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There are certain types of exercises in the gym that will be downright harmful if you don’t know how to do them correctly. If you don’t have a personal trainer, don’t despair. You can always ask the friendliest looking instructor around for help, just remember how it’s done so you don’t have to ask every time you come round.
If you’re new to gym exercising, don’t just plop down on any machine start pulling or pushing. Chances are you will injure yourself and your dreams of having those Aniston-esque legs and copycat Michelle Obama arms will have to be shelved until you recover.
Sure, you have to take into account your starting fitness level, your goals, your health history and your time schedule when planning a serious gym training schedule. But when you get down on the floor for the dirty work, your mind should shift to keeping yourself safe and injury-free. Here are things you have to remember regarding several exercises that you will most likely be doing, in order to not only have a healthy body but a strong, uninjured one.
Lat pull-downs behind the head
While doing lat pull-downs, people are used to pulling the bar down behind the head. This is a very risky way of doing it and may lead to injury. In the olden days this was encouraged. Unless you already have very flexible shoulder joints, don’t attempt this because there is the high risk of hitting the back of your head and also over extending your shoulders.
To do the lat pull-downs safely, simply haul the bar downward in front of your face. Doing it this way ensures that there is no way you can hit the back of your head. In addition, pulling it down to the level of the collar bone ensures that your shoulder is not exposed to any chance of injury.
Press or squats with great knee bends
It might come as a surprise to you that bending your knees too much while doing leg squats is a very risky form of exercise. The reason behind this is that with excessive bending of the knees, the spine loses its straight alignment because of the tilting of the pelvis. This could result in the straining of the lower back muscles and this may damage the spinal discs. Overextending your knee will also damage the knee itself. The press and squats are good if they are done right and the right way is to make sure that your knees and hips do not bend over 90 degrees. The most extension that can be done is when the thigh and lower leg form a right angle with the ankle and knee forming a straight vertical line.
Seated leg extensions
People commonly use this exercise to try and put up the quadriceps. These are the muscles at the front of the thighs. This exercise leads to damaging the knee, since the resistance being focused on the ankles is too much for the knee to handle.
The development of this muscle is done safely using sports polymeric, lunges or ball squats.
Here is where you hold weights on each hand with hands close together, bringing them up to the level of your chin and down. This exercise poses a threat to the nerves around the shoulder region. The safer alternative is bending forward to 90 degrees with your chest on your thighs and then pulling up the weights until the shoulder and the elbow form a straight line.
The inner and outer thigh machine exercise
Here, you sit with your knees bent in front of you and the machines introduce resistance to target the inner and outer thighs. The problem is that generally hip problems develop after that or even lower back complications. The best alternatives for this include the standing and lying adduction and abduction exercises.