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5 Exercises We’ve All Been Doing That Can Hurt You

It’s no secret that exercise is good for you, but knowing proper form is just as important for ensuring you reap the benefits of exercise instead of causing damage to your body. If you don’t have the proper form or technique, you are actually putting your body at risk for injury.

Wonder which types of exercises might make you the most vulnerable?

Although any exercise that is performed with poor technique can be harmful, there are specific exercises that are most commonly performed incorrectly and can land you in rehab.

Bicycle Crunches

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You’re used to pumping them out as fast as you can, but nothing can be detrimental. What’s wrong with performing this exercise at high speed and poor form is that the lower back gets wrenched in and out of extension with little support. Twisting at such a speed can also lead to herniated discs and muscle spasms. Additionally, most people grasp on to their necks and put pressure on them subjecting their cervical spine to injuries as well. If you must do this type of crunch, slow it down considerably to avoid these injuries.

Lat Pull-Downs (Behind the Head)

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This pull down places a lot of stress on the anterior joint capsule of the shoulder and can eventually lead to impingement or even rotator cuff tears. If you’re in the middle of this exercise and something in your shoulder doesn’t feel right, stop and find another exercise. Even simply switching the lat pull down to in front of your head can be a safer alternative.

The Kettleball Swing

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This is one of those exercises that requires impeccable technique in order to reap its benefits. The essence of this movement is actually being powered by your lower body as opposed to your arms, specifically the posterior chain including the glutes and hamstrings. It’s important to learn the correct way to move the weight before you start swinging it. If not, you risk rotator cuff injury and/or inflammation of other structures in the shoulder.

Bent Over Rows

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Rows can be great for your shoulder and upper neck, but more often than not people perform them bent over at the waist. Being in that much lumbar spine flexion can cause a disc to displace posteriorly, potentially hitting a nerve. If you’re going to perform a low, do them lying face down on a Swiss ball or bench.

The Romanian Dead Lift

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Yet another exercise that is crucial to be performed correctly is the deadlift. When done right, its great for your back and hips. When done wrong, they are one of the easiest ways to hurt your back. The reason for this is that people most commonly fall into hyperextension through the low back while lowering and lifting weight. This can result in lumbar disc injury or muscular spasm. Many lifters round their back when picking up or putting down the bat and don’t even realize it.