Nothing will derail your fitness goals quite as swiftly as a painful injury.
In order to stay pain-free and limber, beware of the following 4 exercises:
#1: The Slump Machine - One of the most common and easiest ways to get hurt at the gym is by using improper posture when on a treadmill, stationary bicycle, Stairmaster, and pretty much any other machine.
In order to avoid injury, fight the urge to rest your forearms on the handlebars of the bicycle or let your head and shoulders slump below your hand grips on the Stairmaster. By doing this, your shoulders and back are constantly in harm's way.
#2: The Fighting Bends - Whether stretching your body for prolonged periods of time or pulling weights down time and again, another way to injure your body is by doing exercises that don't feel good when you're doing them.
Many exercises that are likely to cause harm involve pulling weights down behind your head. Exercises like these and others force your body to fight its natural range of motion and are a fantastic way to allow your body to suffer harm when harm could easily be avoided.
#3: Twist, Shout, Scream - Here's an exercise that potentially builds up a little flexibility but that offers a lot of potential for pain. Grab a broom handle or a barbell, toss it across your shoulders, and start twisting your body.
This aggressive twisting puts an enormous amount of stress on the lower back. There are plenty of safer ways to gain flexibility in your back, so avoid this technique at all costs.
#4: The Improperly Done Dead Lift - Used as the grand finale for many weight-lifting competitions, the dead lift is the last word when it comes to brute, unfettered strength. And when the inexperienced, unprofessional weight lifter tries to take on this impressive feat, the results can be disastrous.
On top of dropping incredible amounts of weight on your body, dead lifting also offers the opportunity to ruin your back by not lifting with your legs.
Now that you know what exercises to avoid to escape unnecessary and potentially life-altering pain, what are you waiting for? Get out there and be safe!
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Safety First In addition to avoiding a handful of dangerous exercises, you should keep a few rules of thumb in mind no matter what you find yourself doing in the midst of your routine.
Rule of Thumb 1: Technique is everything. Using poor technique with any exercise is one of the fastest ways to wind up with bad pain. In addition to helping you avoid injury, proper technique also helps you make sure you're working out the muscles you're trying to work out.
Rule of Thumb 2: Burnout hurts. When your body says you can't go any farther, it may be a good idea to listen. Some of the most common injuries at the gym are overuse injuries. So don't be afraid to give your body a break. You can also reduce your likelihood of overuse injuries by keeping plenty of variety in your regiment.
Rule of Thumb 3: Get a partner or work with a trainer. It's not easy to find someone to get in the weight room with you at 5 a.m. However, having someone alongside of you will help you avoid injury by spotting you when you get in a bad situation and helping you practice proper form throughout your routine.
Owner and Lead Personal Trainer at Perfect Fit Wellness Center.