Physical training is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy, powerful, injury-free body.
Whether you’re a parent looking to lose fat or an teenager wanting to get better at sports, training is something that can only benefit you and get you closer to achieving your goals.
But it’s important to remember that there are certain exercises, although beneficial, can easily injure most of us.
These exercises aren’t bad per-se, but are simply much riskier than other exercises for a number of reasons. To get as much bang for your buck and minimize your risk of getting hurt, you should probably avoid these exercises and stick with safer alternatives.
Here are 3 exercises you should avoid:
#1 – The Overhead Press
The overhead press is an awesome exercise that develops the strength to push vertically. It targets the triceps, front delts, upper traps, and upper pecs. If done standing, it also hevaily involves the core muscles.
Unfortunately, most people have a host of flexibility issues and weaknesses that make overhead pressing safely impossible.
Getting the arms completely overhead is commonly painful for some folks, and adding weight to it makes it painful for many others.
While it is important to have your body assessed and corrected by a professional so that can eventually do this movement again without pain, you might as well avoid it in the meantime.
Bench presses, incline presses, and push-ups develop similar muscle groups and movement patterns and are usually much safer for people.
#2 – The Sit-Up
Sit-ups are the hallmark core exercise. When people think of abs, they they think of sit-ups.
And they do indeed strengthen and develop the abs. But they’re usually done incorrectly.
The way a sit-up should be performed is as follows:
1. Lying with your back on the ground, your legs bent, and your feet anchored.
2. Bending at the hips and raising your torso closer to your thighs, and then lower it back down.
3. Maintaining an almost-neutral spine during the entire movement.
Most people get points 1 and 2 correctly, but not number 3. They will usually flex at the spine instead of at the hips.
This is incredibly stressful for your back, and can cause or further aggravate spinal injuries.
Planks, bird-dogs, dead-bugs, and ab wheel rollouts are all effective core exercises that are less likely to flex (and damage) your spine.
#3 – Running
Running is the most popular cardio exercise in America. It develops lower body muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance and mental grit.
Unfortunately, most people run in a manner that is excessively stressful on the lower body.
The body was designed to absorb the impact of running using the foot, ankle, and calf.
Our calves act as shock-absorbers, cushioning the blow of each stride. And the way to properly use our calves as such is to run with a toe-strike: initially making contact with the ground using the ball of the foot, then letting the rest of the foot come down and gently touch the ground.
This action “winds up” the calves with load, which is then “released” when the leg takes off again.
The way that most people run is with a heel-strike: the heel of the foot pounds into the ground, (sending a shockwave up through the bones and joints of the lower body), and then the rest of the foot makes contact in a “rolling” motion.
This type of horrible running technique is only exacerbated with “cushy” running shoes.
Because this is the only way most people know how to run, most of us are all better off using lower impact forms of cardio until better running habits are learned. These include cycling, battle ropes, bodyweight circuits, and prowler/sled drags.
If you care about your body composition or performance, physical training is a must.
But you must take care and not injure yourself in the process, or else you’ll only waste your time and never achieve your goals.
Push yourself, but be smart about it and avoid unnecessary risks.
If you’re a young athlete looking to get better at your sport, we’ve got a training program for you that can help provide the base to improve from! For more information and to get a free assessment, click the banner below!