Why is it that once you get into a workout groove, you often plateau in certain areas of your body. Suddenly muscle isn’t growing as quickly as it used to—regardless of how many reps you do or protein shakes you down?

Oftentimes, the answer is that most people move weights instead of training their muscles. Yes, they do the exercises, often with a good amount of weight on the bar, but the actual work is done by joints, ligaments, inertia—in short, everything but the target muscle.

 As an extreme example you can look at the guy who seems to be entering the “how low can I go contest” when curling a barbell. He might be curling 60lbs, but his biceps only move around 30lbs, whereas his elbows get hit with 100-plus-lbs. Result: blown out elbow and no growth.
1. Back

When doing any type of pull, always pull from the elbows, not wrist. This will ensure you are using the lats first, biceps second. Try having a light grip; do not make the exercise into a heavy biceps curl.

2. Chest

Two things matter most when pressing: 1) You must have an inward intention, which means that you should not push the bar straight up. Try to bend it together. 2) Try to imagine that you’re pushing yourself into the bench and the weight goes up as a result of it. Both of these pointers will help you avoid shoulders recruitment.

3. Shoulders

When doing overhead presses, always intend to bring the elbows together. When working on your medial or posterior delts, you should have the elbows lead the motion, not the hands. This will minimize trap involvement.

4. Biceps

When curling, keep your wrist neutral and wrap the thumb under the bar. Second, try to snap the bar in half when using a barbell.

5. Triceps

Put the elbow slightly behind the body to ensure a maximum stretch.

6. Quads

When squatting/legs pressing, push from the heel, not the front of your foot. Also, imagine you’re pushing the floor away when squatting or using the legs press.

7. Hamstring

Push your hips downward when doing hamstring curls. If you’re using the legs press for single-leg press, have a downward intention as if trying to slide the heel off the machine to ensure maximum hamstring engagement.

8. Calves

Do not change the angle in your knees during calves raises, otherwise they become mini squats.