The body is amazing and is capable of so many movements
BUT there are some movements that are inefficient, ineffective and outright dangerous
Walk into any big box gym and unfortunately you will see many of these
1 – Bench dips
People have been doing dips for years and shoulder injuries have been around for as long as I can remember
Bench dips put excessive shearing forces and huge amounts of strain through a compromised shoulder position
Structural anatomy tells us that the shoulder won’t be happy if you try and move heavy loads from an excessive internally rotated position – The exact position on a bench dip
The head of the humerus slides forward in front of the clavicle and encourages shoulder impingement
A better option – close grip push ups or dips from a dip bar (if you were wondering the dip bar – it’s the angle of the torso relative to the shoulders that makes a difference)
2 – Smith machine bench press (or squat, deadlift, shoulder press)
The smith machine bench press or any other exercise on the smith machine will wreck your joints.
The smith machine is a bar that is held on runners and moves in a fixed motion – up and down.
Many gym goers love the smith bench because not only can you load it up with more weight than you could on a regular bench but it is also thought to be safe as you can rack the bar at any point
The problem with the smith machine bench is that it doesn’t mimic your natural movement path. Your arms are forced into the alignment of the machine and using the same line of movement over and over puts excessive stress on the shoulders and elbows
Because the bar is fixed you require less stabiliser muscles to control the weight and it’s these stabiliser muscles that keep a shoulder or elbow happy.
A better option – The dumbbell chest press
3 – The kipping pull up
The kipping pull up is a variation on the pull up where you swing from your hips and then pull from your shoulders to get yourself over the bar
It’s a – how much body momentum can I create to pull myself up over the bar exercise
The thing is that I don’t actually believe that the kipping pull up is inherently bad it’s just that you need a solid foundation of integrity within your joints before you can perform them. A beginner who doesn’t have a solid foundation could be potentially be at risk of a joint, ligament or tendon injury
If you can’t perform at least 5 strict pull ups then you have no place doing the kipping pull up.
Master the pull up and then work on the kipping pull up
Better option – The pull up
4 – Distance running when you don’t own enough strength in your body
I love running and think it is a fantastic form of movement. The problem is however too many don’t have the strength to do it well.
Running requires huge amounts of core strength, hip mobility, knee stability, thoracic spine mobility, foot stability and ankle mobility. And it requires them to all work in perfect unity with each other
If any of these components are compromised because you sit too much, drive too much, text too much or spend 90% of your day with shitty posture then I give it 4 weeks before you’re injured or feel some niggles
Unstable foot – flat, pronated foot strike
Unstable knee – valgus knee drop potential ACL injury
Unstable core – excessive arching and lower back pain
Tight hips – back pain or compensation through gait resulting in bunions
Tight thoracic spine – poor biomechanical breathing
The list goes on and on
Running on these are going to cause problems
Better option – Get a Functional Movement Screen done and identify any possible red flags
5 – Partial squats
Sometimes squats get a bad rep – mostly because people can’t do them well.
‘Squats hurt my knees’ – Nope! the way you squat hurts your knees
Anyway some ‘’so called’ smartie pants created the partial squat as it was believed to be a safer option
The problem with partial squats is that they don’t activate all the muscles a squat does. The glutes – those all important powerhouses get maximum recruitment when your hip crease is lower than your knee crease or as I say ‘’ass to grass’’.
The hamstrings and adductors don’t fire as they would in a full squat and this often leads to imbalances and quad dominants
Better option – Learn to squat like a baby.
Be smart and perform movements and exercises that will keep you safe, injury free and are effective