For a well-toned body, regular and consistent exercise is important. Many of us do exercises that focus on specific muscle groups in the body. However, not doing them properly or overdoing them can cause more problems than you’d like.
Some exercises affect the body posture, and may cause injury to your joints as well. Some may, in fact, aggravate the pain your joints are already suffering from due to an underlying illness.1
When you do not practice the right movements and control breath patterns while performing an exercise, you might not gain maximum benefit from these exercises.
Let’s take a look at five exercise moves that are not as beneficial as we may have been led to believe.
1. Crunches May Not Help The Abs At All
Crunches are a common exercise routine, known to strengthen your abdominal or ab muscles. But, crunches may not be targeting the ab muscles at all! The reality is that you may be putting more pressure on the upper torso and not on the actual abdominal core muscles while performing crunches. This movement causes you to strain your back and may result in an injury, if you are not careful. So, if you are looking at strengthening your core, then go for planks and side planks instead.2
2. Twisted Sit-Ups Can Injure The Spine
Sit-ups are a form of endurance training exercise practised to strengthen and tone the abdomen muscles. Twisted sit-ups adds the twisted rotation of the abdominal muscles to the traditional sit-up exercise.
Unfortunately, sit-ups may be dangerous to the spine, experts say. As the hip area goes through a rotational twist when the abdominal muscles get tugged, the spine might undergo stress. This can lead to pain in the lower back. Again, planks can be more beneficial than twisted sit-ups .3
3. Shrugs With Shoulder Roll Can Weaken Your Back
You do shrugs to build up the upper torso using resistance like weights. The aim is to keep your shoulders up against the resistance. In reality, when you roll the shoulder forward while the resistance is being pushed down, you are not resisting the weight. Instead, you are pushing your torso down towards the resistance. This can cause serious harm to the strength of your back. If you still prefer doing shrugs, go for a backwards roll movement of the shoulder instead.4
4. Barbell Presses Can Cause A Sprain
You can perform a behind the neck press with a barbell for toning up your arms and for a firm upper chest. The bad news is that when you lift a heavier weight, or when you do not maintain a good grip of the barbell, your arms may suffer serious muscle sprain or even get fractured. If you experience pain in your shoulders or feel resistance in the muscles while lifting the barbell, then there is a high chance that those weights are not ideal for you. Not to mention, there is also the risk of dropping the weights down. A simple exercise for a firm upper torso can be a workout with a back towel or just a scrub routine for the floor in your house.5
5. Hanging Leg Raises Contribute To Back Pain
It is really shocking to know that a hanging leg raise doesn’t work on the abdominal muscles as expected. When you raise up your legs past 90 degrees, your lower back starts to arch upwards. When you remain in this position for longer than required, your lower back will undergo sprain and injury. Hence, this is identified as one of the worst exercises that can cause lower back discomfort. Proper sit-up routines can be more beneficial than hanging leg raise movements.6
Which of these exercises have you been doing wrong all this while? If you do experience pain and injury at the gym, it is best to delve deep into the problem and see a physiotherapist if necessary.
|↑1||Morter, M.T. “Your Health… Your Choice.” Frederick Fell Publishers, 2009.|
|↑2||Bornstein, Adam. “The Women’s Health Big Book of Abs: Sculpt a Lean, Sexy Stomach and Your Hottest Body Ever–in Four Weeks!.” Rodale, 2012.|
|↑3||Are Sit Ups Bad for You? The U.S. Military Seems to Think So. International Sports Sciences Association.|
|↑4||Knopf, Karl. “Healthy Shoulder Handbook: 100 Exercises for Treating and Preventing Frozen Shoulder, Rotator Cuff and other Common Injuries.” Ulysses Press, 2010.|
|↑5||Demirakos, George. “Fix My Shoulder: A Guide to Preventing and Healing from Injury and Strain.” Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.|
|↑6||Schuler, Lou and King, Ian. “Men’s Health The Book of Muscle: The World’s Most Authoritative Guide to Building Your Body.” Rodale, 2003.|