An active life is typically a healthy one and that is why gyms are so popular. However, you need to realize that the workouts you did as a kid won’t be the workouts that you need as an adult, especially as you eclipse that 40 year mark. So if you are over 40 take a look at these 10 exercises and make sure to avoid them if possible! We’ve included alternative options for those gym goers that need to get their lift in, irregardless of age!
The leg press is easily one of the largest cornerstones of the dreaded ‘leg day’. As you get older and hit that 40 year mark you certainly are going to start beginning to feel the effects that working out has on your knees and legs. So when we get older and still see the infamous leg press in our fitness training programs, we get understandably worried. The leg press, as it stands, is pretty terrible for your knees and the small of your lower back. The pressure you put on both of those body parts only echoes louder with age. Yeah, you’ll feel the burn after you work out and likely longer if you keep doing the exercise. Opt for kettlebell squats as an easy alternative.
Behind Head Lat Pulldowns
As your eyes move down your newest online personal training programs you’ll likely come to the Lat Pulldown. While the Lat Pulldown can be an instrumental part of your workout, as you get older it becomes a bigger and bigger ordeal. More specifically, we take issue with the behind-the-neck version of the exercise. When you do behind the neck exercises, especially the Lat Pulldown with heavier weights, you will begin to put your shoulder and rotator cuffs into some pretty precarious positions. A common injury you’ll see recurring for people doing this exercise includes shoulder impingement, tears, and strains. If you just have to do this routine then perform it on lower weights with a slow, measured, in control repetition.
If you’ve seen a fitness video infomercial or searched for the latest online personal training courses then you’ve know doubt become accustomed to ab routines that have you doing hundreds of crunches and abdominal movements in a session. At face value there isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with crunches or sit ups but like all things, there is a bit of nuance involved. In order to do a crunch that effectively works your abs without damaging your body you need to stay completely ramrod straight with your spine. Think of a credit card as your back when you do a crunch: you don’t want that card to ever bend. When you start to lose form and bend then you’ll begin down the road of chronic back pain and poor results. Instead you can opt for planks, adding weight as you get more comfortable with the routine.
Machine Assisted Leg Extensions
If you are heading to the gym today with the idea of working out your legs then avoid this exercise and never look back. While the Leg Extensions Machine is in every gym around the world, apparently, it is also one of the more damaging machines you can run into — especially if you are getting a little bit older and starting to have knee concerns. The problem with machine assisted Leg Extensions is that it puts too much wear and tear right on your knee as you perform the up and down movement at an unnatural angle with unnatural pressure. A lot of younger athletes that incorporate this machine into their workout will find themselves running into chronic knee pain down the line. Avoid it, get rid of it, and move on to some better lifts. Sure the burn might feel good today but you won’t appreciate it for the years down the line that it will follow you.
Deadlifts are one of the core components of power lifters and bodybuilders all over the world. With proper form and mobility maintenance the Deadlift can stay in your repertoire for quite awhile. This is a compound lift that pretty much works your entire body and after three or four sets you will likely be streaming sweat. The issue with the Deadlift is more focused on when you get older. Proper form is hard to get down when you are starting to collect your own minor, nagging pains. Improper form when doing Deadlifts isn’t just a gym sin, it is also super dangerous. You’ll be putting serious pressure on both your knees and your back and any instability at your foundation will follow you up your spine. Skip barbell Deadlifts and opt instead for kettelbell or dumbbell Deadlifts instead at a lower weight. These options will still push you but you won’t get ground down quite so much.
Smith Machine Assisted Squats
Tell a hardened weight lifter to get into the Smith Machine and they’ll likely laugh in your face. No, they aren’t acting from a position of heightened gym snobbery (well, not exclusively) and they do have a point: the Smith Machine is a problem. Initially the Smith Machine was invented in order to help injured people build up their strength as they recovered from serious injuries. The success of the machine parlayed itself into a starring role in gyms across the country. Many people mistakenly think that they should use the Smith Machine instead of a squat rack. This is wrong. Smith Machine’s not only prevent you from using all of your muscles, as they effectively hold the bar up for you, but they also do major damage to your back. As you get older you need to pay more attention to your back and the Smith Machine won’t help. Trying to squat on a Smith Machine will force your back and spine to move in an unnatural motion, straight up and down, putting the brunt of the weight on your spine rather than your legs, neck, and shoulders. No good.
Behind the Neck Military Press
The rise of Crossfit, which itself could be a whole other project, has made certain exercises more popular with people that shouldn’t be attempting them. One of the most dangerous exercises that people are doing at either too young, or too advanced, of an age is the Behind the Neck Military Press, or Overhead Press. The problem with this exercise is that you are putting a ton of weight behind your center of balance, while standing, and doing it in a swift motion. Without great stability and excellent form you are opening yourself up to a host of potential injuries to your back, spine, and shoulders. This is an advanced lift that is better left alone.
If you are anything like us then you don’t need to be convinced to skimp out on cardio. Cardio, in moderation, can be the cornerstone to a healthy body and a toned physique. Yet, many people start to think that more is better in relation to cardio — simply because it wears them out and leaves them sweating. Extended cardio sessions will lead to muscle breakdown, decreased ‘gains’, and increased production of free radicals that cause your body to age. Instead of doing prolonged cardio do your cardio in shorter sessions but higher intensity.
Tricep Dips can make you feel like the offspring of a Greek God. When your triceps are rippling in the mirror it can get pretty intoxicating, so why does this exercise make our list? The problem with the tricep dip is that you are immediately setting your body up for failure due to the positioning of your arms. Putting your arms behind your torso and then putting the bulk of your weight on them is a recipe for pain and damage. There are a ton of small muscles in your upper arms and your rotator cuffs that will leave you in pain if you hurt them with this exercise. Opt instead for tricep pushups, close gripped chest exercises and even pushdown cable flies. You’ll get the same pump sans the injury risk.
The final exercise on our list, for all people to avoid as they get older, are Dumbbell Chest Flies. Chest flies are one of the most common and popular exercises out there because they are easy to do and they look impressive. The problem with Dumbbell Chest Flies is that they 1) aren’t very effective and 2) cause increased strain on tender muscles. The goal of chest flies is to hit your pecs but you can’t really nail them as hard as you’d like with dumbbells. Also, the fact that you are dropping your arms below your chest means you are straining your shoulders and causing heightened pressure. Instead opt for Wolverines on the cables. To do Wolverines you need to set the cables to their lowest position and then grab one handle in each arm. Step forward and emulate Wolverine bringing his arms up in front of his chest. Rinse and repeat. You’ll feel the burn without feeling the pain.