When it comes to weight training, a poorly performed exercise is always a dangerous exercise. Even some that are performed a lot: The guillotine press, lat pulldowns and upright rows.
There is lots of advice when it comes to weight training that you can either take or leave depending on how you want to achieve your goals. In terms of the choice of exercises, the rule remains the same. No matter how difficult an exercise is to execute, if it is performed poorly there is more risk of hurting yourself than making progress. Nevertheless, some exercises like these have quite a high benefit-injury ratio.
The guillotine press
This variant of the bench press involves bringing the bar down to just under your chin instead of your chest. The aim is to be able to bring the bar lower than you would in a classic bench press and so it gets more muscle fibres moving and working. Although the danger seems relatively obvious since you have to lower the bar down on your neck, this exercise is also quite bad for your shoulders. When you lower your arms like this, your elbows have to spread wider which will gradually hurt you to the point where you will no longer be able to raise your arms. Dangerous.
We’re going to mention your neck again and you can bet it’s not for a good reason. Lat pulldowns are undoubtedly a very effective exercise for your back, and they allow people who are not yet able to do pull ups to work on these muscles. But, pulling the bar down behind your neck isn’t actually a natural movement. You have to compensate by contracting the abs and you bend your head forward, which risks hurting your neck and therefore putting your spine in a long-term imbalance. Instead, maybe try front lat pulldowns which are different, but a lot safer.
Very well known for working your shoulders, upright rows are also known for being dangerous and causing injuries. Different to the other exercises explained above, upright rows are often bad because they aren’t executed correctly. The first mistake people make is loading the bar with too much weight. Anybody would tell you to leave your ego out of it for the sake of your shoulders. The second mistake that people tend to make is raising the bar above your chin. The third mistake is holding the bar either too far or too close to your body which can damage your supraspinous ligament, to the point where it can even sometimes snap. And a torn ligament takes months to heal.
Check out the video above for more on why you need to avoid these dangerous exercises.