Home Blog Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 49 (Beginner Coaching Cues Edition)

Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 49 (Beginner Coaching Cues Edition)

Written on August 3, 2013 at 7:38 am, by Eric Cressey

As the final piece of "Beginner Week" here at EricCressey.com, Greg Robins touches on four common technique mistakes we see in beginners and outlines how to correct them.  These will all be video cues.

1. Get the hips back and knees out with your squat technique.

2. Don't be to either extreme with your elbow positioning on rows and presses.

3. Keep the shoulders closer to the knees on single-leg exercises.

4. Keep the hips closer to the bar on deadlifts.

5. Be consistent!

And, as a quick wrap-up, today is the last day to get the introductory discount on Mike Robertson's new Bulletproof Athlete product.  This is the premier strength and conditioning resource for beginners, so if you're just getting started with training or work with those who are, don't miss this great opportunity to pick up an awesome resource at an awesome price.

BPA Cover Photo

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!


13 Responses to “Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 49 (Beginner Coaching Cues Edition)”

  1. Ed Northcott Says:

    There’s some great ideas in here, but the deadlift cue makes no sense. Saying “keep the hips closer to the bar” doesn’t jive; the body proportions do not change, and those are the real limiters in how close the hips are going to get to the bar in most positions. I can’t see that doing anything but confusing clients.

    Worse, the only time the hips actually get closer to the bar is when they’re dropped really low and we get a closing of the angle between femur and shins. You can actually see the difference in the video above.

    I thought the point about body positioning in single leg exercises was excellent (unless one is working to try and deal with excessive tightness in the rectus femoris) — but the deadlifting cue strikes me as odd.

  2. teri Says:

    This was simply excellent. Thanks so much for a clear and concise presentation!! And thank you for the encouragement to “not give up” in the final video. We all need to hear that!

  3. Shane Says:

    Love the tip on rows and pushups. Thanks Greg!

  4. Mateo Says:

    Always informative posts, thanks for the exercise technique information. Question on the shoulder positioning though… Does the same hold true for leaning forward when you are doing weighted lunges with the barbell loaded across the back or in a front squat position?

  5. Aby Says:

    I am a bit confused with 2 of the vids.

    I thought for exercises like 1 Arm Row the finishing position needs to be 90 degrees from the elbow, since 45 degree tend to over use the bicep muscle?

    also for split squat aren’t athletes suppose to stay stay upright with shoulders blades retracted rather than a lean forward?

  6. ronell Says:


    Number 3 is going to do me a lot of good. Perfect.


  7. Nate Says:

    Hey, I love the tips.. i tried out the one about deadlifts and it helped so much. Thanks!

  8. Thomas Madden Says:

    Useful information delivered humbly…as always.

    Much love CP.


  9. robert Says:


    Mr.Cressey or Mr.Robbins, could you elaborate a little bit on video #2? According to a video I saw previously which I have posted in the link above, Kelley basically says that keeping the elbows in for a mid range press like the push-up is the safest universal loading mechanism for the elbows and shoulders and will translate directly to the bench press.

    Would you agree with that technique for more advanced lifters?

    Thanks guys

  10. Taif Says:

    Great tips as always guys. With regards to forward lean on single leg exercises such as the bulgarian split squat, will this not increase the sheer force experienced at the lower back due to the load moving further away from your centre of gravity?

  11. Ben Mackenzie Says:

    Love the tip on single leg exercises and forward lean. I’ve been preaching that for a minute. I’m also a little confused about the deadlift tip, though.

    I can understand how getting the hips closer to the bar (by going Sumo or something) would reduce the lever length of the torso, which I assume is what Greg is referring to when he talks about beginners understanding leverages, but the bit about dropping the hips too far doesn’t make sense to me.

    The lower the hips drop, the closer they get to the bar. The arc produced by knee and hip flexion takes them in that direction. You have to drop the hips in order to bring them closer to the bar. That’s, like, a requirement if the shoulder blades are going to remain directly over it. So my two-part question is this: since there’s no such thing as dropping the hips too low in terms of distance between hips and bar, is there really such a thing as bringing the hips too low? If so, what is the reason? Mechanical disadvantage in knee extension?

  12. Greg R. Says:

    With the deadlift tip: I should have been a bit more specific. Apologies, as I try to keep the videos short and to the point. We are talking about the hips being close to the bar horizontally. The closest would be with lots of knee extension (hips high). From there, it’s about a happy medium of not starting with the hips too high, and losing out on leg drive, and not starting with the hips too low and as Ben commented on, the knees position being sub optimal.

  13. Jeff Says:

    Hi Greg, can you tell me what is problematic about keeping elbows tucked for rowing and pushing?

    Thank you.

  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series