Seven Dangerous Exercises To Avoid | The Cycle Project


Seven Dangerous Exercises To Avoid

Nothing will derail your fitness goals quite as swiftly as a painful injury.

In order to stay pain-free and limber, beware of the following 7 exercises:

  1. Correct Form/Posture – It should go with out saying, but it’s important that it must be said.  Don’t do any unless you can do it with proper form and posture.  If you can’t do it with proper form then learn.  And if you don’t know how to learn, get to a professional who can help you get that form before you get into a serious workout program.  Otherwise, you are just strengthening muscles around your bad habits/form, which will be much harder to fix and pose the threat for injury and muscles imbalances.  AND DEFINITELY DON’T ADD WEIGHT TO MOVEMENTS WITH BAD FORM!
  2. Anything Behind the Head – Pushing or pulling anything behind your head (as in a lat pull down or military press with a barbell) places your shoulders in the perfect position for dislocation.  If there is added weight, you are also putting a lot of stress on the tendons of your rotator cuff.  These exercises are just as effective and safer to do in front of your head.
  3. Upright Rows – Even though you may not feel pain initially when doing this exercise, the upright row rotates your shoulders inward while elevating them, which stresses the rotator cuff and greatly increases the risk for shoulder impingement.
  4. Jumping/Plyo (too soon) – Plyometric exercise are a fun and exciting way to get the heart rate up and burn tons of calories as you are using both superficial and deep muscles in the lower body and core.  However, jumping and more importantly landing place a ton of stress on your ankles, knees and hips (up to 8x as much force).  Before you start jumping, make sure you can squat properly first.  Then talk to your trainer about a training program that will progressively move you from a squat to a serious plyometric burn.
  5. KB Swings – Kettle Bells are gaining popularity in gyms and boot camps all over the country.  And while they are great pieces of equipment with potential for huge gains, there is also the huge possibility for injury if done incorrectly. The kettle bell swing is a total body workout combining balance, strength, posture breathing and endurance.  Make sure you learn KB techniques and form from a qualified kettlebell instructor.  Even one of the most known female trainers is clueless and has horrible form when it comes to KB swings.  So be sure to get a QUALIFIED TRAINER.
  6. Leg Extensions – The leg extension machine has long been a popular machine in the gym for sculpting the quads. However, it is also one of the worst for your knees!  As the knees are locked in and the shin is moving forward, the patella is drawn backwards increasing compression forces on the knee joint, which can cause damage to the connective tissue, ligaments and cartilage.  It can also cause pain anteriorly in the patellar tendon, especially for people with existing knees problems.
  7. Machine Exercises All The Time – Motivating yourself to get in the gym by yourself is a positive and I applaud you for doing so. However, if you are uncomfortable in the gym and only use “the machines” for your workout, you could be setting yourself up for injury.  Yes, the machines are good for building up the muscles that the picture on the machine shows you.  But the problem is that by constantly sitting in supported chairs or lying on supporting benches with the machine dictating your movements you fail to use your core muscles to support you body.  Most of your stabilizing muscles around the big movement muscles and that joint are also taken out of the equation so they don’t develop!  So once you get off that machine and try to use though newly developed muscles out in the real world, they are more than ready to go, but all the muscles to support them and the joints around them won’t be up to the task, causing serious injuries to your back/core or the joints (most commonly shoulder and hips).


  • Don’t work through Pain – If a movements hurts, STOP. There is no room for negotiating or pushing through the pain. If it hurts, there is something wrong with the movement. Maybe form, maybe posture, maybe the movement itself. Regardless, you don’t want to push through it or you risk severe injury, tears, or muscles damage.
  • Make Sure To Rest – Our bodies are definitely the most advanced piece of “machinery” around.  However, all “machinery” needs rest and maintenance.  So to avoid over use injuries and to ensure proper muscles/tissue recovery, make sure to implement rest into any workout schedule. Otherwise, all the work and gains you’ve made will be lost as you are stuck sitting on a couch recovering from a severe injury.
  • Work the entire body, not just one muscle group – We all know the people who work only the vanity muscles (chest and biceps) since those are the most visible.  But if you want to avoid pulling muscles and muscle imbalances (which effect posture, form, alignment, and feeling “good”), make sure you work all of your muscle groups equally to avoid tremendous amounts of strain on muscles, tendons and ligaments, causing irritation, inflammation and even stress fractures.
  • Start easy and slowly build/don’t lift too heavy – If you are just starting, or just getting back into exercising or lifting weights, make sure to start slowly.  Ligaments and tendons grow a lot slower than muscles do, so to ensure they stay healthy and avoid pulls and tears, start slowly so the muscles, ligaments and tendons can all grow together. Pushing your body beyond its ability to adapt will result in illness or overuse injury.

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