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Common tip: Keep your elbows out to the sides.
Why it's bad: The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. During an overhead press, the socket of the shoulder blade must move under the ball of the arm in order to provide optimal support and stability, explains San Diego-based personal trainer and strength coach Pete McCall. However this cannot happen if your arms are out to the sides "goal post" style. Performing the press in that position can also compress a portion of the rotator cuff in the process.
The correct proper form: Stand with feet hip-width part, holding dumbbells in front of shoulders with arms bent. Envision that you're standing on a clock face and position arms so left elbow is pointed between 10 and 11 o'clock and right elbow is pointed between 1 and 2 o'clock. Exhale as you extend right arm, pressing the weight upward. Inhale as you lower the weight, focusing on pulling elbow in toward your body to help stabilize the shoulder. Repeat with left arm. Do 8 to 12 reps on each side. [Tweet this tip!]
Instead of helping, these common exercise cues could be setting you up for injury. Learn the proper way to work out once and for all
She means well, but is her advice helping you or setting you up for injury?