Cultural experiences and funny musings by two twenty-somethings living abroad

No pain, no gain? Why some exercises might actually be bad for you!

It may sound a bit odd but I really never thought about the harmful effects of exercise before. We are all told to work out for the good energy, good health and so on and actually once you get into it, it does become a lot of fun when you’ve found what you like!

That is why, as soon as I get up in the morning or when I come back from work, I get into my sports gear, click on youtube and follow my favourite exercise channels. Or if you’re anything like this guy, you can do it on your commute as well!


However, after some time, I started to notice that some of the exercises I was doing regularly began to really hurt. And I don’t mean in the “ouch, it hurts but feels so good” kinda thing but more “I really think I am doing some damage here.” In fact, I began to experience quite a lot of pain in my shoulders after doing tricep dips and tricep push ups for example, and now if it ever comes on in a workout video, I have to skip it as it just doesn’t feel right.

At around the same sort of time, I started coming across articles on the Internet telling people to stay away from certain exercises for the long term damage they can bring to your body. As I read more and more about it, I realised it is definitely something to be careful with, especially when you are not following a class with a certified instructor for example and are on your own.

Because I genuinely didn’t know about these harmful effects until I started to look more into it, I thought I would do a quick post just to raise some awareness for any exercise lovers out there that may be having the same experience. Here are some of the exercises that are popular but can also be quite harmful.

Tricep dips


These are evil. They hurt when you do them but they also do quite a lot of damage to your shoulders, overloading the small muscles in your shoulder’s rotator cuff. When you’re at the low end of the dip, you are actually extending the joint beyond its typical range of motion and even when done in ‘proper form’, these exercises are just not worth doing with these potential risks. (And this is what screwed my shoulder up big time)

Try instead:

Tricep kickbacks


Of course, toned arms will come at a price but let’s not make that the price of torn shoulders. Instead, this exercise works particularly well and is much less harmful. Here is a guide for how to do these correctly.

Standing Chest Fly

standing chest fly

Another bad one for the shoulders. You might think you’re working your chest, but in reality, the act of gravity pulling down on your arms will be putting major stress on your shoulder’s rotator’s cuff. Sounds a bit complicated, but basically, it’s just best to skip this one.

Try Instead:

Lying Down Chest Fly, also known as Supine chest fly

Basically, the same movement but lying down. It takes the pressure off your shoulders so you are able to work your chest and arms in a much safer way. Those that have done the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels will definitely know these!


Double Leg Raise

double leg

This exercise is very hard to do correctly as it’s nearly impossible to keep the back from arching as both legs rise and lower. This puts tremendous pressure on the lower back which can put a person at risk for a herniated disc.

Try Instead:

Single Leg raises


This involves raising one leg at a time, meaning your back can be fully flat on the floor. Either this or bridge exercises that help keep your back healthy and pain free whilst improving the tone in your legs and butt!

The Plank


Who knew? Like, seriously who knew that the plank (one of the most popular exercises in bodyweight workouts, pilates and even yoga) can also be pretty harmful. First of all, proper form is very important with this exercise .

Secondly, do NOT overdo it. That is, don’t hold it for longer than you have to as that is where there is tremendous pressure on the rib joints as well as the shoulder joints and over time, this can cause an inflammation of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the breastbone.

Doing it as a transition move however, with proper form and correct breathing should not cause damage; it’s just the plank challenges where you hold it for as long as possible that can really tear away at your cartilage so do be careful!

So there we have it! Although I am no expert on exercise (although sometimes I wish I could be), I still wanted to point out some things that many might not be aware of. And it’s better to know now of course than to know after you’ve experienced an injury, right?

Of course, for those who have a proper personal trainer or work out in a class, you are most likely taught proper forms to minimise injuries but for those who just like to jump around their bedrooms like me, maybe it’s worth keeping in mind not to go too overboard with some of these moves. There are probably plenty more out there so just be mindful of what you do, do a little research beforehand if you are wondering about the impact a certain exercise has on your body, make sure you’re not over-exerting yourself too much and of course, remember to have fun!



2 comments on “No pain, no gain? Why some exercises might actually be bad for you!

  1. Amanda Afield
    April 11, 2015

    Good to know! I’ve taken classes before but when I’m on my own at the gym or at home it’s hard to tell if my form is correct.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hmsies
    April 11, 2015

    Yeah that’s the downside I guess to working out at home! You may be in the comfort of your own living room but if you’re doing exercise with weights especially, it’s important to know the right way to do it 🙂


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This entry was posted on April 9, 2015 by in Health & Wellbeing and tagged , , , , .
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