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4 Exercises That May Be More Risk Than Reward

Jul 31, 2014

There are so many quality exercises to choose from for your exercise program, however be aware of the risky exercises that can cause injury from one bad rep. For every exercise you perform you must decide the balance between risk and reward. Some exercises that may seem common and safe can be silently robbing you of your full potential. In the worst cases they may cause injuries and setbacks. After reading this analysis you can decide for yourself if the exercise is still valuable in your program.

The first risky exercise is the dumbbell chest fly. This is a surprise to many of us as the chest fly is a very popular sculpting exercise with a feeling of increased stretching of the chest muscle. This exercise is risky because it can overload the pectoral muscles and a smaller stabilizing muscle called the coricobracialis. The origin and insertion of the chest muscles reaches a maximal length and with a longer lever arm, a heavy weight or too much force you can strain and possibly tear theses muscles. A great alternative would be any exercise that does not over stretch the range of motion of the chest, and one with a shorter lever arm.

The second risky exercise is the behind the neck shoulder press. You may already know that overhead lifting is a great way to strengthen the shoulder muscles. However when you press behind your head you are putting your glenohumeral joint into an abnormal position that can cause shoulder impingement. The ball and socket joint of the shoulder requires scapular movement to correctly press overhead in a safe plane of motion which is slightly in front of the shoulder. Pressing behind the head causes the upper arm bone to hit the lateral portion of the scapula scraping the tissues that are pinched in between. Shoulder impingement is a very common injury and can be avoided. A safe alternative is pressing overhead, but with elbows in front of the shoulder. This allows for a nice balance between the trapezius muscles and the sarratus anterior, which safely moves the shoulder blade so that it and the humerus bone can pass without contact.

The upright row is another risky exercise that people use to develop their shoulders. This movement simply provokes shoulder impingement. If you were to go to a physical therapist office for a shoulder impingement they would use this movement to provoke the symptoms of the shoulder impingement. There are many better choices to work your shoulders. Replace this exercise before you feel the pain.

The Good morning is another risky move to avoid. Power athletes everywhere use this exercise to strengthen the thoracic and lumbar spine musclesas well as the glutes and hamstrings. The problem is it is often done incorrectly. If you cannot get proper extension the thoracic region of your spine, or your posterior leg muscles are not flexible, you are putting your back in a loaded position at high risk for injury. The motion requires a hip hinge motion, which should use the hamstring and glute muscle to absorb the force of the load. There are too many ways this exercise can go wrong so choose a different exercise or work with a professional trainer to coach you.

The point of your workout is to improve your body. Don’t let a misleading exercise cause you pain and setbacks. Even if you do not have pain now, it does not mean that you will not in the future. Ask a trainer for safe alternatives if you cannot decide whether or not an exercise is safe. Remember every exercise has a risk and a reward. Keep that in mind and keep making gains in your workouts and the risk to a minimum.


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