10 Ineffective or Dangerous Exercises to STOP Doing

dangerous exercises

Take your training seriously and stop doing these 10 dangerous exercises.

The truth. is that I was FIRED a few times by personal training clients back in the day because they didn’t like my strict workout rules, which included absolutely NO talking during the performance of an exercise, perfect form used in every exercise, and no quitting on an exercise.

Not surprisingly, that didn’t go over well with clients who liked to “gab” more than they liked to workout, or clients who liked to say they could do 5 chin-ups, when all they could REALLY do was 5 “quarter reps”.

The bottom line is that I take my training serious. You want a buddy to chat with? Train with someone else. I’m just not a chatty-Craiggy. Sorry. And because I take my training seriously, I’ve built up a list of exercises that should no longer be in your workouts because they are ineffective or downright dangerous.

Here are the top 10 exercises to remove from your program right now.

#1 – Lunges without Perfect Form
Lunges without perfect formYou see this everywhere. Men and women without proper balance trying to do lunges and practically falling over.

Stop! Lunges are good, but they aren’t so good that you should be risking the health of your knees to do them. If you aren’t ready for them, stick to squats with proper form, step-ups, or lying 1-leg hip extensions.

#2 – Anything done with a rounded back (even picking up dumbbells)
Rounded Back

It doesn’t matter if you’re squatting, deadlifting, straight-leg deadlifting, rowing, or even doing triceps kickbacks, you must STOP doing these exercises with a rounded lower back.

That’s a one-way ticket to a herniated disc. And you do not want to go there, girl. So make sure that you brace your abs, and keep your back in the neutral position – and even with a slight arch in your low back – as you do dumbbell rows, deadlifts, squats, and Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs).

If you don’t know what I mean, or you still aren’t comfortable with those exercises, by all means DROP them and just ask for a substitute exercise. There are plenty of other movements I can recommend.

And one more thing…I see a lot of people (including my clients) who use great form in all exercises and then pick up dumbbells off the floor with a rounded back. That’s another no-no.

You can just as easily hurt your back doing that as you can in an “official” exercise. So always, always, ALWAYS pick stuff up by bending at the knees and keeping the object close to your body – but NEVER by rounding your back (even when tying your shoes!).

#3 – Bench dips (where your hands are placed on the bench behind you) – SHOULDER Destroyer!

Dips on the bench

Cut these shoulder destroyers out of your program immediately.

Personally, I’ve never been one to use this exercise, as I thought it was lame-o. And then 2 years ago I attended a Bill Hartman lecture, and he was very unkind to this exercise. (Who’s Bill Hartman? He’s a guy that has been crowned “the smartest man in fitness” by Brian Grasso, Alwyn Cosgrove, and myself.)

Here’s what Bill says about those bench dips: “To achieve that much range of motion the scapula must tilt forward which is a pretty unstable position. This also means that the shoulder joint is unstable and increases demands on the rotator cuff especially the subscapularis.” He continues, “Over time this is a lot of undesireable stress leading to impingement of the cuff. This doesn’t even consider the stress on the AC joint. It’s also a crap exercise for overload.”

Cut those out of your program immediately.

#4 – “Clean and Presses” done with a fixed bar

Fixed Bar Clean & Press

Clean and presses are a great exercise when done with proper form, but almost every time I go to a big box gym I see people using those fixed “body bars” and doing some mangled “reverse-curl/external rotation/body contortion” movement.

Worse, I’ve watched groups of women do this in aerobics classes.

Listen, it’s nice that people see the value in the total body movements, but if you can’t do the exercise properly, it shouldn’t be done at all. When I see a person trying to clean and press a 2-inch diameter, 24 pound body bar, it ALWAYS looks bad…because it is. Again, there are plenty of other ways to train the body. You could do a front squat combined with a push press. That would be safer and would still work all the muscles you want (and even more).

#5 – Squats where your knees bend first

Squats when knees bend first

If your squat starts with a dip in the knee rather than a “push-back of the hips”, then you are putting excessive strain on your knee joint.

