No Pain, All Gain: Exercises For Avoiding Injury
Exercises For a Pain-free Workout
You know that exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but did you know that some exercises can cause injuries? It's important to be mindful of the exercises you choose in order to avoid getting hurt. Here are four common areas of injury and some exercises to avoid when working them. As always seek help from a physician if you are experiencing pain, this is meant as a guide to bring awareness of common exercises that can worsen pain, but it cannot replace the advice of your doctor.
Keep Your Shoulders Safe
Behind-the-Neck Lat Pulldowns can be risky for your shoulders and neck if not done correctly. The risk of injury increases when you use too much weight or have poor form. Instead, try doing lat pulldowns to the front to target the same muscles.
Lateral Raises are another popular exercise for building shoulder muscles, but they can also put a strain on the shoulder joints. This exercise requires you to lift weights out to the side, which can cause pain and discomfort if you have a shoulder injury. Instead, focus on exercises that work your shoulder muscles without putting pressure on the joint, such as cable crossovers.
Any Overhead Movement in Strength Training, such as overhead press or snatch, can put a lot of stress on your shoulders, leading to further injury or pain. Instead, focus on exercises that work the same muscles without putting too much strain on your shoulders.
Protect Your Knees
Box Jumps are a popular plyometric exercise that helps improve power and explosiveness, but they can be dangerous if you're not careful. The risk of injury increases when you jump too high, land incorrectly, or use a box that's too high. To reduce the risk of injury, start with a lower box, focus on your landing form, and try doing step-ups or jump squats instead.
Leg Extension Machines are excellent for building leg strength, but they can be harmful to your knees, especially if you're not using proper form. This exercise puts a lot of stress on your knees, leading to further injury or pain. Instead, try modified versions of this exercise or switch to other exercises that work the same muscles without putting too much strain on your knees.
Support Your Back
Weightlifting can be a fantastic way to build muscle and increase strength, but it can also put a strain on your back. If you have a bad back, you should avoid exercises that require heavy lifting, such as deadlifts and squats. These exercises put pressure on your lower back, which can cause further pain and even injury. Instead, opt for exercises that focus on building strength without heavy lifting, such as bodyweight exercises or resistance band training.
Yoga Poses That Involve Twisting can be a great way to stretch and strengthen your body. However, poses like the seated twist or spinal twist can put a lot of strain on your spine and exacerbate back pain. Instead, consider poses like child's pose, downward dog, or cat-cow, which can be just as effective for stretching without the twisting motion. Also look out for exercises that involve twisting or rotating your spine, such as Russian twists or wood chops. Instead, try exercises that engage your core without twisting, examples of these are side planks or bird-dogs.
Sit-ups and Crunches are common exercises for building abdominal muscles, but they also put a lot of pressure on your lower back. The repetitive motion of lifting your upper body can cause strain on your spine and lead to back pain. Instead of sit-ups and crunches, try exercises that engage your core without putting pressure on your back, such as planks, side planks, and bird-dogs.
Careful Throwing Elbows
Push-ups and Dips work well for building upper body strength, but they can be harmful to your elbows, especially if you're not using the proper form. These exercises put a lot of stress on your elbows, wrists, and shoulders, and are easily done incorrectly. Try modified versions of these exercises instead or switch to other exercises that work the same muscles without putting too much strain on your elbows.
Tennis and Golf can be detrimental to your elbows, especially if you already have an injury. The repetitive motions of swinging a racket or club can cause a condition known as tennis elbow, which is an inflammation of the tendons in the elbow. Avoid these and try low-impact sports such as swimming or walking to avoid aggravating an existing injury.
You know your body best, but hopefully this gives you something to think about when assessing your workout routine. By making a few simple changes to your regular routine, you can still reach your fitness goals while avoiding pain and injury. So, let's keep moving and keep getting stronger, but safely!
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