If you know me then you know I don’t think any workout is dangerous…if done under proper supervision and with good form. On the flip side every workout could potentially be dangerous if you throw caution to the wind.
The “top 10” or whatever lists you often see on MSN, Yahoo!, or any other site are just easy ways to get views and clicks to their website to drive up the cost of their advertising, but this piece hits me the wrong way a few times.
1. The plow pose: I am not a Yoga guy, but I would love to be. The idea of being more flexible is tantalizing, especially for my golf game. My guess is that not many people do this pose who are not advanced in yoga or supervised. How many novices at your local globo-gym are doing advanced poses like this? How many times do you see a guy benching so much weight, without a spotter, that you are afraid he will drop the ball on his larynx and kill himself? That seems much more likely and far more dangerous, don’t you think?
2. Straight leg lifts: Just another typical exercise that someone fears will hurt you, but if done right will strengthen you. Are you telling me that these are harder on your back then bent over rows? Have you seen the arch in some people’s backs when they do bent over rows??
3. Deep squats: ah, this one might be the worst of all. Or maybe I think so because I am in love with CrossFit. The blurb with this entry starts like this:
Some trainers and fitness instructors encourage squats that bring the butt almost to the heels, claiming that going lower will build more muscle. But this move will also put extra pressure on your knees, says Tamilee Webb, star of the Classic Buns of Steel DVD collection.
First, “Buns of Steel”??!! Isn’t this essentially stating that we haven’t learned anything about exercise since the 1980’s when that video was first released?? I think it is safe to say that we have learned something about better fitness since the video was first released…and I bet they do some sort of straight leg lift…
I will always preach range of motion and appropriate weight to achieve that full range of motion. Besides, if it is your knees you are worried about it isn’t the range of motion you should be concerned with, it is the form. I have proof here of a guy saying “ow” at the end of his lifts due to his poor form and he didn’t even get close to parellel, much less past parallel.
As with any exercise: form is key. You can easily hurt yourself by utilizing poor form.
4. The power clean: It is hard to argue with this one, but I love it so much. It is great when I want to elevate my heart rate and link numerous power cleans together.
“If you’re an athlete, plan on competing in Olympic lifting competition, and have a competent coach, go for it,” says Jim Kielbaso, MS, CSCS, director of Total Performance Training Centers in Wixom and Rochester Hills, MI, and author of Ultimate Speed & Agility and World’s Hardest Exercises. “If you just want to be in great shape there’s no reason to do this exercise.” Because a power clean is so technical, it’s extremely easy to do it incorrectly, which can lead to wrist, elbow, shoulder, and lower back injuries.
I can’t argue with any of that. What I can say is that if someone is doing lunges with one foot elevated behind them on a bench, they can easily blow out a knee doing those, too. If someone is working their chest using dumbbells on a stabilizer ball they could easily lose balance and drop the weight on themselves and break an arm or worse, too. With any exercise there is a risk. …Power cleaning is technical, though.
5. Knee extension machine: They don’t want you doing legs. The reason these machines are un-safe according to this piece is because it compromises your knees. Well, so do squats, even if you don’t get to parallel. I guess we should all just give up on working our legs.
6. Full situps: really? Someone got lazy a few years ago and created the crunch and now everyone is worried about hurting your back doing situps. Maybe the same folks should worry about the people who are carrying a bowling ball around their gut just as much. Somewhere along the lines of exercising someone got lazy and decided that squatting all the way to was too hard, er, too rough on the body and that doing full situps was too hard, er, too hard on the back and that doing a pushup in which your chest touches the ground is too hard and I am just waiting for someone to come up with a reason why it is hard on your body.
Get your ass in the gym and work. Work with good form and good range of motion. Lessen the weight if you feel your form is getting loose and when you feel comfortable that you have good form: add weight. Don’t be afraid of body weight exercises and getting dirty by laying on the floor. Slowly work your way up to solid weight and solid reps and solid workout times to elevate your heart rate and you will be stronger.
As I read the other day: if getting old is getting weaker, then shouldn’t we all strive to always get stronger?
Squat away and get that hip crease below your knee crease!