Are you practicing safe sets? When done correctly, exercise has the power to positively transform the mind and body. But it only takes a single slipup in form, some false fitness advice, or machine misuse to cause serious, long-term injury.
Hauling and heaving heavy weights requires skill and precision. And too often we get our conditioning cues from watching others at the gym, or from following quick-fix social-media stars who received their education from YouTube University.
Stay safe and grow strong by eliminating the following dated, dangerous exercises from your workout. “No pain, no gain” is not a mantra that helps make and mold muscles.
Posterior lat pull-down. For exercise to be safe and effective, our form must be perfect. Which is why the behind-the-head lat pull-down should be removed from your routine immediately.
To perform this moronic move, you must stress, strain and crane your neck forward in an unnatural position to bring a wobbly, weighted bar behind your head and lower it dangerously close to your vertebrae. It should come as no surprise that many exercisers unintentionally nail their neck with each risky repetition. The behind-the-head lat pull-down also places unnecessary force on the fragile rotator cuff.
Replace this menacing movement with an anterior pull-down. Here’s how:
Seated leg extension. This popular piece of equipment is designed to isolate the quadriceps muscle located in the front of the thigh. While the machine is adequate at working the quad, it places stress on the knee joint to do so.
Not only is this exercise damaging, it’s not functional. When is the last time you sat in a chair, straightened your legs and lifted a massive load? I’ll wager close to never.
When forming your fitness routine, it’s best to use exercises that will improve your body’s ability to function in everyday activities. Buff up your quads, glutes, hamstrings and core muscles by trying a walking weighted lunge instead:
Crunches. The tummy is a trouble zone we all strive to shrink. And while cranking out hundreds of crunches seems to be the obvious answer to revealing a six-pack, this exercise is doing more harm than good.
There is a series of unsafe scenarios that can occur when people do crunches. One common concern is that most people pull from the neck and head rather than using their abdominal muscles to lift the body. This places tension on the cervical section of the spine. It’s also a one-dimensional exercise that does very little to boost overall strength and stability.
Substitute boring crunches with this powerful plank: