If you haven’t mastered the proper form yet, exercise machines can be a great way to teach yourself to lift weights the right way. However, if you use them incorrectly, you may be unintentionally forcing yourself to overcompensate when performing certain motions, which could result in serious harm to the shoulders, back, and more. Be sure to enlist the help of a spotter, trainer, or other fitness professional at your gym when using any of these exercise machines:
If you don’t use a hyperextension machine properly (also called a Roman Chair), you could end up harming your lower back, herniating discs in your spine, and accidentally do long-term damage to your back. It’s important to maintain a neutral spine position and avoid arching backward, throwing your head back, or going hard and fast. (Sharp pain in your lower back is a bad sign.) This machine is best used when you bend from the hips until your back is at a 90-degree angle with your legs (which should be locked in place), then slowly, deliberately return to an upright, flat-back position.
Seated Leg Press
This is another one that can do serious damage to your back if done incorrectly. If you haven’t mastered the proper form, too much weight can put too much strain on your knees and lower back. One way to keep your back from having to overcompensate for poor form is to press into your heels and ensure your legs do not bend at less than a 90 degree angle at the beginning and end of each motion.
Ab Crunch Machine
In an effort to get shredded abs, you may actually shred your spinal muscles (and not in a good way). If you use this machine incorrectly, you could significantly decrease your spinal range of motion and do so much damage to your back that you may have to stay home from the gym for good. Due to the potential harm posed by this particular machine, it may be best to just stick with crunches, planks, and other bodyweight exercises.
Best Practices for Avoiding Injuries at the Gym
Whether you’re a competitive athlete, a regular gym-goer, or a recovering couch potato, it’s crucial to make evaluating your form an integral part of your fitness routine. Take advantage of the resources available to you through personal trainers and fitness instructors, and make a habit of working out in front of a mirror when doing exercises that require special attention to form. Most importantly, don’t let zeal for working out turn into recklessness, and always make sure you take the time to learn the proper form, moderate your weightlifting, and allow your body to ease into your fitness routine.
Professional Physical Therapy in Aberdeen
If you’re reading this too late, our team at ProFysio Physical Therapy can help you recover from your gym injury. Our Aberdeen physical therapy team can help you re-learn motion patterns and help you figure out the best way to recover, avoid re-injury, and avoid overcompensation when doing different exercises and weightlifting motions.
Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation by sending us a message, or call us at (732) 333-6360 today.