10 Surprisingly Dangerous Exercises | Fitbie

Exercise Injuries and Workout Risks

10 Surprisingly Dangerous Exercises

Many basic moves pose serious risks for the average exerciser. Find out what they are—and proceed with caution

Common Exercises That Can Do Major Damage

10 Surprisingly Dangerous Exercises // shoulder press © Beth Bischoff

Image: Beth Bischoff

In 2009, running back Stafon Johnson nearly lost his football career—and his life—while performing an exercise. A barbell, holding 275 pounds, crushed his neck and larynx, requiring emergency surgeries.

The exercise that almost killed the USC runner, who signed last year with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent, wasn't an ultra-risky, exotic lift. It was the bench press.

Even if you don’t drop the weight and injure your sternum or neck, as many men do each year, the bench press can still ruin your shoulders, says Jeremy Frisch, owner and director of Achieve Performance Training in Clinton, MA. (See a video demonstration of how to do a bench press correctly.)

“[People] try to go heavy, and the weight comes down to their shoulders instead of their lower pecs. They get their back way off the bench, pushing with their feet. They’re completely out of position,” he explains. Lowering the weight to the shoulder can lead to pain and injury in the joint, and lifting your back can result in pain, while lowering the effectiveness of the press.

“Your arms should be tight to the body, and your forearms should be moving straight up and down,” Frisch says. For most, this means using less weight to control the load. You’ll get more work for your chest and arms while reducing injury risk.

“When you choose to run or swing a kettlebell or do a pullup or any exercise, you’re stepping into a place where there is inherent risk,” says David Jack, director of Teamworks Fitness in Acton, MA. Learning the proper form for an exercise and mastering it, he says, is the key to minimizing that risk.

Like the bench press, if done improperly, these nine other moves can destroy your knees, shoulders, back, and neck. Use these tips to perform them safely or swap for a more effective, injury-free move.

Related: The smart and safe way to lose weight.

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