Avoid these Exercises

Six common exercises that will make you hurt for an uncommonly long time.

“No pain, no gain.” In most cases, the saying is true. But that’s not always the case in the weight room. In fact, some exercise-induced pain can put you on the injured list and the sidelines for a long time to come. So before you jump into the gym with a no-holds-bar attitude, remember which exercises to avoid.

#1: Behind-the-Head Military Press

It looks good when done properly, but rarely is. By doing this exercise with incorrect posture and technique, you run the risk of painful pinching and inflammation of the shoulder tendons. In rare cases, you may even suffer a tear in the rotator cuff. The same danger is present in other behind-the-head exercises, so be cautious any time you have weights in your hands and your hands are positioned behind your head.

2: Extended Bend Leg Presses

If done properly, there is nothing wrong with leg presses. The problem comes when you overzealously or ignorantly bend your legs too much. In order to get a good workout without causing damage to your back and knees, avoid bending your legs at the knee more than 90 degrees. If you have a hard time keeping your knees from slamming against your chest, reduce the weight your pushing until you have better control.

3: On Your Back

There are a number of exercises that require you to lie on your back with your feet in the air. Whether going head under heels until your feet touch the ground behind your head or pretending to ride a bicycle in the air with your back on the ground, be cautious before getting started. These exercises cause unnecessary strain on the neck’s nerves and ligaments and spine and can result in long-term, irreversible damage.

4: Upright Rowing

Like the behind-the-head military press, lifting weights (not curling, but pulling) toward your chin can cause shoulder impingement and other damage to nerves in the shoulder.

5: Sloppy Stair Steppers

After spending 30 minutes on the stair stepper or stationary bike, you may have the urge to lean on the machine’s handles. Don’t! Doing so may make you feel slightly relieved, but the benefits are only temporary. If you’re not careful, you could hurt your elbows, shoulders, and even spine. On top of that, your lack of posture prevents your body from the workout it deserves.

6: Overkill on Anything

Want to get great abs? Do work on the bench press. Want to sculpt your triceps? Do some squats. By putting all of your attention on a certain muscle, you run the risk of ignoring your other muscles and suffering future injury in these ignored muscles. There’s nothing wrong with targeting a muscle or muscle group for improvement. Just remember the rest of your body needs some attention also.

Too Much Weight Belt?

Growing up, you watched the heavy lifters wearing what appeared to be a professional wrestling belt. You knew when it was your time to hit the gym, you’d have one of those belts for yourself. And since the first day you started pumping iron, you’ve kept your trusty leather weight belt strapped firmly around your waist. Because while it may not look great, it keeps you safe, and safe is the best way to be. Right?

For the most part, yes. But there is something you should know about that sweat-stained weight belt: it may be keeping you from getting a full body workout. Yes, it keeps you from messing up your body, but if used in excess, it may also prevent your core muscles from having to work as hard as needed to keep them strong. But have no fear-you don’t have to toss your treasured belt in the trash. Just don’t use it unless you have a medical reason or you’re doing some exceptionally heavy lifting.

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