick heads-up.  Due to the all the requests I keep getting to setup a package where you can buy all of my products all at once, I created the MASTER COLLECTION!  You can buy all of my products and get a HUGE 20% discount.  Check it our HERE.

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15 Responses to “Say Hello to My Little Friend”

  1. Adam Says:

    Sweet post! I know I am guilty of at least one of these and constant reinforcement is the only way to correct. I think the too heavy is my main problem. That go big or go home attitude is going to send me home one of these days, HA never! I plan on working on my conventional deadlift form tomorrow. Thanks again Smitty.

  2. Jim Smith Says:

    You got it bro!

  3. mike Says:

    nice vid, it makes it easier for the person to realize, understand, and fix their mistakes when you make what they do incorrectly even more extreme and have them fix it

  4. Doug Says:

    Brilliant post! I’m sure I am guilty of all of these at some point. I can’t wait to implement these techniques in my own training as well as my clients’.

  5. Jim Smith Says:

    Thanks Mike!

  6. Jim Smith Says:

    Awesome Doug, thanks for the great support.

  7. dilly Says:

    i just felt that way in the gym today watching people do bench press with way too much weight and only moving the bar about six inches from lockout then back up again. its so painful to watch that i cant hold back my laughter.

  8. Jedd Says:

    That is one ugly chick.

  9. Luke Wold Says:

    Thanks Jim!

    I’m working to develop cues for my coaches to use with athletes to help fix form, I’m sending everyone this post so they know what I’m talking about!

    You’re the man!

    ~ Luke

  10. Paul Says:


    Great stuff as always! Seems like unconventional wisdom to force the person to be overcompensated in their direction of deficiency but makes sense once you see it in action. Love it man!

  11. Jim Smith Says:

    Thanks for the great feedback Paul.

    Yes, definitely seems unconventional, but the “tension” provides the cue that your words / coaching could not.

    Thanks again!

  12. Jim Smith Says:

    Awesome Luke, truly appreciate it!

  13. Mosley Says:

    Great information. Thanks.

  14. Jim Smith Says:

    Thanks Mosley!

  15. rmg Says:

    Nice site and it provided a wealth of information. I as able to gain info on how to correct a mistake I was making in the pullup.

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