3 Common Exercises to Avoid in the Gym

All of the following exercises can yield both exercise and tone for the body, depending on gender, diet, and exercise flow/routine.

SQUATS

Now before everyone starts flipping out on me because I bad mouthed squats.. let me explain. I have great and very powerful legs.. just watch my YouTube videos ..HAHA! But this isn't an ego driven blog, its a safety comes first, i.e. 'Form' blog! Squats, the so called "King of All Exercises" are fantastic at promoting full-body benefits; the legs incorporate heavy lung capacity and energy, thus burning more calories than, let's say a dumbbell curl or a chest press.  However, squats also place a lot of pressure on the spine.. Squats are a great fundamental exercise for some, if kept in check. The problem is that too few people keep them in check, and many people just aren't built for them.  Consider the position: A weighted bar on the lumbar region of the spine, in addition to the stress on the knees (if the knees bend out over the placement of the toes).  Witnessing a 3D projected video of your backbone compressing as you add hundreds and hundreds of pounds to it..well, you may never do squats again.  

The Good News: If you ever have seen my "My Story" video on YouTube, you know that I came from a failing back.. I had to learn how to use other training techniques, methodologies, and routines to make my legs grow, shape, and tone. You can cover all the leg exercise needs by performing alternative exercises such as the lunge, 45º leg press, hack squats, or vertical leg press.

Squats are a great fundamental exercise for some, if kept in check. The problem is that too few people keep them in check, and many people just aren't built for them.  Consider the position: A weighted bar on the lumbar region of the spine, in addition to the stress on the knees (if the knees bend out over the placement of the toes).

Heavy Barbell Curls

Straight bars put too much pressure on inner elbows. If you have elbow pain, chances are it's from a straight bar. Using a straight bar to perform curls forces you into an un-natural position. Consider the position: If you stand talking to someone, your knuckles or palms aren't naturally facing forward, but instead at your sides with your palms facing each other, and the natural position for a curl is for the thumbs to come up higher than the pinkies, which a cambered bar resembles greatly.  Dumbbell preacher curls are an excellent exercise. Dumbbell preachers both restrict your movement (by bracing your arms against a bench) and provide for more freedom, as you can rotate your wrists.

Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Press (Free Weight Bar)

Overall, pressing behind the neck is an un-natural position.  Consider the position: With free weights, the bar can lose balance and hyper extend your shoulders too far backward.  Too heavy of a weight, and you use the neck to press the weights back up, which isn't safe. Instead of these, I recommend military (front) presses or dumbbell presses, both of which work deltoids much more safely.  Additionally, never lower the weight below chin level, instead keep your arms bent at 90º. You'll notice this is about as far as you can go without your shoulders dropping. All that's happening between your chin and your chest is an upper-pec movement and a whole lot of potential damage. I usually perform military presses on a Smith machine, which lets me roll my palms back and find a more natural position. Dumbbells allow for greater freedom of motion.  

 

A great alteration: "Arnold Presses": -Starting with my palms facing each other and twisting my wrists on the way up so my palms face forward.