Fitness pros from O Magazine have comprised a list of five exercises you may think are beneficial, but could be swapped with an alternative exercise for optimal results and comfort.
The first exercise is crunches. Although they are a great abdominal exercise when done correctly, they are very hard on our discs in the spinal cord. A better option is planks. Planks keep the core in a neutral position to alleviate back pressure while also working your obliques to stabilize you.
The second exercise is straight-leg dead lifts. Bending forward with straight legs puts immense pressure on the invertebral discs. And while you’re supposed to use your hamstrings to pull you up, many people lift with their back, which can lead to a herniated disc. Swap this with “bird dogs”. On all fours keep your hands under your shoulders and hips under your knees. Extend your right arm straight out in front of you and your left leg out behind you. Raise your arm to shoulder height. At the same time, straighten your left leg and raise it to hip height. Hold for one count and release. Do 10 reps. Then switch to the left arm and right leg. Repeat three times.
Leg extensions with a machine. Although the machine works the quadriceps, it neglects the hamstrings which can lead to strain. Instead, try lunges to test your balance and work muscles in the pelvic area as well as the entire leg. For maximum results, try using hand weights for an added bonus.
The squatting dumbbell front raise can easily strain the muscles in your neck and back. Instead, separate the movements doing dumbbell front raises, and then squats.
The fifth exercise to be swapped is the triceps extension, usually done with a machine at the gym. Many people don’t have the range of movement and shoulder flexibility to properly execute tricep extensions. Instead opt for tricep push-ups that work the chest, shoulders and biceps.