Sometimes the most popular fitness exercises are far from the most effective, and they can even cause irreparable harm to our health, especially if you do them the wrong way.
Bright Side prepared for you a list of popular but dangerous exercises along with safer replacements.
Why it’s dangerous: The excessive load from twists increases the pressure on vertebrae, and it may cause traumas. In addition, if you have a sedentary job, the vertebral discs are heavily loaded during the day. With body lifts, we load them even more. The front of the discs are compressed, and the back is stretched. Pain in the lower back and neck appears.
What to replace it with: Stand on all fours, straightening an arm and the opposite leg. Raise them parallel to the floor (so that they’re on the same line), and stay in this position for 5-10 seconds. Repeat for the other side. This exercise will help you work the muscles of your stomach, thighs, and buttocks while minimizing unnecessary tension and possible injuries.
Why it’s dangerous: The main danger is that the hands are in an unusual position, and the joints receive a heavy load. Shoulders and elbows also don’t move in the traditional position, and this can lead to dislocations, strains, and small cracks.
What to replace it with: Get into the classic plank. It’s important that your back is flat with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Bend your legs at the knees, while your hips and back keep a straight line. Now start lowering so that your arms bend along your body. With this exercise, the same muscles will work but without risk of joint damage.
Why it’s dangerous: Side twists are considered effective for the side stomach muscles. Yet, as with ordinary twists, they’re dangerous for your spine and discs.
What to replace it with: Do a side plank. Lie on your side resting on one hand, and lift the other. Slowly lift your hips from the floor. You’ll feel tension in your stomach muscles. Make sure that your back is flat. Hold this position for as long as you can. Repeat for the other side. The side plank will help work your stomach muscles, burn fat, and protect you from spinal injuries.
Forward bends with dumbbells
Why it’s dangerous: Here, again, our back is the first to suffer. And when doing the exercise incorrectly, there’s a risk of stretching the muscles and causing spine injuries.
What to replace it with: An exercise called a “woodcutter” can help you. Stand straight, legs slightly wider than shoulders. Pick up a stuffed ball, and raise it up on straightened hands so that it’s over your left shoulder. On the exhale, lower the ball diagonally downward to your right thigh, doing semi-squats. Try to perform it slowly and smoothly. Repeat on the other side.
Dumbbell bicep curl
Why it’s dangerous: Any work with weights in a standing position strongly loads the spine. In addition, this exercise involves only a few muscles. If you aren’t a professional athlete working under the supervision of a coach, it should be replaced with a more effective and safe exercise.
What to replace it with: Here you’ll need a resistance band. Take one end of the elastic band in each hand with the bottom grip, and begin to bend your arms to your chest one by one. You’ll feel the nonworking hand doesn’t fully straighten and is always slightly bent. Due to the tension, the load on your hands will be constant and equal, and the result will be better.
Thigh muscle fitness equipment
Why it’s dangerous: The main drawback of such equipment is that you can get a severe distension. And even if the installed weight seems comfortable, the ligaments can still suffer.
What to replace it with: One of the best and safest leg exercises is a high step. Take a step – the higher it is, the harder it is to do the exercise and the greater the load on the muscles. With a flat back, step up and stand on the step. Then step back to the same place. You can also step sideways, thereby alternating the load on your muscles.
Dumbbell French press
Why it’s dangerous: During the exercise, a large load goes to the elbow joints. In addition, because of the high traumatic risk, the French press should be done only with a perfect technique, so it’s better to replace it with a safer exercise.
What to replace it with: The most suitable is the “diamond” push-up. Get into a front lying support, as with common push-ups. Place your hands so that your thumb and forefinger touch each other on both hands. Now do the push-ups as usual. Your knees should be on the floor, but if you want to increase the load you can perform it with straight legs.