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This Month In Body
  • Not Worth the Risk
    While many mistakes don’t have lasting consequences, some do. Especially in the gym. Next time you’re at the gym, proceed with caution before you try any of the following exercises. They may not be worth the risk. Read >>
  • Stick to It
    When you feel like quitting, sleeping in, or cancelling your personal trainer, think twice. Because no matter what you may think in the moment, your health is worth more than whatever temptation you’re facing. Read >>
  • Be Kind to Your Joints
    If you’ve got weak or painful joints, it’s best to avoid high-impact exercises that place extra pressure or strain on your joints. But don’t give up on exercise. Practice joint-friendly, low-impact activities, such as these. Read >>
  • Make Exercise Fun Again
    Wish you enjoyed working out more than you do? You can. Here are five things to add to your routine to keep you coming back to exercise day after day. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Not Worth the Risk

Avoid these six risky exercises.

Everyone makes mistakes and many of them are due to ignorance. You didn’t know any better, so you goofed up. While many mistakes don’t have lasting consequences, some do. Especially in the gym.

Exercise is good for you, there’s no doubt about it. But some exercises come with a greater risk of injury than others. Avoiding the risky ones helps you stay on the road to a great body and optimal health.
Next time you’re at the gym, proceed with caution before you try any of the following exercises. They may not be worth the risk.

Lat Pull-Downs

If done correctly, lat pull-downs are a safe and effective way to build your lats and strengthen your arms and back. But some people don’t use proper technique. They don’t pull the bar straight down in front of their body. They pull the bar down behind their head. Though it may look like a way to work different muscles, it puts stress on the shoulders. So much stress that it may result in a rotator cuff tear or shoulder impingement. Also, pulling the bar down behind your head increases the chance the bar may hit and injure your neck or vertebrae.

Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift is another highly effective exercise to strengthen your back and hips. It’s also one of the riskiest for your back if not done with proper form. Most poor form results when people round their backs while raising and lowering the bar. Don’t do this! Keep your back straight and bend and lift with the legs. Have your trainer observe you. If you can’t manage proper form, lower the weight you’re lifting or skip this exercise altogether.

Leg Press

As you press a weighted plate with your feet, the leg press works your hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. Do it right and there’s nothing but benefit. The danger comes when you allow your legs to bend too far, placing excess pressure on the knees and requiring extra effort to straighten again. When performing leg presses, stop if you experience any pain. Before you get to that point, use proper form. To avoid potential knee or back injury with a leg press, all you have to do is prevent your legs from bending at too tight an angle. Too tempted to bend deeply? Leave the leg press alone and stick with a traditional squat.

Bicycle Crunch

It looks harmless, but many have learned that looks aren’t everything. With bicycle crunches, your neck and back can suffer long after your workout is complete. This twisting crunch increases your risk of muscle spasms, herniated discs, and neck injuries. If you like the bicycle crunch, you don’t have to give it up altogether. Just take your time and do the movements at a slow, deliberate pace. You may even find you get a more intense workout that way.

Kettlebell Swing

It’s great for strengthening the lower body, but again, if done the wrong way, the kettlebell swing can lead to injury. Unlike what many think, the power to swing the kettlebell should come from the glutes and hamstrings—not your arms. Lowering too far into a squat or using your shoulders to power a swing can be bad news. Common kettle-related injuries including shoulder inflammation and rotator cuff pains.

Bent Over Row

Bent over rows are a go-to exercise for a stronger back and shoulders. As with other exercises, you’ve got to use proper form to get the benefit. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for injury. Not using proper posture, lifting too much weight, only pulling with your arms, and not keeping your neck in a neutral position all put you at risk for a pinched nerve or other back injury. You may be safer doing rows by lying facedown on a bench or exercise ball.

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