You'd be amazed by the number of exercises that can lead to serious injuries if they're not done properly. And no, I'm not talking about Olympic weightlifting or CrossFit kipping--I'm talking simple, everyday exercises that you do at the gym.
Here are some exercises that you're better off skipping--they do more harm than good in most cases:
The exercise itself is actually one of the best for your lower body, but the way you do them makes them dangerous. When you squat too deeply, bend forward and extend your knees over your toes, you're risking your lower back and knees. If you're going to do them, learn the proper form before you start adding weight.
Yet another leg exercise that increases your risk of knee, hip and lower back injury. If your knee extends over your toe, you bend forward and you do it too quickly, you're risking serious pain. Once again, learn the form or ditch the exercise.
3. Thigh Abduction and Adduction
You know that machine that splits your legs wide open? The one where you either press your legs together or spread them apart? Both of these movements involve hip muscles that are meant to be stabilizers, not prime movers. These exercises can place a strain on your hips and lower back.
Oddly enough, the most famous stomach exercise can lead to injuries--plus it's one of the least effective movements out there. Your hands behind your head can actually strain your neck if you pull too hard.
5. Leg Extensions
The movement of this exercise is fairly unnatural, and it isolates the quads in a strange way. The pressure placed on your knees is immense, and you'll find that injuries are all but guaranteed with this workout.
6. Upright Row
While this is a great chest/shoulder exercise, the risk of injury is very high. Ideally, you should only raise the weight to the level of your nipples (men and women). Any higher, and you risk shoulder impingement--a painful, nagging injury that will stop you from moving your shoulder.
7. Jump Squat
Unless you're a serious heavyweight in the gym, this is a workout that will lead to injuries. Too many joints are involved, too much power is required, and there is too great a risk of injury if the barbell shifts even slightly.
8. Behind Neck Lat Pulldown
The Wide Grip Pulldown is amazing for your lats, but don't be tempted to pull the bar behind your neck. You need total control in order to do it safely, and even slightly improper posture could lead to shoulder impingement.
9. Behind Neck Shoulder Press
Pretty much any movement that requires you raising the barbell overhead can lead to injuries, as it's hard to maintain proper form. However, with this movement, you need both flexibility and strength. It's a very dangerous one that you have to execute perfectly, and even the slightest strain can lead to serious injury.
These exercises are all excellent if they're done just right, but some are just too dangerous for newbies to try to execute without the help of a trainer. If you don't have a trainer to help you, it's time to find safer exercises.
Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.