Nothing will derail your health & fitness goals quite as swiftly as a painful injury. Many of you know my nickname when I played college baseball was “ICE” because I was always injured and icing. I have learned quite a bit since my baseball days and have found a number of holistic models to reduce pain & inflammation and to speed up recovery time.
When I develop exercise programs for clients, you can rest assured that I am incorporating movements that will prevent injury, reduce pain, and speed up recovery by enhancing posture, balance, mobility, flexibility, stability, core strength, speed & power, overall strength & endurance, reaction time and more.
In order to stay pain-free and limber, beware of the following 4 exercises:
#1: The Slump Machine – One of the most common and easiest ways to get hurt at the gym is by using improper posture when on a treadmill, stationary bicycle, Stairmaster, and pretty much any other machine or body weight exercise (push-ups, pull-ups, plank, etc.).
In order to avoid injury, fight the urge to rest your forearms on the handlebars of the bicycle or let your head and shoulders slump below your hand grips on the Stairmaster. By doing this, your shoulders and back are constantly in harm’s way.
Posture is everything. The more you sit with poor posture all day long, the more likely you are to have pain soon after you begin your exercise program. If you exercise with a forward head and rounded shoulders, you will get stronger in a position of bad posture. And again, you will have pain…it is just a matter of time.
#2: The Fighting Bends – Whether stretching your body for prolonged periods of time or pulling weights down, time and again, another way to injure your body is by doing exercises that don’t feel good when you’re doing them.
Many exercises that are likely to cause harm involve pulling weights down behind your head like a lat pulldown. Exercises like these and others force your body to fight its natural range of motion and are a fantastic way to allow your body to suffer harm when harm could easily be avoided.
A good way to avoid pain if your posture is not the best is to avoid pressing movements like push-ups and bench press. In addition, avoid those exercises that bring your hands overhead (i.e. shoulder press).
#3: Twist, Shout, Scream – Here’s an exercise that potentially builds up a little flexibility, but offers a lot of potential for pain. Grab a broom handle or a barbell, toss it across your shoulders, and start twisting your body.
This aggressive twisting puts an enormous amount of stress on the lower back. There are plenty of safer ways to gain flexibility in your back, so avoid this technique at all costs.
#4: The Improperly Done Dead Lift – Used as the grand finale for many weight-lifting competitions, the dead lift is the last word when it comes to brute, unfettered strength. And when the inexperienced, unprofessional weight lifter tries to take on this impressive feat, the results can be disastrous.
On top of dropping incredible amounts of weight on your body, dead lifting also offers the opportunity to ruin your back by not lifting with your legs and rounding the spine during the movement.
Now that you know what exercises to avoid to escape unnecessary and potentially life-altering pain, what are you waiting for? Get out there and be safe!