5 Dangerous Exercises that You Should Avoid

Circuit exercises

Source: iStock

After spending 10 minutes on YouTube learning a new workout or watching that beefy guy across from you at the gym, you may think you have a whole new repertoire of exercises under your belt. While it’s always good to expand your range of knowledge about fitness, in truth, many exercises can cause serious harm and injury when done improperly. Just by having the incorrect posture, using too much weight, or moving too quickly you can put your body out of commission. As anyone who’s had a physical injury before knows, not only can it be frustrating to miss out on your daily workout, but the physical therapy bill alone can be painful to swallow.

Save yourself the physical and financial pain by avoiding exercises that can easily lead to injury.

The leg press

man performing leg press on a machine

Source: iStock

To avoid the gym-goers dreaded bird legs you may be trying to amp up your legs on the leg press machine. This machine is actually dangerous for your body as it doesn’t allow your muscles and joints to perform in a natural, functional way. Instead, it puts tremendous levels of stress on your knees and lower back. Many leg press fanatics experience lumbar back herniations caused by the high-pressure movement and stress.

Bench dips

How many times have you used dips to get definition and strength in your triceps? Turns out this exercise can lead to injuries in your deltoid, rotator cuff, and bursae. In a bench dip you position your palms facing forward on the bench. The further away you move from this position the more vulnerable your shoulders are to injury as the internal rotation caused by your hand placement puts your shoulders in an undesirable position to bare a heavy load. In addition to causing injury, this exercise can worsen current shoulder pain.

Curtsy lunges

man performing side lunge or stretch in the park

Source: iStock

If you love lunges you may have tried a curtsy lunge, which is when your knee travels across your body rather than moving in the typical forward or backward motion. While this exercise provides a satisfying burn for your thigh muscles it takes your knee joint, hip joint, and shoulder joint out of alignment. This will create unwanted stress since the hip socket won’t align with the movement angle or pattern and your IT band and TFL will take an overly intense, and potentially dangerous stretch.

Behind-the-head lat pulldowns

You may see it done at the gym, but if you want to preserve your shoulders don’t ever do lat pulldowns with the bar behind your body. When you pull the bar down behind your head and neck extreme stress and strain will be placed on the front of the shoulder joint. Use the pulldown bar to your heart’s content but only pull it down in front of your body aiming toward your collarbone and eventually your chest.

Hovering leg lifts

Source: iStock

This common exercise is said to engage your lower abdomens as you lay flat on your back and hover your legs over the floor. However common it may be, this ab exercise puts an incredible amount of stress on your lower back. Many people can feel the pain but choose to push through for the sake of their abs, but with so many abdominal exercises out there, it’s just not worth the risk to your lower back. In lieu of the hovering leg lift, start with your legs up in the air and lower them down 45 degrees, stopping when you feel any strain in your lower back. You can put your hands under your back or bend your knees for an even safer variation.

More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet: