6 Potentially Dangerous Weight Training Exercises

By: Luke Johnstone

There are many weight training exercises recommended today that are potentially dangerous. These exercises are still being prescribed simply because of word of mouth, ignorance, and unfounded generalisations passed down from generation to generation. However, many scientific studies, along with the basic laws of anatomy and physiology prove that many of these exercises are not only ineffective, they are potentially dangerous.

LEG EXTENSION
The leg extension is a classic example of an isolated exercise. (Stimulates only one muscle). It is not a functional exercise that is performed in our daily activities. The actual movement draws the patella (knee cap) back onto the femur (thigh bone) causing a grinding type motion. This causes anterior knee pain, which is the most common place for knee pain. A very good reason why this exercise should be avoided. Tests have also proved that they aren't merely as effective at stimulating the quadriceps as compound lifts, such as squats, leg press and lunges.

PECK DECK
This weight training exercise places the shoulder joint in its least stable position, which makes it susceptible to injury. This shoulder positioning is also ineffective in creating maximal force about the shoulder joint. Compound exercises like, dips, push ups or the bench press are much safer and more effective alternatives.

BACK HYPEREXTENSION
This exercise, because of the dysfunctional range of motion, puts a lot of stress on the intervertebral discs of the lumbar region. Isolating the back muscles, by not letting the ab muscles support in the exercise is potentially dangerous. To improve your back strength and decrease back pain, it would be a lot more beneficial to strengthen your abdominal muscles. The erector spinae muscles this weight training exercise aim to strengthen are rarely weak. They are used all day long to maintain posture and carry out activities.

BEHIND THE NECK SHOULDER PRESS
The starting position is very unstable for the shoulder joint. The shoulders are placed in their weakest position. The range of motion during this weight training exercise places the shoulder in a position that can cause impingement of the rotator cuff. The poke neck posture also encourages rotator cuff impingement. Lifting weight while having this poked neck posture also puts a lot of undue stress on your cervical spine (neck vertebrae). These stresses can be a lot worse in people who have bad posture, lack shoulder flexibility and have poor control of their scapula (shoulder blades).

BEHIND THE NECK WIDE GRIP LAT PULLDOWN
This weight training exercise is very similar to the shoulder press. Hence the problems are the same, rotator cuff impingement and stress on the cervical spine. This exercise is also very easily performed incorrectly if you lack flexibility in the shoulder joint. This can drastically increase the risk of injury to the neck and shoulders. A much better weight training exercise would be to do close grip lat pulldowns to the front, pulling it down to your collarbone.

HAMSTRING CURLS
Just like the leg extension, hamstring curls are also extremely dysfunctional. When would you perform this movement in real life? Your legs are built to work as one collective unit. The joints and tendons of the knee (Or any other joint for that matter) are simply not built to be isolated then overloaded with weight. Hamstring curls, pulls the tibia back onto the femur, putting a lot of strain on the knee joint. A much better way to train the hamstrings is the way they are meant to function, by extending the hip. Much more efficient exercises would be squats, lunges or deadlifts.

Based on sound, scientific principles, these 6 weight training exercises increase the risk of sustaining an injury. So do yourself a favour and stop doing them. There are plenty of alternatives that are not only safer, but deliver better results.

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