You Should NEVER Do These Exercises Again!
By Kristen DeGennaro and Khristine Clark Hammond, MS CSCS
Getting started on an exercise program can be a challenge for anyone. But, in some cases, it’s the overly motivated “fitness fanatic” to be wary of. That’s because many gym-goers don’t always take the time to fully evaluate their fitness routine to ensure that they remain healthy and safe.
Some exercises don’t do that much for you—and some can be downright dangerous. But the fact is that any exercise has the potential to do harm to your body. That’s why it is always important to check with your physician before starting any new exercise; to understand why you are performing a specific exercise, to know if a particular exercise is working what you intend to work, and finally to have proper form when executing the exercise. Here are a few of the exercises you should ditch from your workout routine:
- Any exercise performed with bad form should be modified or removed from your exercise routine. Two excellent multi-jointed exercises that are commonly performed incorrectly are the squat and the lunge. Both are great exercises for strengthening the lower body when performed correctly. However, poor form with either of these exercises leaves you at risk for knee or low back injuries. The most common mistake people make when performing these exercises is to allow their knee(s) to go past the ankle or toe when at the bottom of the exercise. The knees should always stay slightly behind the toes and if possible, aligned with the ankles.
Another error people frequently execute with both of these exercises is to arch or round their backs while performing the exercise. It is important to keep a straight line from your head to your tailbone when performing a squat or lunge.
If an individual cannot master proper form with these exercises, it is my recommendation that they find an alternative exercise. For example, a leg press where you have your feet positioned a little higher on the plate to ensure that your knees are tracking in a safe position.
- Sit-ups/Crunches. These two exercises have been staples in group fitness classes for years, but what you need to be aware of is both exercises put your spine in extreme flexion, especially when your lower back does not stay flat on the ground. This repetitive flexion puts a lot of pressure on the intervertebral discs. Over time this could lead to low back pain, but more specifically to herniated or bulging discs.
A few alternative “core” exercises would be the front plank, side plank, stability ball plank, and the bridge. All of these exercises will build strength not just in your abs, but your entire “core” which includes your back. Again, be sure these exercises are performed with proper form or you will be at risk for injuries.
- Bench Tricep Dips- This is the exercise where you place your hands on the end of a bench or the edge of a chair with your fingers pointed forward. You then bend your elbows and allow your body to lower toward the floor. To finish the exercise, you extend or straighten your arms to the starting position.
This exercise puts a lot of stress on the shoulder joint and the wrists. Over time, the shoulder could become inflamed or the rotator cuff could become impinged.
An alternative to the bench dip, would be the cable column triceps press down. With proper form, this exercise should not cause any pain with the shoulder or wrist joints.