Starting With Some Easy Exercises - Some movements to beware of

For varying reasons, controversy surrounds the use of some exercises. Whatever your program, you will want to cast a wary eye on these movements for the reasons indicated:

Movements to Beware of

1. Deep knee bends: Particularly for the beginner, the deep knee bend, lowering the buttocks until they touch the heels, poses hazards. The deep knee bend stretches the knee's lateral ligaments. Stretched too far, the ligaments cease to protect the knee. If the ligaments become overextended, cartilage problems can result.

Movements to Beware of

2. Back arches: The danger in back arches is that hyperextension may occur. Persons with difficulties such as weak abdominal muscles may find that their conditions become worse if they do this exercise. Physicians maintain that a fitness program should, in the beginning at least, stress abdominal exercises rather than low-back work.

3. Leg lifts: Performed while the exerciser is lying on his back, leg lifts have been found to help trim the waistline. But they can also lead to problems in persons with a tendency to the low-back ailment called lordosis. The reason is that leg lifts are accomplished through the use of the iliacus and psoas muscles, a set of muscles that can be easily strained when they are not in good condition.

4. Standing on toes: Recommended in many exercise programs, the repetitive toe stand allegedly strengthens the longitudinal arch. But in reality high toe stands may produce stresses that weaken the arch. Substitutes for high toe stands include heel cord stretches or walking on the heels.

5. Straight-leg sit-ups: The straight-leg sit-up also requires the use of the iliacus and psoas muscles. But in sitting up the exerciser can hyperextend and strain the back. The effort in sitting up with legs extended in effect tugs at the muscles along the spinal column. Low-back problems in particular can be aggravated.

6. Toe touches: Toe touching not only forces the knees to overextend; it also exerts heavy pressure on the lower spine. Since the exercise doesn't help to trim the waistline, as it has been alleged to do, toe touching both fails to provide the exercise value claimed for it and presents the risk of back problems.

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