Getting back into exercise can be an exhilarating, yet nerve racking, process. Your nervous about your ability. You probably doing believe how strong or coordinated you can be… but at the same time, you love the prospects of what intense physical activity will do for your body and mind.
The trends in training these days are geared towards high intensity. This isn’t always bad when you realize that high intensity is a subjective measure depending on the individual and their ability.
However far too often women are pushed beyond their limits with crazy exercises when they are clearly not ready. This opens the door to injury, busted up ego, and most frightening of all… quitting.
Here Are Three Exercises You Should Not Do No Matter What Your Trainer Says:
1. Box Jump
Personally, I love the box jump. It’s a great explosive exercise. It’s hard, fun, and it’s fast. However, it does require both mental strength and proper form.
Through my years of training women, I’ve noticed that the mental block is actually the most dangerous part of this exercise. Just to fully explain a box jump… it’s a plyometric move where you jump from a squat position to the top of box/bench/stepper.
The idea of jumping relatively high causes second guessing in the mind. When you second guess yourself, at the moment of truth (jumping) you hold back out of fear. This can cause you to tense up, land wrong, not make the jump, etc…
That’s why you should not worry about the box jump until your show improvements in strength, but most importantly confidence. You can practice both by doing squat jumps or horizontal jumps… work on that explosive jump.
Just so you know, I’m not talking about high box jumps either. Just 1.5 to 2 feet max.
2. Weighted Squats or Jumps
Another very popular exercise many women are put into way too early are weighted squats. The squat in itself is a great exercise utilizing the whole body for strength and stability.
The problem comes in with our bodies limited range of motion (thanks to our sedentary lifestyle). This limited range and imbalance create squat form that is no where close to correct… causing injury.
The problems I see the most are:
- Knees buckling inward
- Rolling onto toes as the squat progresses
- Leaning forward too much
- Too much arching of back at the bottom of the squat
These are all issues that MUST be corrected through proper stretching and mobility training. Practice can also make a huge difference to see and feel the correct form.
When you have bad form and you go straight into a weight squat, you cause the support system of your body to become stressed. It will be supporting the weight in inefficient (incorrect) ways which will open your body to injury. Not to mention this screws up your natural muscle balance even more, compounding the problems.
Some trainers even do weighted jumping exercises with barbells or dumbbells. NEVER do these no matter what. There is no need and no benefit.
3. Olympic Style Lifts
Finally you have the Olympic style lifts which have seen a resurgence of popularity because of training systems like CrossFit.
These are very powerful ways to increase strength, power, and athletic ability. The problem is they are very advanced lifts.
I don’t even do them that much because I have not perfected my form and technique. Plus while they are great exercises, they don’t provide that much benefit that you can’t get from safer and less complex movements.
The same issues occur here with mobility issues, muscle imbalance, strength issues, and then you have to toss in technique and practicing that.
It’s way too much too soon for a women just getting into intense exercise (even for most people no matter what).
There Are More Exercises – But Remember To Keep It Simple
There are a host of other exercises. The key is to remember that you are not training for a sport, for some competition, and you’re not paid to train for a movie.
You don’t have to get super fancy with your fitness to burn fat, boost strength, and feel great about yourself. All it really takes in consistency. Get that down and the rest will take care of itself.
As you progress from consistency, you can slowly start to move in the direction of trying more difficult/dangerous exercises… with proper support and help.