The Gym Exercises That Could Cause Your Next Injury

Workout Injuries, Back Injuries, Knee Injuries


Exercise is a great way to stay healthy, but if you aren’t careful, you could do more harm than good. Check out the risky exercises to stay aware of next time you’re at the gym!

Going to the gym is a great way to stay fit, but depending on your age, fitness level, and history of injuries, there are certain exercises you might want to avoid to prevent injuries. Lifestyle choices can also increase your risks. Those who spend their day sitting at a desk before hitting the gym after work, can be particularly susceptible to injuries during a strenuous workout because their muscles and joints are not utilized often enough during the day.

While everyone’s level of fitness, the key to a successful, long-term exercise routine is to gradually and safely increase strenuousness. It’s also critical that you know how to perform each exercise correctly (and with an appropriate amount of weight) to reduce the risk of injury. Below are four of the most common exercises that can result in chronic injury if not executed properly.

1. Lower Back Injuries: Overhead Standing Lift

When executed properly this exercise distributes weight evenly across the shoulders and spine and is a great way to tone the shoulders. The problem is that many people add too much weight to the bar, which causes them to hold the bar slightly in front of their body. When this happens, the weight distribution is altered and can place a tremendous amount of force on the spine.

Another common mistake many make during this exercise is arching the back to help push the bar upward. Although this may make it easier to lift more weight, overhead lifting while the back is arched creates substantial downward force on the spine, which can result in disc herniations.

2. Knee injuries: Weighted Leg Extensions

This exercise is an essential part of any “leg day” and, when executed properly, is a great way to strengthen the quadricep muscles in the leg. But again many people run into a problem here. They believe that more weight and reps will lead to better results. Unfortunately, the opposite can be true as excess weight and reps can lead to inflammation of the cartilage behind the kneecap. This inflammation results in pain known as patella-femoral pain, which can make it difficult to walk, stand from a seated position, or kneel.

3. Hip Injuries: The Treadmill

Cardio is an integral part of any fitness routine and the staple favorite for cardio has always been the treadmill. However, for many people, jogging or running on a treadmill forces them to change their gait to compensate for the narrow path or fast pace of the treadmill.

That may not seem like a big issue, but when the gait is altered, the IT band and hip flexors can become strained due to muscular imbalances in the knees and hips. This excessive strain can cause inflammation of the joints in the hip as well as tendonitis or bursitis of the hip. To reduce risk, work up to your desired speed over the course of at least a few days and practice your form while you run.

4. Elbow Injuries: Bicep Curls

For those who want sculpted arms, biceps curls are an exercise that can quickly help you achieve noticeable results. However, weight is not always the key factor in achieving results and can actually cause injury to the elbow — which means you may have to stop doing curls altogether. Trying to curl too much weight causes you to alter the normal range of motion in the elbow and “swing” the dumbbell instead of curling it. This swinging motion, coupled with heavy weight, is a recipe for injury. Remember: never add on more weight than you can handle while curling the dumbbell slowly.

Another important thing to be aware of to reduce risk of injury during biceps curls is the position of your wrists. If the wrists are bent inward toward the body, the weight will be distributed unevenly across the arm with most of the weight being placed on the tendons and flexors of the forearm.

Improper weight or form causes forearm and elbow tendons and flexors to become irritated or inflamed (known as tendinitis) and result in substantial pain and discomfort in the elbow.

Are You Experiencing Pain After a Trip to the Gym?

If you think you might have injured yourself at the gym (or if you have any other pain you’re worried about), it’s best to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist right away. At All Sports Physical Therapy our specialists have the expertise to determine the best course of action to help you feel your best. Delivering premier physical therapy, sports medicine, surgery rehabilitation, and more, All Sports has everything you need to start feeling your best today!

Contact us today at 212-759-8899 to schedule an appointment at either of our convenient locations!

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