Whether you’ve just started your exercise regimen or you’re a regular at the gym, you know that not all workouts are created equal. We’ve talked about some of the most common exercise myths, but do you know which risky exercises to avoid at the gym? We’ll run through a few ineffective exercises and how to improve them. Start planning your next workout, and don’t forget your warm-up!
Behind-the-Head Lat Pull-Down
The lat pull-down machine is a great place to strengthen your back and target your large latissimus dorsi muscles, but improper technique can do more harm than good. While some people prefer to pull the bar behind their heads, we recommend against it. Why? Many people find themselves craning their necks and straining their shoulders while manipulating the weight. At worst, you could even injure your rotator cuff or cervical vertebrae. Instead, lean back and pull the bar to your breastbone while holding your body steady.
The Barbell Upright Row
The upright row is a popular shoulder sculpting exercise for those who want terrific delts and arms, but the wrong grip can throw off your entire set. The weight can compress the nerves in the shoulder area, causing pain or even nerve damage in the worst case scenario. What can you do instead? Try the front or lateral shoulder raise to target your muscles. Bend the arms slightly as you raise dumbbells or cables to the front and side of the body.
The Overloaded Leg Press
The leg press can build impressive quadriceps and hamstrings while working up a sweat, but if it leaves you feeling achy in your knees and back, it’s time to step away! If you find your back rounds or your legs bend as you perform the movement, lower the weight and concentrate on your form. You want your glutes to stay down the entire time, and your knees shouldn’t bend more than 90 degrees for safety.
The Smith Machine Squat
The built-in spotting mechanism of the Smith Machine may provide extra peace of mind for beginners, but it won’t do much for your workout if you’ve got squats on the schedule. Squatting in the Smith Machine forces your body into an unnatural range of motion. You can only move the bar up and down, so you’re getting less core activation and more stress on the body than you would normally. Consider doing bodyweight, goblet, or dumbbell squats to challenge your muscles in a safer way.
The Lazy Cardio Machine
When you’re nearing the end of your cardio session, it’s hard to maintain proper form through the fatigue and the sweat. But those who slouch into poor posture or lean all over the handrails are setting themselves up for failure. This can throw your body out of alignment during a stressful time, setting you up for potential injury. Instead, make sure you pace yourself. Don’t crank up the resistance if you can’t maintain good form, and try to maintain a light touch on the rails!
Exercise Safely with UltraSlide
If you are looking for a piece of exercise equipment that is not only versatile but also easy to use, a slideboard from UltraSlide is an excellent option. Our lateral trainers can be used for a variety of purposes, from intense strength training to stretching and physical therapy. Explore our inventory to see which model is best for your workout needs.