Potentially Dangerous Gym Exercises

When you hit the gym you want to get fit – not carried out on a gurney. Research has shown that these exercises all have the potential to injure you if they’re not performed correctly. If you are doing any of these exercises at your gym, we would advise you to ask a fitness trainer to make sure that you’re doing them safely.

Here are the exercises to take extra care with and other ways of attaining the same results.

Back Arches

This is one of the many exercises that requires you to hyperextend your lower back. This can put an enormous strain on that area. If you perform it in a bouncing style, you’re at even more risk of injuring yourself.

Safer Alternative: A gentle extension of the lower back is important when exercising. However, stretching and gaining strength needs to be done in a slow, controlled way.

Straight Leg Sit Ups

This exercise carries several risk factors.

By keeping your legs straight, you’re using your abdominals but you’re using your hip flexors more. When your hip flexors contract they can make your lower back hyperextend and make your pelvis tilt forward. So the result is that your abdominals stay relatively weak but your hip flexors are strengthened. This exercise also puts your lower back under too much pressure.

Safer Alternative: Try curl ups instead. These are performed as a partial sit up with your knees bent. This gives your abdominals a safe and effective workout. Having strong abdominals can decrease low back pain.

Straight Leg Toe Touch while Standing

As a general rule, it’s safer to avoid exercises that keep you bending forward while standing. Toe touching is to achieve a stretch in the hamstrings. However, it’s not only relatively ineffective – it also places an unnecessary and potentially dangerous strain on your back as well as your lower back muscles.

Safer Alternative: For a more effective hamstring stretch, lie on your back and raise one leg up, keeping it straight. Put your hands around your raised leg and pull it gently towards your chest. Make sure that you keep that leg as straight as possible to get the most benefit.

Rolling Circles with your head

When you roll your head around in circles you are putting unnecessary stress onto your neck. This is especially true if you’re doing it quickly. Hyper extending your neck can compress the nerve roots in your neck. They’re even more risky if you have degenerative disk disease and should be avoided altogether.

Safer Alternative: If you want to roll your head to make you neck feel looser, make sure you do it slowly and in a controlled way.

Stretching like a Hurdler

In this exercise, you sit on the floor with your legs apart and one leg tucked behind you, facing outward. You then reach forward to touch the toe of the straight leg. This puts the ligaments in the knee joint of your bent leg under too much stress.

Safer Alternative: It would be safer to do this exercise on a bench. This would ensure that the leg you are not stretching stays in a comfortable position. When you bend forward, bend from your lower back (not your mid back) and this will give a more beneficial stretch.

Full Squat or Duck Walk

This exercise is ineffective, so not only will you get no benefit from it – you may injure yourself in the process. This is because it puts huge pressure on your knees. It also makes the ligaments and cartilage of your knee very vulnerable.

Safer Alternative: Perform partial squats instead. These will give you the muscle stretch that you want without stressing the ligaments and cartilage in your knees.

Stay Safe

If you make sure that you’re performing exercises correctly you are much more likely to avoid injury. Start slowly and don’t be in a hurry to go up a level too fast. Also, choose exercises that are appropriate for your current level of fitness. It’s better to cautious than to injure yourself and put yourself out of action for weeks or months.

Get With the Program

Most gyms offer the facility of working with an Instructor who will build your own personal program for you. The Instructor will help you to choose exercises that are appropriate for your age and the level of fitness that you are starting out with.

One of the main benefits is that they will see you perform exercises and will be there to correct you if you’re not doing it safely. Getting an individualized exercise program built is an investment to ensure you get the maximum benefit – safely.

Source: SportMedBC

Exercise Equipment to Keep You Fit and Healthy

If you’d prefer to exercise at home, here are some easily affordable items to keep you in trim without blowing your budget. We also tell you how much room you’ll need.

  1. Cardio Training

This can be anything that lets you exercise continuously and safely for at least 20 minutes. You’re aiming to get your heart rate up.

What it can do: help your heart, condition your body, help tone muscle and help with weight loss.

$100 and under: A jump rope, a stepping machine, a step-block, DVDs with aerobic exercise workouts, cable TV exercise channels. (You’ll need about 10 square feet to use these)

  1. Strength Training

This will increase your overall strength.

What it can do: strengthen muscles, give you definition, help with weight loss, lower your risk of osteoporosis.

$100 and under: Hand weights (free weights), a bench that’s lower at one end, strength bands.

(Allow 20 to 30 square feet).

  1. Balance

These pieces of equipment will require that you hold your balance while you’re doing other exercises such as lifting weights or performing crunches.

What it can do: Improve your balance, make your core muscles stronger, improve your posture and improve stamina.

Under $30: stability balls (make sure they’re Non-burst-resistant), balance dome or disc pillows.

$50-$150: stability balls (make sure they’re Non-burst-resistant), foam exercise pad, wobble boards.

(Foam pads are generally around 5 feet x 3 feet.  Wobble boards need about 20 square feet of space).

  1. Flexibility Training

This is to help you make your muscles more flexible which will improve all areas of exercise.

What it can do: Improve muscle tone, improve your overall fitness and help to lower your risk of injury when doing any exercises.

$50 and under: a slant board, stretching bands, foam rollers.

(10 to 20 square feet).

$200 and over: A pilates machine or stretch machine. (35 to 50 square feet).

Check out Amazon’s range of home exercise equipment.

  1. Guidance

We know that this isn’t equipment but it’s a very good place to start. You need proper instructions, whether you get them from a personal trainer or simply buy a DVD.

What it can do: Lower your risk of getting injured, increase the benefits of your workout and get you the best results – safely.

$50 an hour and under: Go to your nearest gym and ask about the prices for working out with a trainer. It’s worth it, even if you just do one session to get a safe exercise regime worked out.

$100 per hour and up: If you really want to avoid the gym and workout at home, get a personal trainer in for an hour to make sure you’re exercising correctly and safely.                                                Image Credit: entrenar.me

You can find your nearest personal trainer from this directory.

Source: webmd