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15 Common Exercises You Should NEVER Do.

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in February of 2018. For the original video go to

Bob: Today we're going to talk about 15 common exercises you should never do. Never, ever. We’re going to make sure that you never do them and we're going to explain to you why you shouldn't do them.

Brad: Sure, that helps a lot.

Bob: All right, so let’s talk about the first exercise. It's a common exercise. I think the government used to have you do it, didn't it? It’s the windmill. What you're doing here, what's really hard on the back and the discs of the back, is flexion and twisting at the same time.

Brad: Sure.

Brad: If you want to hurt your back, this is what you should do. Do windmills without a doubt, they are really bad for you.

Brad: Particularly as you get a little older, you're even more prone to it.

Bob: Right. So, I could feel that right in my low back. By the way, I'm going to be doing all 15 of these exercises today. I'm going to be in bad shape by the end of the day.

Brad: Yes, Bob, you are. That's why I'm going to just watch. I'm going to crack the whip.

Bob: Next one, most people know this, I think, but maybe they don't. You should not be doing full sit-ups because it puts a tremendous amount of stress on the discs of the back.

Brad: Right. Particularly, right in the low back. And particularly the ones where you reach for your toes.

Bob: Right. Right. They've done studies on this. They've actually stuck a needle in the disc of the back, and they've measured the amount of pressure and this puts a tremendous amount of pressure on it. I don’t know if it'd be worse but certainly not better is, if you did supported sit-ups. Where your feet are supported. So there are devices, those benches you could slide your feet underneath. Or you have somebody else hold and you're doing the full sit-ups. And then you see some people holding a weight and that makes it worse.

Brad: Yeah. Grab that kettle ball.

Bob: No, I'm not going to do that! I'll blow a disc.

Brad: Or doing sit-ups on an incline. It certainly works the stomach muscles well, but it hurts the back.

Bob: It's also working the leg muscles when someone supports your feet. You're working your hip flexors.

Brad: Yeah, hip flexor and that rectus femoris.

Bob: So, staying right into this theme also avoid v-sits. Again, it’s hard on the back. And if you want to make them even worse, do v-sits with a twist.

Brad: Right, right.

Bob: It's the same principle again, you're bending the back and you're twisting it at the same time.

Brad: Right, with a lot of pressure in the middle there.

Bob: Yeah. Just bad for the back. I mean, I’m done with those and I’m going to do some extensions to counter all the bending.

Brad: Don't worry, if you want to get your core and your stomach strengthened there are much better options.

Bob: There are a million ways to deal with that.

Brad: We have videos on core exercises, but we must stick to the goal here.

Bob: Right. The next one is triceps dips off a bench. So, you're going off the end of a bench. It’s a tremendous amount of stress on the shoulders. It's at the end range. There are better ways to strengthen the triceps. We had a whole video on that.

Brad: Yeah, so when the shoulder's coming to end range extension here, which anytime you put a joint at end range, it's more susceptible to injury, no matter what.

Bob: Yeah. And you can get some impingement with that even just the way you're putting your shoulder into place like that. Next, I'm jumping off into a different area here. This is a simple one. Anybody who runs a lot, I want to make sure you don't run on the same side of the street all the time. There's always a little bit of a camber to the road, a little bit of a tilt.

Brad: So the water runs off the road and doesn't stay in the middle. That's a functional thing.

Bob: So if I run down the right side of the road and come down on the other side, I'm always on the same tilt. And you're putting the same stresses on your ankle, and your knees, and your feet. If you're susceptible to plantar fasciitis. I'm sensitive enough that I can tell when I'm on one side of the road too much. I know legally or safety-wise, it's best to always go against traffic, but I actually go out against traffic, and then in with traffic is what I do.

Brad: Right. Yeah, use good judgment, you know, use a different route or something.

Bob: I try to pick roads that have wide shoulders so that we don't have to worry about it.

Brad: I had a patient who had tendonitis on her peroneals. and she was on a walking program, walking the same side of the road and I said, well, switch sides. And within a couple of days, it started to get better.

Bob: It went away.

Brad: Right.

Bob: And that's the same about a track. You don't want to go around the track in the same direction every time, you want to reverse that. So just a little helpful hint, that really makes a big difference. The next one is upright rows.

Brad: Oh yes. So, we're talking about this.

Bob: Yeah. Look what has happened here. His shoulders are internally rotating. When we're testing a shoulder for impingement, we actually internally rotate the shoulder and bring it around. Because that is usually what causes or enhances the impingement.

Brad: Right.

Bob: So, this is going to make the impingement worse.

Brad: So, like you said it's a test to provoke it. Why would you do an exercise that provokes it?

Bob: Right. So obviously you're not going to do this, usually, with a bar, you put weights on a barbell which puts even more stress on it. So, we want to save the joints. There are other ways to work those muscles.

