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This Month In Body
  • The Ineffective Workout
    You’ve committed time and effort into a workout routine. The last thing you want is to hear that what you’re doing isn’t working, isn’t worth the effort, or may lead to injury. But it may be doing just that. Read >>
  • Treadmill Routines
    If your treadmill workouts are getting boring or you don’t feel like you’re being challenged enough, it may be time to add a little variety to your workout. With the right techniques, a workout on the treadmill can be one of the most efficient ways to burn calories and improve your fitness level. Read >>
  • The Arms You Want
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  • Burn, Baby, Burn!
    Once you find a workout that you feel comfortable doing and one that you enjoy, implement these tricks to make it more challenging. At the same time, you’ll burn more calories and shed more pounds! Read >>
Health and Fitness News
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The Ineffective Workout

Seven exercises that will keep your workout from working out.

You’ve committed time and effort into a workout routine. The last thing you want is to hear that what you’re doing isn’t working, isn’t worth the effort, or may lead to injury. But it may be doing just that.

Here are a few exercises experts say you should either avoid or learn to do differently for your safety and health.

Lat Pull-Down (Behind Your Head)

A great exercise to work your lats (the large muscles on the side of your back) is the lat pull-down. Unfortunately, it’s often done with improper form. If the bar is pulled down behind your head and you’re not sitting perfectly straight (which most people don’t), it could lead to shoulder impingement (bone rubbing against tendon leading to pain and inflammation) or even a torn rotator cuff.

Instead of pulling the bar down behind your head, lean back slightly on the bench, grasp the bar and pull it down in front of your head toward your breastbone.

Military Press (Behind Your Head)

Working your shoulders and arms, the military press is another exercise that may cause similar injuries as the lat pull-down when the weight is lowered behind your head.

To perform a safe military press, stand upright or sit straight on a bench leaning against a back support. Hold the bar or dumbbells in front of you, no lower than your collarbone, then lift the weights up above your head and lower down in front of your face to chin level.

Leg Press (With Over-Bent Knees)

The leg press works your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, making it an effective leg workout. That is, unless it’s done in improper form.

For a proper leg press, lie on your back and push the plate up and down with your feet. As the plate comes toward you, it may be a temptation to bend your knees past 90 degrees and then push with your feet. This tight bend may injure your knees, and pushing with your feet in this cramped position may injure your back. Keep your bottom on the machine and don’t let your knees bend past 90 degrees and you should be fine.

Upright Row

Another risky exercise is the upright row. When you place your hands close together on a barbell and pull up toward your chin, your wrists may be strained, the nerves in your shoulders may become compressed, or your shoulders may become impinged.

Rather than doing upright rows to work your shoulders, try frontal or lateral shoulder raises instead. This gives you a similar workout without the inherent risk.

Smith Machine Squats

For a squat using the Smith machine, you rest a barbell on your shoulders, and the barbell is on a sliding track that allows the barbell to move straight up and down. This movement forces your body into unnatural positions and puts strain on your back and knees.

You don’t have to use weights when doing squats, but if you choose to use a barbell, keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight while you bend your legs as if to sit in a chair. Then stand back up. Keep your body weight over your feet. And don’t use a Smith machine. Go with free weights in a squat rack instead.

Hip Adductor and Hip Abductor Machines

The adductor works your inner thighs and the abductor your outer thighs. Most people use these two machines hoping to spot reduce their thighs. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. Your muscles may firm up, but the layer of fat will still be there. As these two machines require unnatural body movements and produce little if any results, your best bet for thigh-related weight loss is to get plenty of cardio exercise.

Side Bends

Similar to the hip machines, side bends are another exercise that done with spot reduction in mind. By holding dumbbells and bending to either side, people hope to shrink their love handles. Like other spot-reduction exercises, it doesn’t work this way, and such a movement will strain the lower back. Again, if you want to lose abdominal fat, up your cardio exercise.