There are numerous myths about various exercises that new and old fitness enthusiasts seem to be adhering to day in and day out. Many exercises that are considered beneficial are indeed not so. As a matter of fact, they can prove to be detrimental in certain ways. Here we take a look at the top 3 worst exercises and their best available replacement options.
Worst Exercise # 1: Sit Ups
Surprised? Rightfully so, since we have been told since childhood that sit ups are great in order to work the abs. But what we haven’t been told is that sit ups also put a lot of pressure on the lumbar region each time we get our back off the floor and into a sitting position. This is an exercise with the worst effects on the health of the lower back. It may in fact lead to lower back problems and pain.
Best Replacement Exercise for Sit Ups: Try crunches. They don’t only work the same set of muscles i.e. abs, in a great way but also do not put that horrible pressure on the lower back. All variations of crunches are great replacements for sit ups. Add further intensity by performing the act on a stability ball which will provide added support to your back.
Worst Exercise # 2: Behind the Neck Lat Pulldowns
Behind the neck lat pulldowns are mysteriously yet unduly popular. This needs to change in lieu of the fact that this is actually the worst exercise for increasing your chances of injury to the neck or the shoulder muscle. Moreover, people tend to pull their neck forward while performing this exercise instead of leaning slightly forward, which puts the cervical spine at an increased risk of injury. What does this mean? Stop performing Behind the Neck Lat Pulldowns and find an alternative.
Best Replacement Exercise for Behind the Neck Lat Pulldowns
The simplest yet more effective alternative is to perform the Lat Pulldown in the front or what is called the reverse lat pulldown. In order to perform this one all you need to do is change your holding position so that your palms are facing your body and the move ends coming down to your upper chest. This will not only save you the risk of injury but will also work better towards building muscle.
Worst Exercise # 3: Behind the Neck Shoulder Press
Yes, this is another one of those favorite behind the neck moves. This one is often performed with a body bar or barbell held behind the neck. This not only twists the shoulder joint unnaturally but also rotates it externally, which can result in a terrible interference with the natural rotation of the shoulder rotator cuff and a tearing off of the related muscles and tendons. These moves have even been known to over stretch and extremely loosen the ligaments of the shoulder joint. So much so that one may require surgery to get them fixed. Not a great thought!
Best Replacement Exercise for Behind the Neck Shoulder Press
Use dumbbell presses instead. Dumbbells will not interfere with the natural rotation of the shoulder and will go easy on shoulder joints, at the same time building muscle.