Bob: All right, this one is just kind of a silly one. I see people doing this sometimes. I've seen an occupational therapist do this one time. They think they're doing chest strengthening, but which weight does gravity go? Gravity goes down. So, I'm working the shoulder right now.

Bob: I'm not working the chest. To work the chest, you must go against gravity, which means you must be supine with this motion.

Brad: Right. Unless you have the infamous wall anchor, that's a different story.

Bob: Yeah. Now he's working the chest. Because the resistance is coming from behind him.

Brad: That's the big thing about the weights. They only give one direction of resistance, and that's down.

Bob: That's why it's really hard to do lats. Latissimus dorsi because you must pull down. You can't take a weight and pull it down, because it's going with gravity.

Brad: Yes.

Bob: But we digress, don't we, Brad?

Brad: Yes, let's carry on.

Bob: All right, the next one is loaded side bends.

Brad: I see a lot of people do this one.

Bob: So, they're basically bending to one side.

Brad: But they only have weight on one side.

Bob: I don't do these. But again, it’s hard on the back. It's just putting unilateral stress on the back.

Brad: I'm assuming they're thinking it’s working the core, which is true. It works some core muscles, but you put a lot of stress on the spine and there are better ways to do that.

Bob: Yeah, unilateral stress. I've seen people, even a fitness guru on YouTube, that did this one. I'm like, really? I would think they would know better, but I guess not. The next one is behind-the-neck press-ups.

Brad: This is particularly bad because not only does it stress your shoulder joints, but you must get your head forward to get out of the way. Because if you have an iron barbell there, it kind of hurts when it bounces on your neck.

Bob: Yeah, you're in a bad position for your spine. We're not big fans of these anyway. I mean, you have a small shoulder muscle pushing up a long lever arm. I've just seen so many injuries with this.

Brad: Well, not only that, but if you have impingement, it's going to impinge. And if you don't have impingement, it puts you higher at risk for that. So, you may have problems. We’re going to get comments on this, I know.

Bob: Right because a lot of people like doing these.

Brad: They love to do the military press and they don't have any problems, but there's going to be a certain percentage of people that will get problems.

Bob: Yeah. We have to go with the odds, and the odds are against you. If you do those, you're going to get hurt eventually in our opinion. The next one, Brad, is actually a wide-based pushup. So what we're talking about is you get your arms way out, like out to the side here and then going down, and your shoulder is internally rotating. And again, we can get that impingement going on.

Brad: Sure.

Bob: I like to put my hands back more with elbows in and it works the lower part of the chest. But just especially wide-based, with your hands up a little bit further, up even with the shoulders, I can just feel that even. It just doesn't feel good on the shoulders.

Brad: Sure. So, your elbows are in and not out wide, particularly when going down. That's what he is talking about, the internal rotation of the humorous if your arms are out far from your body. We're not going to get into details, but you'll just have to believe us on that.

Bob: If you're doing some type of jumping exercises, certainly avoid concrete. But the other thing is we want to make sure you're jumping right. One thing, a lot of times people land, especially women, tend to want to land with their knees a little bit in. You definitely want to make sure that your knees are lined up with your feet when you land.

Brad: Right. So, you can see, you know this would be the plum line where we want to keep the knee in there.

Bob: As opposed to inward.

Brad: Right, puts a lot of stress on the ACL and the knee joint.

Bob: Same even when you're doing squats and stuff like that. You want to make sure these are all lined up here.

Brad: Right, good mechanics, not putting stress through those joints.

Bob: Another thing, Brad and I are not big fans of the quad extension machine. You know the one where you get your ankles hooked in, and straighten your legs. You're putting a really heavy high amount of stress onto the patella and even on the joint itself. And it's not functional. Maybe if you're a kicker, but I like full-chain functional activities for strengthening. It's just a good one to avoid. It's not a good one.

Brad: Right. I think people like it because it really does make those quads work and you can see it. It looks like, wow, it does really work the quad. Because I used to do them at one time.

Bob: I did too, I did too. And then you start getting imbalanced though, too. I think sometimes where the quads are maybe a little bit stronger than the hamstrings. Although, you can do the hamstring on a machine like that too. All right, the final one is, we're going back to those v-sits and some people take a medicine ball, or they'll take a kettlebell and do rotations. It's the same thing again, you're flexing the back and you're twisting the back at the same time. I know it feels like you're really working hard and you are, but it really is causing a lot of possible stress to your back, and possible injuries.

Brad: Sure, you bet.

Bob: All right. You know, we welcome the comments. I know a lot of people may not agree with some of these, but this is based on our 700 years of experience working with patients.

Brad: Yeah, we like to keep you safe for the long run, not just when you're young and healthy, but when you get older like us.

Bob: Become old like us. All right, thanks for watching.

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