As we are all adjusting to social distancing and trying to balance work, home life and the effort to stay active, many people are turning to at-home workouts. While these are convenient and can be beneficial, there is also an increased risk. Without proper guidance and feedback from trained coaches, athletes are more likely than ever to injure themselves due to improper movements, faulty mechanics and just plain dangerous exercises. Even if the movement doesn’t cause immediate pain or injury, the risk vs. reward issue is at play. Exercises that are performed incorrectly, with too much resistance and/or too many repetitions create issues down the road. Here is a list of the top 5 exercises to avoid:

1. The Situp – The situp is essentially nonstop repetitive flexion of the spine, which can damage discs and joints over time. We are flexion-driven society thanks to over-sitting, texting and driving, so why do we want to perform an exercises that encourages that positioning? Alternative- Deadbug

2.  Side Bends – This exercise is all too common at gyms. Basically you are loading weight on one side and cranking the spine repetitively. If you are looking to sculpt the core you need to training the obliques, and anti-rotation, anti-bending exercises are a much safer solution that actually while provide more benefit. Alternative- Farmer’s Carry, Suitcase Carry

3. Upright Rows -This is elevation of the shoulder with internal rotation while holding weight that is in front of the body. That is actually the precise test for diagnosing a shoulder impingement. With hands gripping a bar, you are locking your biomechanics into a position that loads too much stress on the areas where the shoulder joints connect with the body. Alternative –  Single Arm Dumbbell High Pull

4. Military (behind the neck) Press – just don’t do it, this is bad on so many levels. Alternative- Dumbbell Shoulder Press with core engaged

5. Exercises that can be good when done correctly but are often performed incorrectly:

  •  Burpees – due to factors like hip tightness, core and/or upper body weakness and poor conditioning, this exercise is often performed repetitively with no regard for form.
  •  Kipping pull-ups – Again, if the core is not engaged and the shoulders are not locked in, there is risk for injury when form is not paramount.
  • Planks – this one is all about form and focus. Poor form adds stress to the low back and shoulders. Flexing every single muscle at once can have its benefits, but a better solution would be to focus on core stability while relaxing muscles that are overactive to begin with, like the upper traps and hamstrings.  Maintaining proper breathing is often overlooked during this exercise but can be very beneficial.

With any exercise, proper core engagement and clean functional movements will always be of the utmost importance. At Integrated Health Solutions, our team of doctors are trained to assess these movements and treat the pain associated with dysfunctions. Not only do we help eliminate your pain, we work to avoid future problems by making sure you move in the healthiest way possible!

Content provided by Dr. Drew Hunt