For many people, the New Year is a motivator to make positive changes. One of the most common resolutions people make every year is to get fit. This often involves eating healthy and exercising. Many people solidify this commitment with a gym membership. Make sure your noble goal of fitness doesn’t lead to back pain by learning the worst gym exercises for beginners and your back.
You can picture it now, bursting into the gym the first week of January ready to tackle the world, along with your love handles. Sometimes, this enthusiasm can lead you to jump on any machine and overdo it. The best weapon against hurting yourself at the gym is informing yourself about what exercises are dangerous. The following popular gym exercises are best avoided by newcomers.
The bench press is effective for building giant pectoral muscles. Yet a number of flaws make this exercise unideal for any gym goer, particularly new ones. First, the bench you lay on interferes with your ability to move your shoulder blade. This requires extra movement from the shoulder joint. Also, lowering the bar to your chest drops your elbows lower than your back, demanding a range of motion that is beyond most shoulders. Injuries to the shoulder are common among bench pressers.
Another concern with bench presses is muscle imbalance. Many who perform the exercise do not balance it with upper back exercises. If the pectorals are stronger and tighter than the upper back muscles, they will pull the head and neck down creating postural dysfunction. This can lead to serious back and neck pain.
In many ways, deadlifts are a great way to get a balanced workout. Lifting a weighted bar from the floor to hip level from a squat position, you work out your legs, hips, back, stomach and arms. Its emphasis on the core is what makes it both a great exercise for gym-goers and an off-limits exercise for newcomers.
The deadlift is a serious workout. It requires a strong core to support the spine. If your core is not already developed and balanced, your abdominals will likely not be able to help your lower back muscles support your spine. This can lead to lower back muscle strain and spinal injury. Once your core is developed, approach the deadlift with caution; the form you must practice it with is an exact science.
Ab Machine Workouts
When we think of a fit person, we often picture 6-pack abs. What many people don’t realize when they begin working out is that the core muscle group, consisting of the abdominal, lower back, hip and buttocks muscles must be balanced to protect against postural dysfunction and back pain. Machines and exercises that work out the abdominal muscles without training the lower back muscles put you at risk of muscle imbalance. Many ab exercises, such as the sit-up, also strain your hips and spine. Go for core workouts over miracle ab machines. Pilates is designated as a great method for working out your core. Check out this FREE PILATES program….
Leg extension exercises employ a machine that is loaded with weight; you lift this load by straightening your legs, giving your quadriceps a tough workout. This exercise is largely considered harmful to anyone, but should be strictly avoided by new gym-goers.
One flaw with this exercise is that it over-stresses the knee joint. Another major problem is that it isolates a muscle that is commonly overdeveloped to begin with. Even people who lead sedentary lives tend to have stronger quads than hamstrings. Tighter, stronger quads will pull the pelvis downward in the front, since the hamstrings are not exerting an equal and opposite pull on it. This causes the lower back to arch more and the buttocks to stick out. Muscles in the hip are strained and spinal discs are subjected to increased pressure.
Being aware that muscle imbalance is a risk of exercise will help you avoid it. The above are not exercises for beginners. Start slow at the gym. You may best protect yourself against injury by starting with body weight exercises, saving weight-loaded machines for a time when you have already attained some basic muscle tone. Your New Year’s resolution to get fit shouldn’t leave you with pain. Use caution at the gym, vary your exercises and if possible consult a physical trainer to ensure your form is correct.