We all know exercise is good for you but, some exercises can actually do more harm than good and result in muscle and joint injuries.
Depending on your age, fitness level and history of injuries, certain exercises should be avoided. Especially for those who may sit in an office during the day and hit the gym after work, the muscles and joints are not utilized often enough during the day and can be susceptible to injuries during a strenuous workout. The key to a successful, long-term exercise routine is gradually and safely increase strenuousness.
Below are four of the most common exercises that can result in chronic injury if not executed properly.
1. Lower Back: Overhead Standing Lift
When executed properly this exercise distributes weight evenly across the shoulders and spine and is great for toning the shoulders. However, many people add too much weight to the bar which causes them to hold the bar slightly in front of their body. When this happens, the weight distribution is altered and can place a tremendous amount of force on the spine.
Another common mistake many make during this exercise is arching the back to help push the bar upward. Although this may make it easier to lift more weight, overhead lifting while the back is arched creates substantial downward force on the spine, which can result in disc herniations.
2. Knee injuries: Weighted Leg Extensions
This exercise is an essential part of any “leg day” and when executed properly is a great way to strengthen the quadriceps muscles in the leg. However, many people believe that more weight and reps will lead to better results. Unfortunately, the opposite can be true as excess weight and reps can lead to inflammation of the cartilage behind the kneecap. This inflammation results in pain known as patella-femoral pain which can make it difficult to walk, stand from a seated position, or kneel.
3. Hip Injuries: The Treadmill
Cardio is an integral part of any fitness routine and the staple favorite for cardio has always been the treadmill. However for many people, jogging or running on a treadmill forces them to change their gait to compensate for the narrow path or fast pace of the treadmill. When the gait is altered, the IT band and hip flexors can become strained due to muscular imbalances in the knees and hips. This excessive strain can cause inflammation of the joints in the hip as well as tendonitis or bursitis of the hip. Work up to your desired speed over the course of at least a few days and practice your form while you run.
4. Elbow Injuries: Bicep Curls
For those who want sculpted arms, biceps curls are an exercise that can quickly help you achieve noticeable results. However, weight is not always the key factor in achieving results and can actually cause injury to the elbow – which means you may have to stop doing curls altogether. Trying to curl too much weight causes you to alter the normal range of motion in the elbow and “swing” the dumbbell instead of curling it. This swinging motion, coupled with heavy weight, is a recipe for injury. Don't add on more weight than you can handle while curling the dumbbell slowly.
Another important thing to be aware of during biceps curls is the position of your wrists. If the wrists are bent inward toward the body, the weight is distributed unevenly across the arm with most of the weight being placed on the tendons and flexors of the forearm. Improper weight or form causes forearm and elbow tendons and flexors to become irritated or inflamed (known as tendinitis) and result in substantial pain and discomfort in the elbow.
If you start to experience aches and pains from your workout routine Dr. Leon E. Popovitz and Dr. Michael Y. Mizhiritsky, along with their team of orthopedic surgeons and pain management specialists, can help you get back on track injury free.
NY Bone and Joint Specialists is a top rated, private Orthopedic and Sports Medicine practice in New York City and New Jersey. The Orthopedic Surgery, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Pain Management specialists routinely perform surgical and non-surgical treatments for patients across the United States and various other countries. With their top in-office physical therapy and long-term sports rehabilitation processes, NY Bone and Joint Specialists work toward better overall quality of life for each and every patient.