15 Exercises That Can Hurt You

by Jackie Wicks
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Use Proper Technique to Prevent Injury

As you go about your workout program, there’s no question that exercise selection is going to be key for seeing optimal results. If you are not choosing your exercises properly, you won’t be targeting the muscles that you should and as such, you won’t be able to move forward like you had hoped.

Likewise, if you choose incorrect exercises, it could also lead to injury. Let’s walk through the top 15 exercises that could put you in harm’s way if not done properly.

The Crunch

One of the top moves to strengthen the ab muscles, you feel like the crunch is a wise addition to your workout. It can be, provided you to it right. The trick is to avoid pulling your head upwards and instead, think of lifting up from the rib cage. That’ll take stress off the neck and put it where it belongs – the core muscles.

The Squat

Squats are the king of lower body movements, but can also be the king of injuries if you aren’t careful. Lean too far forward and you’ll be experiencing debilitating back pain in no time. Keep your head up as you move throughout the exercise to help keep you in proper alignment.

The Deadlift

The big no-no to avoid with this move is thinking of pulling up from the back muscles. Do this and you’ll round the spinal column, risking great pain in no time.

Instead, squeeze up from the glutes and lift the body up to the full standing position. The back should remain flat at all times.

The Pec Fly

The pec fly is the next must-do move for a chiseled chest, but only when done right. If you let the arms go down too far, you’ll strain your shoulder joint, which could take you out of the game entirely.

Go only down to almost parallel with the body, pause, and then return to the start. This is one exercise where going too far with your of motion will hurt your results.

Front Jabs

The next exercise that has a potential for problems is the front jab. With this one, the problem is jabbing just a little too far or too hard and straining the shoulder joint. If you jab with full force and don’t control it, you may also start to hyper-extend the elbow, which will create further elbow pain.

Keep jabs in control and focus on maintaining a slight bend in the arm as you go.


Skipping is a fantastic calorie burner, burning almost as many calories as running. That said, if you don’t skip on a well-cushioned surface, you’ll be in for severe knee, ankle, hip, and back pain down the road.

Make sure you wear a properly cushioned pair of running shoes and aim to skip on carpet or grass for optimal safety.

Bench Press

The bench press is a main strength building move for the upper body and one that will bring about great results. If you happen to let your back come way up off the bench however, all it may bring is tremendous back pain and a lack of results.

Keep the core muscles tight as you do this exercise and that’ll assist you with keeping your form in check.

Shoulder Press

The shoulder press move is a top shoulder builder in every upper body workout routine. As you do this one, be sure that you avoid hyper-extending the arms as you do it. Do that and you’ll be in serious elbow pain.

Think of keeping the arms ever-so-slightly bent and you should resolve this. While you’re at it, also be sure to keep the core muscles tight to prevent lower back sway.

Lateral Raise

The lateral raise is a nice complement to the shoulder press move, but again, must be done correctly. When doing this one, the key is to avoid lifting higher than 90 degrees. Many people swing the weight upwards, going far beyond 90 degrees with the shoulder and using momentum to carry them through the movement.

That needs to be avoided. Keep it under control both on the lifting and lowering phase to obtain optimal results and strength enhancement.

Plank Hold

To hit your core hard, the plank can’t be beat. The trouble is, if you don’t maintain good form, this is an injury waiting to happen.

Pay very close attention to good form and if you can, have someone watch you do it or perform it in front of a mirror. Many people don’t have a good enough body awareness to know their exact position in this movement and even one slight miss-alignment can lead to injury if it’s held long enough.

Walking Lunges

To hit the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, lunges are a safe bet. They complete both deadlifts and squats very nicely and are often added after those exercises are completed.

Two problems are common here. First, letting your knees move inward or outward over the toes and second, adopting a forward lean.

You must avoid both to stay pain-free. Make sure the knees move directly over the toes with each step you take and keep your back as upright as possible.

Bent Over Rows

Bent over rows are a good antagonistic movement to the bench press as each exercise builds up strength in either side of the body.

Where most people go wrong with bent over rows is they hoist the weight upwards, using full momentum. This leads to a startling movement pattern with the lower back and can go on to lead to back pain.

Keep the back fixed in position and lift the weight upwards using a very slow and controlled movement pattern. That’ll help keep momentum out of your game.

Lying Leg Raise

Lying leg raises are an exercise used to hit the lower abs more effectively. As you perform them though, be sure your back is pressed flat into the ground. Place two hands behind the back if you aren’t quite sure.

If the back lifts up, you won’t stress the abs as you should and could develop lower back pain.

The Elliptical Machine

If your favorite cardio of choice is the elliptical, you should tread carefully. While a few odd sessions here and there on this machine are fine, if you’re doing it on a very regular basis, you could be at risk for overuse injuries.

This movement pattern isn’t fully natural for the body and it will lock you into position, so for many people, isn’t quite right for optimal results.

Switch it up, alternate between the elliptical and walking for safety.

The Knee Extension

The last exercise to know about is the knee extension. This one is great for isolating the quad muscle on its own, but unfortunately, is also great for bringing about knee injury in many people.

For those who have had knee pain in the past, I’d recommend you just avoid this one entirely. It’ll strain the knee far too much and isn’t worth the results it brings.

Squat, lunge, or do the leg press and you’ll hit the quads just fine.

So have a look at these 15 exercises in your program. Are you putting yourself at risk for injury?

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