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10 Exercises to Avoid to Save Yourself from Injury

10 Exercises to Avoid to Save Yourself from Injury

In the world of fitness, it goes without saying that as much as there is to gain from it; you can lose in equal portion, or even more if you don’t follow the rules or overestimate yourself by thinking you are a know-it-all. A lack of awareness often results in people performing routines and exercises that end up having disastrous results for them. There are some exercises that should not be performed by anyone, anytime and anywhere under any circumstances. So, what are we specifically talking about, you wonder? Well, look no further because here we are, presenting the ten exercises to avoid in order to save yourself from injury.

Exercises to Avoid to Prevent Injury

Some of the exercises that we have mentioned in this article may already be part of your workout regime and we do understand how difficult it is to drop or even in some situations add a new routine to your schedule because you think your body has adjusted well to it. Therefore, we are not only listing out the exercises you need to avoid, but we are also providing their closest alternates that are healthy and would function in a similar manner (minus the drawback) to the exercise that we are asking you to avoid.

1. Machine Leg Extensions

Machine Leg Extensions - Exercise to Avoid

Renowned personal trainer and strength coach Mike Donavanik has recently stated that there are no functional benefits to leg extensions. In addition, our knees are not designed to carry that much weight from that particular angle and doing so, makes us more susceptible to injuries. Just think about it in a practical manner; how often do you sit around and kick around your legs? Not often, right? So, why feel the necessity to perform this in the gym? Remember, any exercise that doesn’t use the natural movement of your body in ways that comply with real-world motions is problematic. Go for lifting exercises instead to get long-term benefits.

Alternates – Lunges, Deadlifts, Squats, Step-ups

2. Shoulder Press behind Head

Shoulder Press behind Head - Dangerous Exercise

It has been seen that shoulder presses that are performed behind the head have no benefits to them at all; instead, they make you more prone to injuries. This specific exercise is extremely dangerous and should be avoided as soon as possible since it puts your shoulder joints at high risk.  It locks down the joints at your collarbone, sternum and shoulder blades while inhabiting arm movements.

Alternates – Overhead Shoulder Press

3. Triceps Dips

Triceps Dips - Workout to Avoid

Award-winning fitness journalist Lou Schuler has stated that it’s a risk to lift your bodyweight when your upper arms are kept behind your torso. You may train your triceps through this, but you will inadvertently end up overloading the muscles that comprise the rotator cuff of your shoulder. Damage to these muscles will force you to withdraw yourself from performing simple everyday activities such as washing your hair.

Alternates – Triceps Push-Ups, Cable Pushdowns, Close-Grip Bench Presses

4. Squats with Exercise Ball

Squats with Exercise Ball - Workouts with Injury Risks

Next up on our list of exercises to avoid is squatting with an exercise ball. Contrary to popular belief, using an exercise ball doesn’t increase your knee stability and tracking while performing squats. More and more personal trainers these days are refusing to use it since they believe that holding the ball between the legs strengthens the adductors and increases the chance of your knees collapsing once the ball is removed.  You can go visit any multi-gym near you and speak to the professionals there if you don’t believe us. The argument that the ball prevents the knees from caving in is nothing but an illusion.

Alternates – Thera Band Squats

5. The Elliptical

The Elliptical - Exercises to Avoid

We understand the fascination of ellipticals –They are easy to perform and they have a rhythm to them which makes them fun to perform. However, as per certified fitness coach Christian Fox, people performing elliptical mostly results in people slacking because they generally move through a relatively small range of motion. Moreover, the recent economical designs have made the size of these machines much smaller, thereby lessening its effectiveness to a large extent. You basically need to hit a gym near you and perform exercises that would incorporate a lot of muscles into your movement.

Alternates – Rowing Machine

6. Upright Rows

Upright Rows - Workouts to Avoid

Experts claim that you will be susceptible to pain and inflammation in your shoulder joints while performing upright rows more than you can ever imagine. If you don’t want to dislocate or incur permanent shoulder damage in the future, then you have to put an end to this exercise as soon as possible.

Alternates – Dumbbell Front Raises

7. Lat Pulldowns behind Head

Lat Pulldowns behind Head

As we have stated before, forcing the body to perform a bodily movement that it is not designed to perform can have problematic results. This rule applies to our next exercise here – the lat pulldowns behind the head. This is also one of the exercises to avoid since it forces your shoulder to work at an angle that it is not designed for, resulting in tears and inflammation in the rotator cuff muscles of your shoulder.  What is worse is the fact that you don’t even realize the damage that it does to your body in the heat of the moment because you are in such an adrenaline rush when you perform this. Furthermore, there’s always the risk of getting an injury in your head while performing this; and the only way to avoid injury to your head is by extending your head forward, which puts more stress on your spine. So, it’s a loss from both ends.

Alternates– Kneeling Band Pulldowns

8. Seated Torso

Seated Torso - Workout with Injury Risks

Next, up on our list of exercises, you should avoid is the seated torse, which although seems harmless, leads to some serious adverse effects to your body. While using a seated torso rotation machine, you will notice that your pelvis doesn’t move as you rotate your upper body. Exercise Psychologist Jessica Matthews opines that this puts a huge twist force on your spine. Multi-gyms in Kolkata such as Starmark also shares the same thought as of Matthews. They think that this exercise, despite its claims, doesn’t fulfill the objective of reducing fat from a particular portion of the body.

Alternates – Wood Chops

9. 45-Degree Leg Press

45-Degree Leg Press - Exercises to Avoid

Leg presses are extremely dangerous since they put a lot of force on your hips and knees, which in turn, can result in injuries. The same is true for 45-degree leg press, which is widely popular among gym enthusiasts across the globe. Instead, try to perform an exercise that will give definition and strength to your legs while also engaging your core and improving your balance.

Alternates – Bulgarian Split Squats

10. Smith Machine Squats

Smith Machine Squats - Exercises You Should Not Do

Smith machine squats should be avoided because when you lower your body into a squat position using a smith machine, your back stands in a perpendicular position to the ground, almost perfectly straight, which has the potential to cause stress to your vertebrae. Besides, this exercise also requires you to lean back into the bar, which puts too much unnecessary pressure on your knees.

Alternates – Weighted Squats


There is a reason why it is always advised to get guided by a professional trainer, at least for a beginner. Not only do they know the nuances of workouts, but they also guide you into personalizing different types of exercises to suit your body and health. Therefore, speak to your trainers regarding your health and the kind of goals you aspire to achieve through workout. With the information provided by us and the help of a personal trainer, you would be in a better position to know which exercises to avoid and which one you need to stress upon. So, know more about health to live healthily!