When creating an exercise regimen, many people focus on adding a list of exercises that they feel they must do. And yes, it’s true that you do need some form of exercise (preferably a mix of cardiovascular exercises and strength training). But if you’re dreading some of the items on your list, we have good news for you: A few of them really aren’t that great for you. In fact, you should quit doing them, and replace them with moves that are better for your body.
Sit-ups. Yes, really! Sit-ups actually aren’t the best abdominal strengthening exercise, because they contort your body into an unhealthy position. Pulling your neck forward, rounding your shoulders, and flexing your spine put too much strain on your back. Planks, yoga, and various types of Pilates exercises actually build your abdominal muscles more effectively, without risking injury.
Back extensions. The back extension machine at the gym repeatedly flexes and extends your lower back to strengthen it. The strains your spine, especially if you add too much weight. Talk to a personal trainer about better ways to strengthen your back, or try gentler yoga and Pilates moves.
Lat pull-downs, chin-ups, or presses behind the neck. If you perform these exercises, don’t pull the bar behind your head. This will over-extend your shoulders and increase your risk of injury. Plus, it simply isn’t necessary to perform these moves that way. Pull the bar to your collar bone instead, and you’ll build plenty of strength without straining a sensitive area.
Consulting with a personal trainer can help you learn proper form for any exercise. Even if you don’t want to spend the money on a regular basis, we do recommend consulting with a trainer at least once or twice in order to learn proper exercise techniques. And as always, come see us as you put together your exercise regimen and weight loss plan. We can screen you for underlying problems that might make exercise dangerous for you, and help you learn about proper nutrition to support your efforts.