When it comes to exercise, there are some points that are widely known. Most people head into a workout routine knowing they need to work on different parts of their bodies, rest their bodies between training days, and drink a lot of water. However, what about the routine itself? What types of exercises are most effective, and which are more likely to harm the body? If you are unsure about what to watch out for with dangerous routines, then follow these few tips on what you should avoid to keep your body safe and healthy.
#1: Hip Flexors While Sitting
There are very few times in life where you will realistically be sitting down, squeezing your inner-thighs together for any type of purpose. This makes this type of exercise not only ineffective, but also potentially harmful. This teaches your body to move in an unnatural way, and could cause your muscles to become weak. If you want to focus on your hips, try doing the same basic workout while standing, lifting your leg and lowering it back down, as this is a more natural position for your body.
#2: Ab Machines
While training your abs is a great way to focus a large group of muscles in your body, using an ab machine is often times a lot more ineffective than doing the exercises on your own. Most machines that focus on abs give you some type of aid, either by allowing you to add in a different muscle group or by helping you do the movement itself. This lowers the effectiveness of the workout and the benefits you will get. If you want abs that you can be proud of, take the time to do the movements right. It will be worth it in the end.
#3: Sit Ups with Legs out Straight
The benefits of standard sit ups cannot be denied, but if done the wrong way, you will be feeling the pain long after your routine is done. Doing sit ups with your legs out can cause the muscles you are working to be irregularly stretched while you perform the movement, plus each time you do this, you risk injuring your spine. You are better off doing two exercises to work on the different parts of your abs instead of trying to combine them into one movement.
#4: Behind the Neck Presses
No matter what type of press you prefer, if you are doing them behind your neck, you could easily become injured in a very significant way. This puts the muscles of the neck and shoulder in peril, leaving them exposed to major injury. The types of injury that could come from these movements are the ones that could stop you from being able to exercise for weeks or months on end, so avoid these at all costs.
#5: Rowing in Unusual Positions
While rowing can be a very effective workout if done right, doing this movement in a bad position can quickly cause muscles to become injured. If you happen to do this type of exercise while standing up, you can strain not only your rotator cuff and shoulder in general, but you can also cause undue stress to weaker joints like wrists and elbows. People who enjoy rowing should do it from the natural position of sitting, preferably from the comfort of a rowboat that has an amazing view.
#6: Workout-Free Gimmicks
There are constantly infomercials where you see celebrities telling you that you can get the effects of a full-body workout without having to even break a sweat. Some involve you adding a new machine into your routine, while others have you weighing out protein powders and adding them into your diet. The truth is, there is no miracle product out there that will do the it for you. Exercise is meant to burn calories, push muscles to become stronger, and leave your body better off in the long-run. Don't expect a miracle from a product that promises to do the effort for you. Instead, put the work in yourself. You will appreciate your results even more.
#7: Excessive Cardio
It is important for everyone to get some cardio exercise in, but doing it too often or for too long can actually cause you to lose out on the muscle you could be gaining. You should limit your cardio routines to no longer than 45 minutes to avoid causing muscle deterioration. You can pick and choose the exercises you like most, but make sure you do not do any one of them for too long.
#8: Leg Raises while Lying Down
Many people think this is a great exercise because of how many different muscle groups it can work at the same time. While this is true, the risk of damage to your back is incredibly high during this type of exercise. If there was a way to reduce pressure and strain on the spine, this could be a very effective way to work on your core and legs, but since there is not, this exercise should be avoided at all costs.
#9: The Twist
You have probably seen this as well on numerous late-night infomercials. They tell you all you have to do is either stand, sit, or bend over and twist your body, and somehow this will give you the perfect set of core muscles. While you are working them out slightly, the unnatural position of this exercise is apt to do more harm than good. If you want to push your core muscles to do more, try stretching in a way that encompasses your entire upper body. This will include those muscles and help you have more flexibility without the risk of damaging your body.
#10: Pills That Do the Work for You
There are multiple pills on the market that claim if you take them, you will never have to break a sweat again. None of these pills are a miracle cure for the monotony of exercise, or doctors would be prescribing them to people who are struggling with their weight and have the corresponding health issues. Just because a pill claims to do it all, does not mean it is accurate. Talk to your doctor and see if there are any pills you can safely add to your routine so that you do not waste time or money, or cause damage to your body.
Working out is important, but so are other aspects like protein intake and eating healthy. It is important to monitor your food and protein powder intake. One key component is weighing your protein powder. The difference between measuring and weighing can be significant. The scoopers that come with the protein powders can be off for various reasons, and if you want to be accurate, weighing the powder using a digital scale is the most accurate way to go.
Avoiding these least effective workouts and combining other healthy habits will help you achieve your fitness goals faster.