Your squat movement should push your hips back first, and then your knees should begin to bend. This puts the weight back onto your heels so that you don’t rise up on your toes. It also works your glutes and hamstrings more.

#6 – Narrow-grip Upright Row

Narrow Grip Upright Row

The narrow grip upright row causes tremendous impingement in the shoulder joint. This is one dangerous exercise that I was stupid enough to do as a kid, and it likely caused me some of the shoulder pain that I had for years.

When people pull their hands (carrying the weight) up to their chin, they are going to compress the nerves in the shoulder area, impinging the shoulder – Jodai Saremi, staff member of American Fitness magazine.

#7 – Side bends

Side Bends

Unless you’re a powerlifter or strongman competitor, I’d suggest you stay away from side bends.

You don’t want to repeatedly bend your spine sideways any more than you want to flex your spine forward with crunches and sit-ups.

And besides, who has ever gotten sexy abs with side bends?

They sure didn’t help me or Bally the Dog with our six pack abs.

#8 – Plyometrics to Failure

Plyometrics - Box Jumps

Hey, I appreciate the fact that people are putting more athletic movements into their fat-loss programs. After all, you will get more results with athletic training than slow cardio.

But…you must be smart with your training. Doing “explosive” exercises to the point of muscle failure – and therefore, to the point of improper form – is simply wrong. That’s what causes injury. And that causes people to drop out of their fat loss program.

So listen…be conservative. YES, you can use jump training in your fat loss program…after all, some of the advanced TT programs do. But you can’t be doing plyometrics to failure. You can’t be doing plyometrics with sloppy form. And you can’t be getting hurt.

Train hard, but train safe.

#9 – Russian twists

Russain Twist

Be on the safe side, don’t do this exercise.

Listen, I have nothing against Russians. Sometimes when I go on holiday I like to relax at the bar with a Black Russian, and I also think Russian women are some of the most beautiful in the world…

…but this exercise they’ve given us gets a big fat NYET! It combines spinal flexion and rotation, and is unsafe for your low back. Sorry, it belongs in Siberia!

#10 – Sit-ups

Sit Ups

Sit-ups are far worse for your low-back than crunches.

As Mike Robertson wrote in his ab training article: “You may not like Stuart McGill, but the guy has done his home work on the spine. If you want to get your lower back healthy, there are safer and more effective ways to train the core than performing sit-ups until you enjoy the unique pleasure of a herniated disc.”

I agree 100%, and so does Mike Robertson, Men’s Health fitness expert, who recently wrote this about the crunch debate:

“I can’t believe we’re still arguing this stuff. I would’ve hoped by now that we’ve all thrown crunches and sit-ups by the wayside…think about the body-wide effects of crunching – a crunch trains the rectus abdominus by pulling the rib cage down. When we pull the rib cage down, we increase the thoracic kyphosis. This sets off a cascade of events – we increase the kyphosis, thus losing t-spine extension. This consistently puts our scapulae in a poor position, not to mention putting our gleno-humeral joint at an increased risk for impingement as well.”

Let me translate Mike’s science… Basically he said, STOP doing crunches!

So ditch the crunches and situps and focus on abdominal stability exercises like the ones I have for you in TT programs.

Stay strong and safe,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

(Want a healthy, NON-extreme, set of eating guidelines to follow for long-term fat loss? Click to grab the FREE Six Weeks to Kick-Start Your Metabolism)

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  • Good post Craig, As a personal trainer myself I see a lot of folks failing to “land properly” with any type of jump movements. I always reiterate with my clients to absorb the landing and “land softly”. Rounding of the back is by far the biggest mistake I see people make in the gym.

    Thanks for the post!

    • ben

      I disagree (to an extent)… landing with straight legs is the biggest problem!

  • Mike Whitfield

    Great post Craig…. I’ll be sharing this with my clients. Awesome info as usual! I’m always telling my clients that I’m a better trainer by reading and learning from you. Thanks again!

