It’s scary to think that there are many exercise and training methods commonly used that do nothing for your body, and worse still, can be quite dangerous. But it isn’t all doom and gloom, there are also many simple exercises that are great for any body type. We’ve compiled a list of the worst and best exercises for your body.
Machine Leg Extensions
If you’ve ever been in a gym, you’ve probably seen this one frequently. However, there are no functional benefits to the machine leg extension and much better ways at targeting your quads. The movement is also incredibly dangerous for your knees, as they aren’t designed to carry weight at that angle. Knee damage is serious business, as they are notoriously bad at healing.
Commonly used to tone the back of the arms, triceps dips are actually quite dangerous for the smaller muscles in the shoulders rotator cuffs. The strain of the movement can easily overwork the shoulders, which aren’t used to carrying your body weight at this angle. Once your upper arms are behind your torso, they become weaker and the risk of injury is quite high.
Traditional Crunches and Sit-ups
Yes, unfortunately the beloved sit-up can be quite bad for you, if not done properly. Although one of the most common exercises, the crunch or sit-up can actually put strain on your back and neck. Also, the exercise only targets the middle abdominal muscles, making it ineffective when it comes to stomach strengthening and toning overall.
Cardio is important to maintain health and fitness, but extended sessions can have a harmful effect on your strength training as it burns off muscle mass. High intensity cardio for over 45 minutes may start to have a negative effect on any muscles you’re trying to build and tone, so keep cardio sessions effective by staying around the 30 minutes mark.
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Many people dread the squat, but the simple movement shouldn’t be avoided. There are many variations, such as the narrow, sumo, and single leg squat, and all of them are great at targeting the hips, glutes, and hamstrings. If done right, the squat can also strengthen your core and upper-body, improving your posture along the way. Just make sure you’re doing your chosen squat correctly, as it could put strain on your knees and ankles otherwise.
Again, not the most loved of exercises, but the burpee is exceptionally effective at working multiple muscles all over the body. You move from standing to a squat, then put your hands on the ground and kick your feet backwards, moving into a push-up. From there you bring your legs back towards the body and jump out of your crouch with a leap. Just remember to give yourself time to learn all the movements. Try going through it slowly a couple of times before picking up the pace.
It may seem too simple for some, but walking is an easy and functional way to fit exercise into your day, and everyone can do it. The movement efficiently targets the glutes, quads, and the muscles along the lower leg, while also picking up the heart rate. If you want something with a higher intensity, including running intervals is a good alternative. Don’t forget, if you’re walking or running outside it is important to make sure that you are visible as well! Safety is just as important as health.
The best thing about swimming is the body’s buoyancy in the water, which puts less strain on the joints. If you experience any joint pain, the low weight bearing exercise will work wonders, while also burning calories and working your leg and arm muscles. If you want something with a bit more intensity, water aerobics are also a good option.
So next time you hit the gym, make sure you do the right thing by your body and choose exercises which are safe and effective. Remember activities that work the whole body are going to get you better results. That being said, don’t forget to make sure your wearing the right gear too! Loose, poorly made sportswear can hamper movement and be just plain annoying.