Are you using potentially dangerous exercises in your workout? You have to be very careful with strength training equipment because it may not be the most effective or functional available. How do you know that the exercises you are performing are safe? Found below are some potentially dangerous exercises with suggestions on how they should be done correctly or avoided completely.
Traditional abdominal exercises such as the sit-up, incline sit-up and hip-raises are exercises that are used to train the obliques and the upper and lower abdominals.
They are performed by first anchoring the feet on an abdominal board which prevents you from sliding back then raising your shoulders up towards your feet, tensing your abs at the top of the movement. Slowly lowering your shoulders back down and then completing the movement again.
The dangers of performing this movement are the shearing forces on the vertebrae and spinal discs when you have a flexed and rounded spine. In this position, the pressure is mostly placed on a very small area of the disc area, which can cause small ruptures. The safest and most productive way to train the abs is to use the brace and hollow technique. This is a basic isometric exercise that helps strengthen the abs and the muscular girdle around your waist.
The pec deck is an exercise that trains the chest (pectorals) and shoulder (front deltoid) muscles.
This exercise is performed by sitting at the machine with your back flat against the back pad. Placing your forearms on the padded levers and position your upper arms parallel to the ground. Pushing the levers slowly together and squeezing your chest muscles at the end of the movement. Return slowly to the starting position.
This exercise is potentially dangerous because it places the shoulder into one of its least stable positions, the dislocation position. Because of the extreme position when performing this exercise at the starting position it can also cause tearing of the ligaments and injury to the rotar cuff tendons.
More effective and less dangerous is the bench press, keeping the arms at shoulder width and exercising in the strongest range of motion (partial reps) and the parallel bar dip with the elbows out.
Behind the neck Press
This exercise trains the neck (traps) and shoulder (deltoid) muscles and is performed by placing a loaded barbell onto your upper back just above the trap muscle.
This exercise is done by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart. Placing your hands on the bar about three inches wider than the width of your shoulders. Pushing the bar overhead to arm's length, holding and then slowly lowering back down to your shoulders. This exercise can also be done seated. Try performing it in a smith machine or power rack for added safety.
This is an exercise that places the shoulder joint into the dislocation position and the range of motion puts unnecessary stress on the rotator cuff tendons of the shoulders.
Many trainees may experience injuries from this behind-the-neck movement. As with before stick with dips and bench presses for your shoulder work.
The dead lift is a compound movement that works the hips, lower back and also exercises the hamstrings and glutes (buttocks).
You can perform the dead lift by approaching a loaded barbell and taking a stance about as wide as your shoulders. Grip the bar so that the arms are slightly on the outside of your thighs. Your feet should be pointing straight forward with the shins about two to three inches from the bar.
Heave the load upward using the hips and lower back keeping the back straight and the bar as close to the shins as possible. At the top of the movement hold for a few seconds and then lower the bar to the starting position.
The exercise has a knock-on growth effect on the whole body when worked hard. The problem with the lift is that if the spine becomes rounded during the lift it then becomes dangerous. Because of the forces working on the vertebrae and the spine injuries may occur.
A lot of these problems can be solved by keeping the back as straight as possible during the lift and keeping the bar held close to the body during the lift as the forces are then not that excessive.
Leg extensions are arguably one of the most popular leg exercises for strengthening the quadriceps (thigh) muscle.
These are done by using a leg extension machine and sitting in the seat with your feet hooked under the padded lever. Raise the weight with your legs until they are pointing straight out in front of you. Hold briefly, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
Leg extensions are a potentially dangerous exercise because when only the shin is in motion, the exercise draws the patella back onto the femur increasing joint compression forces, which can damage the connective tissue and the ligaments supporting the knee joint. It can also cause anterior knee pain so people with existing knee problems may aggravate them by doing this exercise.
For greater safety and equal effectiveness, try doing the Squat, Leg Press, and Lunge for safer and more functional use.
Written By: Gary Matthews
Author of several ebooks, including:
"Maximum Weight Loss in Ten Weeks"
"Maximum Weight Gain in Ten Weeks"
Complete Guide to
Squats or Leg Presses
The Safe Squat