6 Common Exercises That Are Actually Bad for You

No matter what some money-grubbing, greased-up, meathead trainer may tell you, there are, in fact, exercises that are bad for your body. But in our society, pain equals gain, and if you already have issues with your looks and constantly compare your physique with thoroughly Photoshopped swimsuit models, be they male or female, you might be tempted to do some really stupid and physically harmful exercises. Talk to a reputable trainer about how to exercise correctly, and if something hurts, stop. Here are six common exercises that you should avoid, if only because there are many healthy alternatives out there that will give you better results and won’t take a toll on your body.

  1. Sit-ups:

    Who was the idiot that invented the sit-up? The flat legged sit-up, or any sit-up done with an incorrect posture, has the potential to create or aggravate existing problems in your lower back, as well as compress your spine, strain and tear muscles, and damage cervical ligaments. Even when performed correctly, sit-ups and supposedly more benign crunches still create an unhealthy amount of pressure in your abdomen and skull while straining your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

  2. Behind-the-neck presses:

    Need a quick way to experience a herniated spinal disk? Just do some behind-neck-presses with something incredibly heavy, like barbells or a small car. Once you’ve tasted the strain and pain of breaking your spinal alignment, you can look forward to the feeling of your spinal column being crushed. Overextending your shoulders and wrists, as well as awkwardly projecting your head forward since what you’re lifting is both heavy as hell and inflexible, throws your spine out of alignment and increases your chance of sustaining a serious injury.

  3. Jogging:

    Jogging on a hard surface, like, you know, the ground, will strain and damage the cartilage in your knees, possibly leading to stress fractures and even tendonitis. Most people need to be taught how to run properly, but even then, the physical damage sustained over time from jogging outweighs its benefits. Consider instead hiking, swimming, walking, or biking, all of which are equally beneficial forms of outdoor exercise.

  4. Upright rows:

    Why on earth do you need stronger wrists? If you’re a pianist, guitarist, or perhaps a professional juggler, wrist strength might be something you strive for. Upright rows, a weightlifting exercise where you pick up a pair of barbells with your palms facing your body are supposed to “strengthen the deltoid and upper trapezius muscles.” What upper rows actually do is place an insane amount of stress on your wrists and shoulders, causing serious damage to (you guessed it) your wrists and shoulders. Whoever invented this exercise must have thought sit-ups weren’t causing people enough agony.

  5. Seated leg extensions:

    More weight-lifting madness: seated leg extensions. Why is it so many of these exercises are so brutal on the knees? This form of torture is designed to strengthen the muscles in front of your thighs by putting an enormous amount of unnatural stress on your knees, especially as you bring them toward you to lower the weight. Free weight and split squats are a safer alternative for toning those forward thigh muscles.

  6. Inner and outer thigh machine exercises:

    This exercise seems harmless enough. You just sit in a machine and open and close your thighs until the cows come home. Goodbye cellulite, right? The problem is your inner and outer thighs are there to support weight, not to lift it. Exercising the inner and outer thighs in this way can lead to unhealthy muscle strains and aggravate or damage your back and hips. But hey, at least your knees will be OK!