  • John Cusick

    thats a great list Craig , Although Mike Mahler insisits he is bringing back the crunch !!

  • couldn’t agree more on the bodybuilder bench presses. Iit’s been about a year since I’ve done a barbell bench press and have only been using dumbbells. Have found strength and size gains much better using those and like the greater ROM that I get from using DBs.

  • Great list Craig. I’d like to add leg extensions. The machine is also known as “Satan’s Throne”. The shear it puts on the patella and stress on the ACL is just not worth the movement.

    Motion x-ray analysis actually demonstrates a slight dislocation of the femur on the tibia during the linear translation.

    Also, with the lunge or squat the tibia rotates slightly to accommodate for torsion. The pad on the ‘shin’ of the leg extension does not permit this normal absorbing of stress, damage to the joint.

    Thanks again for all you do!

  • Rich

    I just bought the Lean Hybrid Muscle Reloaded program. A good number of the exercises that they recommend are on your ‘No’ list. Have you reviewed this program. If so, do you recommend any replacement exercises for the No No’s.

    • I have not reviewed that program. Let me know what you need a substitute for. Thanks!

      • Rich

        Barbell Clean & Press
        Plate Crunches
        Medicine Ball Russian Twists
        Push Throughs
        Crunch Push Over Knees
        Cross Crunch
        Bicycle Crunches
        Straight Leg Reach
        Box Jumps
        Band Crunches
        and Barbell Russian Twists

      • Rich, you can still do a barbell clean and press if you do it properly. Same with box jumps.

        For the ab exercises, use Planks, Side Planks, Stability Ball Planks, Stability Ball Rollouts, and stability ball jackknives.

  • Mattoomba

    Good summary, CB. Unfortunately, crunches will be with me and my boys for some time. While I don’t do them often (I usually stabilize my abs rather than flex them), my sons do them often and I have to crunch occasionally to ensure we meet the military physical fitness standards. Crunches are a part of all the services’ PFT standards. I personally think they should move to the plank, but Uncle Sam makes that call. So, it’s crunches for us for the foreseeable future.

    • You’ll be interested to know that in Lou and Alwyn’s book, they reference a study where subjects did only non-crunch ab exercises and were still able to pass the military fitness tests.

      • stacy buster

        I agree completely Craig. I am a personal trainer and currently work w/ a female client who just passed her sit-up PFT test with the Navy reserves by only doing proper core work(planks, jackknives, renegade rows, etc)….never once did I allow her to do a crunch or sit-up! She passes with an “excellent good” I believe.

      • Great work Stacy, keep it up.

  • m

    Should any jumps ie: side jumps, broad jumps, jumps with knees up to chest ect, should these be completely taken out workouts? If so what should substitutes be.

    • No, I didn’t say that. I said you can do them with proper form.

  • ncollins

    I agree with you totally about those who like to chat with you when working out. It so annoying and downright rude. My point is when I take my precious time to go to the gym I want to maximize that time and get a good workout in the shortest amount of time. That means short rest times and intense work. No time to chat and waste precious time.

    I am so glad you pointed out all of these exercises that could hurt a person. The only one I still do which I am going to stop immediately is Bench dips. I know I have a bum shoulder because I use to do most of the exercises like behind the neck stuff.

    I just bought the TT for Abs DVD, but I have been using some of your free stuff for a while just didn’t have the money to purchase a program. I must say this is the last program I will purchase. Your program make so much sense to me (lots of common sense). My main point is how the workout utilizes opposing body parts so you don’t fatigue one body part to the point that you stop training. Do upper body, the do lower body while the upper body part recovers what ingenuity.

    Oh by the way Lesa is great and she is very responsive. Great customer service. Graig you got it RIGHT unlike most of your friends (no names).

    • Happy to help! Thank you so much. Keep up the great work.

  • Great information that Iwill happily share. Thanks.

  • Brad

    I once did cleans with a fixed bar by mistake.

