I’m starting to develop a serious issue with the idea that some exercises are dangerous and should be avoided.
- Dips are bad for the shoulders.
- Squat and lunges hurt the knees.
- Pull ups hurt the elbow.
- Leg raises are bad for the low back or hips.
- Jumping is bad for the tendons.
Now, I’m not someone who’s claiming all of this stuff is perfectly safe and you’ll never hurt yourself. Heavens knows I’ve suffered my share of pain from doing exercises. I’ve blown out my shoulders, tweaked my back, and suffered various forms of joint pain for many years.
I’m now 99% pain-free and my body is becoming more resilient each day. The funny thing is, the same moves that caused me pain were part of my healing process! The lunges and single leg squats that caused me knee pain are the very moves that now keep my knees strong. The dips are now building my shoulders into stable bullet proof joints they are.
The difference between a move that causes pain and one that doesn’t is in how the technique is done. It’s not in the exercise itself, but the quality of the technique.
I know it’s super tempting to toss out an exercise when it’s causing pain but it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Give up on the move and you’ll sacrifice a lot of potential for success. At the same time, you remain ignorant of what’s causing the issue in the first place. Chances are you’ll carry those same issues over to any other move you do. If single leg squats are causing pain due to poor hip strength you’ll still be at risk of pain if you change over to lunges or work on weight machines. If dips cause shoulder pain because of poor back strength that weakness will carry over and handicap your push-ups or any other move you’re doing.
Don’t run from pain, study it! Learn from it, and figure out what’s really going on. Once you do not only will you rid yourself of the pain but you’ll be able to keep the move in your arsenal and all of the potential that comes with it. Plus what you learn will carry over to all of the other moves you do and you’ll gain more there too.
I have no trouble with folks giving up a move because it doesn’t suit them. Maybe it’s not a good fit for their goals or maybe they just don’t like doing it for whatever reason. I have no issue with that, but when someone discards a great exercise because they are not skilled enough to handle it I feel they have turned their back on a good thing that only seems bad under the current circumstances.