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Avoid These Pain Causing Exercises

Some of my best clients for massage are weekend warriors who give their all in the gym or on the playing field... Hey - no pain, no gain – right?

Well, in most cases, the saying is true. But that's not always the case with exercise. In fact, some exercise-induced pain simply can't be treated with massage, but CAN put you on the injured list for a very long time. So before you go to the gym all “Beast Mode” with a no-holds-bar attitude, remember which exercises to avoid. These are six common ones that can leave you hurting for an uncommonly long time.

#1: Behind-the-Head Military Press
It looks good when done properly, but rarely is. By doing this exercise with incorrect posture and technique, you run the risk of painful pinching and inflammation of the shoulder tendons. In rare cases, you may even suffer a tear in the rotator cuff. The same danger is present in other behind-the-head exercises, so be cautious any time you hold weights in a position that places them behind your head.

2: Deep Bend Leg Presses
If done properly, there is nothing wrong with leg presses. The problem comes when you over-zealously or ignorantly bend your legs too much. In order to get a good workout without causing damage to your back and knees, avoid bending your legs at the knee more than 90 degrees. If you have a hard time keeping your knees from slamming against your chest, reduce the weight you’re pushing until you have better control.

3: On Your Back
There are a number of exercises that require you to lie on your back with your feet in the air. Whether pretending to ride a bicycle in the air with your back on the ground, or some other inverted exercise, be cautious before getting started. These exercises cause unnecessary strain on the neck's nerves, ligaments and spine, and can result in long-term, irreversible damage.

4: Upright Rowing
Much like the behind-the-head military press, upright rowing (pulling weights up toward your chin) can cause shoulder impingement and other damage to nerves in the shoulder, too.

5: Sloppy Stair Steppers
After spending 30 minutes on the stair stepper or stationary bike, you may have the urge to lean on the machine's handles. Don't! Doing so may make you feel slightly relieved, but the benefits are only temporary. If you're not careful, you could hurt your elbows, shoulders, and even spine. On top of that, your lack of posture prevents your body from the workout it deserves.

6: Overkill on Anything
Want to get great abs? Do more push-ups. Want to sculpt your triceps? Do some squats. By putting all of your attention on a certain muscle, you run the risk of ignoring your other muscles and suffering future injury to them. There's nothing wrong with targeting a muscle or muscle group for improvement. Just remember the rest of your body needs the same attention, too.

Oh, and one more thing... What’s my take on using a Weight Belt?
There is something you should know about that weight belt: it may be keeping you from getting a full body workout. Yes, it keeps you from messing up your body, but if used in excess, it may also prevent your core muscles from having to work as hard as needed to keep them strong. You don't have to toss your treasured belt in the trash, though. Just don't use it unless you have a medical reason or you're doing some exceptionally heavy lifting.

Avoiding these exercises, using a common sense approach when your body experiences pain, and getting a great sports massage on a regular basis will not only minimize your risk for injury and pain, but will have you feeling great nd playing your "A" game, too!

Listen to your body,

John Aaron Villarreal

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