    It was a full on Olympic bar…but for some weird reason the ends of the bar had been welded (I was at a hotel gym)

    Thankfully it was during the warm up that I noticed, but still it was Amazing I didn’t break my wrists, but I did have to drop the bar..which as you know in a hotel is a pretty big no no.


  • I agree with most except the Russian Twists. I find that to be a great exercise if done safely. Is there some research that you can provide that goes into more detail? Or perhaps explain your side more.

    • Read Dr. Stuart McGill’s “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance”. Mandatory for every trainer. You should also read Lou and Alwyn’s book.

  • Thanks for the book recommendation (McGill’s). I’m grateful to have a new resource. I’ve just been diagnosed with osteoporosis of the spine and osteopenia of the hip. (Lean and muscular on the outside, about to crumble on the inside. Appearances can be deceiving!)

    Would love to read a post on unsafe moves and exercises for people with this condition. I have scoured the Internet and have read everything from “Walking is the best exercise for osteo” to “Walking is not enough. You need impact exercises like jogging and jumping (assuming not severe osteo).”

    My doc immediately wrote me an Rx for an injectable parathyroid hormone drug he told me to take daily for 2 years–at the cost of $1200 a month. Worse, it comes with a black box warning for bone cancer.

    I’m looking for alternative ways.

    • ggs2013

      I have the same problem…lean and muscular on the outside crumbling on the inside. I was told jump roping was good on a rubber surface or carpet. One of my issues is calcium deposits on the outside of the bone. They told me to make sure I ate foods rich in VitK. Just thought I would pass that along.

  • C-Muscles

    GREAT INFO on #1,4,5,7,8
    #2 my back hurts from doing rounded squats(I did them last on leg day, OMG i was tried!)
    #3 I’ve done weighted bench dips with drop sets; got great results & no pain, Lucky me.
    #6 Crunches suck b/c you need to do some many of them to great real results, I do them weight just to make my upper abs pop.
    #9! I live by these and get Juice head results;Problem is I do 600 reps each time I do them! No body should to 600 reps of these; I had to build up to this.
    #10 I don’t rememmber how to do a sit-up(hah)
    Craig your da man!

  • I agree with nine of the ten. The one with which I don’t agree is # 6 – the one about crunches. Here’s why:

    The function of all muscles is to bring the origin of the muscle closer to the insertion of the muscle. When muscles shorten (contract or flex), they create movement, by bending the joint that they pass. For example, when the biceps shortens, it bends the elbow. Every muscle in the whole body works this way.

    The abdominal muscle (rectus abdominus) has its origin at the base of the ribcage, and its origin at the pubic bone of the pelvis. When the muscle contracts, it brings the ribcage toward the pelvis, or the pelvis toward the ribcage. As the muscle elongates (relaxes), it allows the ribcage and the pelvis to get farther away from each other. Muscle shortening and elongating is the basis of “isotonic” exercise. Contraction in the absence of shortening and elongation is considered “isometric”, or “static” or “limited range of motion” – and has been shown in numerous studies to be less effective at developing muscle, than is isometric contraction.

    The idea that “rounding the back” occurs when doing an abdominal crunch, and that that is “bad”, is like saying that elbow-bending occurs when doing curls, and that’s bad because we don’t want our elbows to stay bent. Backs don’t stay rounded, just because rounding your back is part of the abdominal crunch, any more than any other body part is at risk for staying in the position of contraction that happens during any other exercise.

    I agree that there is such a thing as “too rounded”. In other words, one can over-flex their spine – thereby causing the inside edges of the spinal discs to close, while the outside edges open – potentially squeezing out the inter-vertebrel discs (i.e. herniation). This is most likely to happen when one does like #2 above – lifting anything with a rounded back. This is because the resistance that you’re lifting is essentially pushing the spine into an over-flex. But it’s not nearly as likely to occur when going the other way. In other words, when the resistance is on the opposite side of your abdomen, it requires that the abdominal muscle “force” the spine into an over-flex position, and that’s about as unlikely to occur as hyper-extending your knees during a heavy leg extension. You’re lucky if you can even get into a full flex, much less into hyper flex.

