Jul 26 2013
Going around correcting peoples technique is a tireless and thankless job. We are generally met with a comment such as: “well I’ve been performing this exercise for years without any problem.” To which I sigh and say “We’ll that’s great, but people have been smoking for years without developing emphysema,…
Going around correcting peoples technique is a tireless and thankless job. We are generally met with a comment such as: “well I’ve been performing this exercise for years without any problem.” To which I sigh and say “We’ll that’s great, but people have been smoking for years without developing emphysema, but I still wouldn’t recommend you start up smoking.” Unless the exercise has allowed you to quit your job to become a. a fitness model b. a strong man or c. a pro athlete you can probably change it or remove it completely from your routine. Here are my 3 exercise techniques to avoid if you don’t want to injure yourself…
- Asymmetrical Running.
This is the equivalent of driving your car with a slightly wonky wheel. This minor misalignment may allow you to get a couple of hundred miles out, but eventually your tyre will blow. Not many people take note of their technique when running, you simply plod along. When running, if you find that one arm is performing a movement different from the other, then something is wrong. You might have a tight muscle or joint that you are protecting, which can lead to a movement pattern a little like ‘speed limping’. This can also be detected if you look at how your legs are moving. If one leg flicks whilst the other drives forward – same thing. Your running style should be fluid, not jerky or lopsided.
Tip – Don’t get a gate analysis at a running shop. A new pair of shoes is not what you need. Find someone who can watch you run & review your flexibility, a coach who understands the biomechanics of your sport (the proper interrelation between how your muscles should move performing a given movement). Especially if running is your sole form of exercise, you can’t afford not to.
2. Resistance Exercises performed with the bar traveling behind your head e.g shoulder press & lat pull down.
If you work behind a desk, this is really not the exercise for you. Everyone know that as you spend time bent over your desk, your posture is negatively affected. Your head begins to jut forward and your shoulders round. As a result your shoulders internal mechanism becomes cramped and misaligned. If we then try and perform an exercise where you try and jam your shoulders where they used to be, in a range you’ve now lost – shoulder damage is inevitable.
Tip – there is no proven difference between muscular recruitment when these exercises are performed in front or behind your head. So you shouldn’t lose any gains from switching the movement to the front. Alternatively and best, work on your shoulder mobility. Depending on how rounded your shoulders are, you may only need a few stretches, if it’s more severe you may need a course of assisted stretching (Fascial Stretch Therapy) – you don’t have to go to the gym to suffer shoulder dysfunction.
Arguably the most effective exercise you can perform. My clients and I will perform a variation of this lift every week due to its effective benefits. However, with such great benefit also comes great risk. If you load a bar and then attempt to lift it from the floor with poor technique i.e. a rounded back (see above), you may as well take shares out at your local spinal clinic. The DL is a tremendously technical lift, done well some people can lift a metric tonne off the floor, done badly, you can pull your back or burst a disk lifting just 60kg.
Through experience I’ve found that If your spend >80% of your day sitting, then by the age of 35 you will have lost the ability to control your musculature in your back. From this point, getting into the right position to safely pick up the weight will take weeks or even months to master. Ironically a correctly performed DL is the one of the best ways to ensure a healthy back.
Tip – Get someone who can DL at least twice their body weight to coach you, (as you cannot cheat the movement at these resistances). Even a few hours with a pro can improve your lift whilst teaching you how to recruit your back muscles.
My job as a coach is to increase the amount of effective fitness sessions our clients perform each year. Injury is obviously one way we cannot satisfy this.
The above exercises are the main culprits we see when clients come to us already injured, or the ones we remove to keep them injury free. Some of the tips above do require you to invest some money to resolve, but no one ever regretted spending money on their health.
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