It’s important to remember that the purpose of exercise is to get fitter and feel better. Exercising will usually cause some muscle soreness, but it should never hurt. Pain is often an indicator of injury. While exercising will always entail some risk of injury, some exercises may present a higher risk than you’re prepared to deal with. When planning your fitness regimen, you should choose exercises that you know you can execute successfully. Here are some exercises that can do more harm than good if you’re not careful.
Lateral pull downs are performed seated on a bench with a bar tied to a weighted pulley. Many people perform lateral pull downs by pulling the bar down behind their head. This is a risky maneuver, however, as it leaves the back of your head and neck vulnerable to a lot of weight. Furthermore, if your shoulders aren’t strong enough, you face a high risk of shoulder impingement. Instead of doing a lateral pull down behind the head, consider pulling the bar down to your breastbone. Using a narrower grip also decreases the risk of impingement. In general, if you have weak shoulders, isolated shoulder exercises can do more harm than good. Instead, you should do exercises that work the shoulders in tandem with other muscles.
Upright rows also carry the risk of shoulder impingement, and can compress the nerves in this region. Bent over rows are safer because they don’t isolate the shoulder, but also work your back muscles and biceps. Bent over rows are performed by bending forward at the waist and holding weights straight downward. You then raise your arms parallel to your torso, slowly lower them again, and repeat.
The lying leg press is another example of an exercise that can do more harm than good. Lying leg presses can injure your spine if your knees buckle. Additionally, this exercise is often performed with heavy weights because it works your large thigh muscles. As such, it can place a harmful amount of strain on your back, spine, and knees. Squats or lunges are safer and can be performed without weights. Even cardio machines can do more harm than good if used improperly and with consideration for your abilities. You should avoid using a treadmill at a steeper incline than you can manage. You should also remember to use proper form. For example, you should not grip the handrails of the treadmill the entire time when running at a relatively fast pace.