    Eliminating crunches (i.e. spinal flexion as a method of inducing abdominal contraction), leaves only plank-type exercises, which are mostly isometric – inferior to isotonic, for the purpose of development. But, again, I don’t believe the risk of over-flexing the spine is very likely, as it’s difficult enough to simply enter full-flexion, when one is opposing resistance. Granted, one should not pull on their head, which would then hyper-flex the upper spine and neck. I suggest one simply hold the top of their head gently, or hold a towel lightly behind their neck (hands holding the ends of the towel in front).

    In general, I believe that the extreme ranges of motion should be abbreviated. A muscle does not need that beginning 10%, nor the final 10% of the range of motion. I think the center 80% range of motion is the most valuable. And that would likely be the “most” true, when dealing with the spine.

    Just my two cents. Nice article, otherwise. This is the kind of stuff we all need to see more of. Common sense fitness, rather than macho / extreme / irrational fitness. Keep up the good work.

    • Professor Stuart McGill, an expert in spine function and injury prevention at the University of Waterloo in Canada, has shown that repeated spinal flexion (i.e. crunches) damages spinal discs, at least in a lab setting. Check out his book Low Back Disorders (page 46) or one of the many studies he has authored for more information on the subject.

      In addition, certain exercises that do not involve spinal flexion (e.g. rollouts) have been shown, in some studies anyway, to work rectus abdominis harder than crunches. So you’re actually getting a more challenging workout for your abs without increasing the risk of a “bad back” further down the line.

  • Great Post!

    Can I add A few:

    11. The majority of Smith Machine exercises
    12. Upright Rows with a straight bar

    • Greg, yes, upright rows…if there is one exercise I wish I would have added, it’s narrow grip upright rows. Good call.

  • Excellent post Craig – I’d add these;

    Upright row – very bad for the elbows, shoulders
    Bent over row – very bad for the back if meaningful amount of weight is used – and if meaningful amount of weight isn’t used why bother?
    Dead lift off a raised platform (for added range of motion, for God’s sake.)

    Total agreement with Greg – anything on a smith machine except calf raises an absolute no-no (tho’ you can use it to hang laundry on)

    Must admit I don’t see a problem with the side bend, if done in controlled form and weight added gradually – I take the point about bending the spine to the side, but never believed the argument about side bends making the waist “blocky”.

    I find it tough enough to add muscle anyway, I don’t see why I should have superman genetic side muscles that immediately pop out after a few side bends!

    Oh – before I forget, add squats with heels raised as a no-no!


  • pablo

    What kind of russian twist are not recomended: seated, standing, on fit ball,…?

    • All russian twists. It’s not because they don’t work the abs, but because it causes too much stress on the spine to be worth the effort. You can use other exercises to work the abdominals/torso without bending, rotation, etc.

  • uday

    Instead Of crunches what can i do alternatively

  • Awesome list Craig. I cut out the bodybuilder bench and stick to incline variations and suspended pushups and a nagging rotator cuff injury I use to have is non existent now.

  • Andres


    Went to the gym today and follwed your instruction of stop doing bodybuilding Barbell Bench Presses. However, I replaced for dumbell chest presses (I was surprised with how much weight I could lift without feeling it that challenging, problably you wouldn’t be impressed but I’m a small guy 1.63 mt and 55 kilograms, sorry to use the metric system I’m from Colombia), but I felt I wasn’t doing a motion that was very different to what I normally do on bench presses. Is there also a proper technique for the dumbell presses, similar to what you described for the barbell one? Should I be tucking my shoulders too during this exercies?

    • Yes, slightly.

      • Andres

        by the way i meant tucking my elbows.

