5 Exercises Women Should Avoid

Monday, August 8, 2011

When women exercise, the major goal is to lose weight and tone muscles. Women prefer aerobic exercises and working with exercise machines. Because a woman's bones are thinner, they have less muscle mass and a different distribution of body fat. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control looked at exercise-related injuries among military women and found that women had a much greater percentage of bone stress fractures than men caused by training exercises. The women with injuries generally started out with a low level of fitness, overweight, and exercised excessively. You can become fit and protect yourself from injury by avoiding certain exercises.

1. Avoid behind the neck lat pull-downs

In this exercise, pull a weighted bar down behind your head and neck while sitting. When people do this exercise, they tend to lose alignment, because they move their heads forward. This can lead to injury of muscle and ligaments in the shoulders and can even tear the rotator cuff. Even worse, people may hit their neck with the bar and injure neck vertebrae.

Good alternative to "behind the neck lat pull-downs"

Lean back on the pull-down machine and bring the weighted bar down in front. Pull shoulder blades down and together. This exercise may work more muscles than the "behind the neck lat-pull-downs".

2. Avoid behind the neck shoulder presses

In this exercise, you lift body bars or weights behind the neck at the shoulder level. This exercise over-stretches the ligaments in your shoulder area and can cause tears in shoulder muscles, tendons and the rotator cuff.

Good alternative to "behind the neck shoulder presses"

When doing the shoulder press, keep weights or the bar in front of your neck and head. Make sure you don't go lower than your collarbone when you press up and down.

3. Avoid upright row

In this exercise you pull a barbell or weighted cabled bar up under you chin. This exercise can injure the nerves in your shoulder area.

Good alternative to "upright row"

Lift weights to the front or side of the body. This exercise effectively works the muscles of the back and biceps.

4. Avoid lying leg press with weighted plate

While lying on your back, you push a weighted plate up and down with your feet to work the quadriceps, hamstring and gluteus. This exercise is dangerous when your knees are bent too deeply. It strains your muscles and can injure you knees and spinal disks.

Good alternative to "lying leg press with weighted plate"

Squats or lunges work the same muscles as the lying leg presses and are much safer. Squats are one of the best exercises, because they target the most muscle groups at once. Lunges work the same muscle groups and in addition improve balance.

5. Avoid sit-ups

This is such a common exercise that people don't realize that it can result in injury, especially if you are not fit. This exercise puts strain on the lumber region of your spine and can result in chronic back pain.

Good alternative to "sit-ups"

The crunch, in its many variations, targets the same muscles as sit-ups without injuring the lower back. It is a great exercise for flattening your abdomen if done correctly.

Sources

CDC: Exercise-Related Injuries Among Women: Strategies for Prevention from Civilian and Military Studies (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr4902a3.htm)

AskTheTrainer.com: Best Exercises for Women (http://askthetrainer.com/best-exercises-for-women.html)

WebMD: 9 Least Effective Exercises (http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/9-least-effective-exercises)

Web MD 7 Most Effective Exercises (http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/7-most-effective-exercises)

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