Have you seen that video of the guy in the gym and all of the strange exercises he sees people doing?
Some of these things really happen, folks. Sometimes these things are funny, but not dangerous, like people dancing while they’re on the treadmill. However, sometimes exercises, even “normal” appearing ones, can be dangerous. Here’s a primer on things to watch out for when you’re exercising.
Exercises that twist joints that are not made to twist–Joints like your knees and elbows are not made to twist. (OK, technically the knee joints twist a teensy bit to lock.) So anything that twists knees and elbows is asking for trouble.
Behind the head lat pulldowns–These put a lot of strain on the neck and can stress the rotator cuffs. Lat pulldowns can be done. Just do them in front of the head with the bar pulling down to the chest.
Heavy weights straight over the head–This can also put the rotator cuff at risk. The middle fibers of the deltoids pull straight up on the arm bone (humerus). The muscles that counter that, mostly the lats, pull down at an angle. Over-strengthening the middle area of the deltoids can cause the space in the shoulders that the rotator cuff muscles pass through to narrow. This leads to rubbing on the rotator cuff muscles, pain, and potentially rupture if it goes on too long. I know that the deltoids are visible when we’re sleeveless, so it’s fine to exercise these. Just push weights up in front of you, not straight up.
Poor form for squats–Letting the knees go out past the toes puts a lot of sheer force on the knees. Much to my dance teachers’ dismay, I always advise people to stick their tushies out when they do squats, haha!
There are other exercises that are less than ideal, but these are the most common and will get you off to a safe start!