  • LS

    I think that this is good advice for some of the exercises listed (such as the bodybuilder bench press), however, some of the exercises here that have been labeled “dangerous” really aren’t. In the end, the person doing the exercise has the most control and if someone has proper form and pace when doing some of the exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, and dips then there is little chance for injury. People only hurt themselves when doing these exercises if they are complete idiots and have the wrong form and pace.

  • ben

    So, is the bodybuilder bench press different from regular barbell bench??

  • Tom

    Hi Craig!

    Awesome post!


  • Thanks for the helpful info. Some of the science is a little over my head. Actually, it’s way over my head, but I can rely on your expertise to translate. I would like to feature this article on my blog. Thanks again.

  • Fenella

    Hi Craig,

    I can’t believe that a video was posted on UK Yahoo this morning demonstrating crunches! I commented on how useless and damaging they are. Also, one of the comments recommended ‘slow cardio and spinning’ to get 6-pack abs. I gave this a ‘thumbs down’. I cannot imagine any worse exercise for releasing fat and building muscle!

    I don’t do any of the exercises that you don’t recommend, although I do have trouble leading with the hips for squats.

    • Thanks for the update, Fenella. I agree, thats surprising. Stay strong and keep doing the right things!

  • Barbara

    I only wish I was capable of talking whilst working with my trainer – I’m working way too hard!

    Great article and good to have confirmation that I’m doing the right things.

  • jonathan

    What about press ups? How do you rate them?

    • What is a press-up? You mean a pushup? Those are fine.

      • trygvehammer

        Press-ups are an exercise recommended by a lot of physical therapists for lower back pain. You lie prone with your forearms on the floor and press up, keeping your hips glued to the floor and your neck long (not tilted back).

        I was training for the Marine Corps PFT and was burning through 3 miles in around 17:50 (which, at 46, is not as easy as it once was). One day, my back cramped up after about 4 minutes. Then it happened every run, and no type of stretching, rest, or NSAIDs seemed to help. This went on for months. Press-ups, when added to my core routine, did the trick. Now I just need to figure out how to get my 400m back under :50.

      • Ok, thanks. Press-ups are not right for every individual.

  • Helen

    I can’t do planks/side-planks because of an elbow issue (trapped nerve). What can I do instead of planks and crunches to stregthen and tone my abs?

  • Very interesting and great points as well! I agree with the crunches which can be dangerous!

    ……..Thank you!

  • Briedis

    Nice summary. Been looking for some time for something like this.
    I have been playing basketball from childhood and been in extensive programs for about 10 years. But due to the heavy load in university, I did something wrong and got disc herniation in S1L5 and L5L4 for about 4mm and 5mm. I have been to physical therapist and trauma doctor, basically working on strengthening deep muscles of all body which has been week of mine.

    That all is understandable and logical, and sometimes fun, because it is almost impossible to do some exercises without sounds.

    My question is: what abs and overall exercises I can do and which I should definitely don’t do or forget at all? Any help would be highly appreciated.

    p.s. Today in the gym I told the trainer my problem and he suggested to do crunches carefully. After reading this article, I have doubts regarding any future advices or suggestions by the staff of the gym.

  • Saaji B

    Great article which leaves me confused as to why you have this floor wiper exercise in the 300 program? This surely comes under the category of BS exercises

    • Craig Ballantyne

      I didn’t create the 300 workout. It was created by someone else. All I did was film the exercises for MensHealth.com at their request. Thanks!

    • It does. Not my workout though! I did not create it.

  • jitin

    This is one good article. I was proud of my squat dip but just found out i was doing wrong. Just now I tried it my way and your way and definately I felt it better on my knees with pushing hips back first and then bending knees. . Thank you Craig.

  • primalrage

    I’m grateful for the article, but is there another one that gives alternates to the exercises?

    • Hi! I do mention replacements in the article. If no replacements are mentioned, the exercise should simply be avoided. Which ones do you need help with?

      • primalrage

        Hi, I have a problem with the sit-up alts. I can do stability exercises fairly easy for long periods of time, I’ve done yoga for years. The problem I have is trying to bulid mass on my abs without doing any form of sit up.

        I stick to frog sit-up and and crunches resting in a chair position on the ground. The exercises reduce a lot of pressure on my lower back, but I can’t seem to do without them completely for the stated reason.

  • Ramona O’Rourke

    I’ve heard someone in the gym say squats should be done with a straight back as if against a wall. But if you push your hips back (which I’ve always believed to be correct) a straight vertical back can’t be achieved. Your thoughts?

    • Your low back must not round. That is what matters. Thanks!

      • Ramona O’Rourke

        Thanks Craig.

  • Waqas

    What do you say about this particular exercise? If squats can affect knees. Then this exercise is knee destroyer. http://i.imgur.com/BEzICgD.jpg

    • Yes, leg press can be very rough on the knees, but it’s even worse on the low back through compression of the spine!

  • Jose

    As a newbie to fitness and after spending a fortune on a personal trainer who was totally ineffective and DID every single exercise you describe not to do! Sadly there is so much bad information and direction out there that will confuse literally anyone.

    • So sorry to hear that, Jose! Let me know what program you use now and if you need help with anything.

  • Vladimir Krstic

    I do almost all of these and I did them for years and there is nothing wrong with me, the only reason why I have lower back pain is becasue of to mutch sitting lol

    • LOOOL

      LOOOOOOOOL! Idiocy at it’s best.

  • How do I do work on those muscles in my lower back if I can’t do this?

    And, how about wood chops?

    • You need to be very careful with woodchops. It really depends on your form.

  • dounzzz

    Wow great article. Explains all my back issues gained from years of improper form in my teens 😡. To spare my kids from the same I’m always looking at the way extra curricular coaches are trainng them. What do you think about backbends for kids. Shall i tell their gym not to let them to backbends and walk overs and sit up. Thanks

    • Yes, the kids should avoid back bends, thank you!

  • Rosie Mabelle

    Hi there, I am constantly having trouble with jack knifes, as my lower back starts to hurt. I am focusing a lot to keep my core tight but either my core and back are too weak or I am doing something wrong. Any advice on this would be really much appreciated. Thank you!

    • Hi Rosie, without being there to see you do it, it’s tough to say. Your low back could be sagging. Best to give up the jackknives, there are plenty of other moves you can do. Thanks!

  • Kiran MVV

    Hello Craig. Maybe this is a first, but I sprained my wrist ligament when doing a barbell clean and press (BCP). I am on rest right now, but I would like to know if there is any substitute to BCP.

    Also, according to your article, I would like to ask:

    1. Instead of Narrow Barbell Upright Rows, would it help to do a Wide Grip Barbell Upright Rows? I can substitute with Dumbells but I would like to know if doing with a Barbell with Wide grip helps

    2. You’ve said Crunches and Sit-Ups affect the lower back. What is better instead? Reverse Crunches? Planks? Tuck-Ups? Because every abdominal exercise I believe involves the Lower Back muscles as well and I fail to see how the other abs exercises do NOT

    Thank you,
    A Fitness Enthusiast..

    • 1) I can’t give you advice on the injury, sorry. That’s outside my scope of expertise.

      2) Wide grip upright rows are better.

      3) Read this for more info on ab exercises => http://www.earlytorise.com/ab-exercises-not-to-do/

      Planks and side planks are the best place to start.

      • Kiran MVV

        Thanks for the above. Also, I wasn’t asking about the injury, I was asking if there’s a Substitute exercise for “Barbell Clean & Press”. If there is, I would be very much interested in trying that out..

        Thanks for 2 and 3!

  • Omar Shamy

    Nice one mate, so with a herniated disc you recommend me to not do these exercises..

    • Yes, you must avoid these!

  • Trey Smith

    you said that side bends affect mainly the spine, but is it possible to harm one’s ribs doing them? possibly from over-bending?

    my class did kettlebell side bends a few days ago and my lower ribs haven’t stopped aching since.

    • Yes, another reason to skip this terrible exercise!