The exercises most bodybuilders focus on the most, are the ones that cause the most problems. But before we share with you what those exercise are, let’s talk real quickly about what bodybuilding is…
The goal of bodybuilding isn’t to get as big as you can, or at least to us it isn’t and shouldn’t be, but to build a balanced body that is as strong as possible in every way. For example, while being freakishly big may get people’s attention, it serves you no purpose at all… while on the other hand, what if you were not only big, but also extremely strong and powerful, lightning fast, flexible, and agile enough to kick ass if needed?
So many bodybuilders build massive amounts of muscle yet are so unbelievably weak and inflexible. The point is, the exercises you choose and how you perform them not only determine how big, strong, and flexible you are, but also affect how your body functions and whether or not you suffer from aches, pains, and injuries like back pain and sciatic pain.
Ok, here they are… the exercises that create the most problems and are most likely to lead to back pain:
- Bench Press: This exercise causes anterior shoulder tendonitis and rotator cuff injuries, overtime. The bench press is the single greatest destroyer of the rotator cuff in lifting. Its been proven that the floor bench press or 1/2 range of motion bench press guards against rotator cuff injuries while making you just as strong as the full range of motion exercise. Who knew?
- Leg Extension: Physiologists at the Mayo Clinic determined that leg extensions place significantly more stress on your knees than squats. Why? Because the resistance is placed near your ankles, which leads to high amounts of torque being applied to your knee joint every time you lower the weight. What’s more, Auburn University scientists found that people who squat long-term have tighter, stronger knee ligaments than those who don’t squat at all.
- Behind the Neck Military Press: rotator cuff strain can occur with this exercise. Besides, the deltoids stop working at 90 degrees of abduction. The muscle worked are some of your upper back, and major triceps. Your deltoids act as fixators; muscles that support the joint and allow movement to happen. But they do not act as prime movers or even agonists (in other words the deltoids don’t do much here at all).
- Stiff-Legged Deadlifts. One of the worst strength training exercises ever devised. This exercise causes excessive motion in the sacroiliac joints which leads to pre-mature joint wear and tear. Straight-legged deadlifts also cause a crushing, shearing action on the lower spinal discs.
- Chin-Ups: palms should remain facing you in case of ignorance you are bound to trash out your shoulder. Avoid wider grips as they endanger the rotator cuff of the shoulder as do the palms facing away (pronated) grip. Your palms need to be facing you to properly position your elbows. Turn your palms away from you and all of a sudden you are working on the transverse plane where the lats only have a 60 to 80 degree ROM.
There are several reasons why these exercises made our list of the “worst bodybuilding exercises”. .
- First, all of them target areas that already tend to get worked a lot in everyday life and often times are overdeveloped and by focusing so much on these exercises you end up creating muscle imbalances, or worsening existing muscle imbalances, which pull your bones and joints out of their normal position and this leads to uneven pressure and wear and tear on your muscle, ligaments, tendons, bones, and joints and will sooner or later lead a break down or injury.
For example, chronic overuse of the bench press, coupled with little or no exercises targeting the upper back, leads to an over development of the chest and a lack of strength and development in the upper back…
- This all too common combination leads to what we call “Turtle Back”. You know what we’re talking about, when the shoulders are pulled so far forward, lats are as wide as barn, and from behind, their back looks like a giant sea turtle shell!
This “Turtle Back” posture can create neck, upper back, and shoulder pain and injuries.
- Plus, how many times during your day are you forced to lie on your back and push up a bar loaded with weights? There are so many better exercises for chest development that not only stimulate more muscle, but also build more usable strength.
Now let’s talk about the fabulous thigh builder, the leg extension…
- Not only does it place an unbelievable amount of strain on the knee joint, but it also will quickly overdevelop the quads, which are already getting far more work than their counterpart, the hamstrings. An imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings, which is also extremely common in bodybuilders, is a key contributor to back pain. This imbalance is easily identifiable by what people often call “Bubble Butt” or “Ghetto Booty”.
So hopefully you can see how important it is to choose your exercises wisely. We strongly recommend you cut out these exercises, or at least cut back on using them and add in targeted exercises for the opposing muscle groups and targeted stretches for those tight, overdeveloped muscles.
The key to eliminating back pain, or any other ache, pain or injury for that matter, is to bring your body closer to balance…
What good is muscle if you can’t use it? How many more workouts are you going to miss because of back, neck, or shoulder pain? How much bigger and stronger could you be if back pain and other injuries weren’t ruining your training?
Just imagine how bad things will be 10, 20, or 30 years from now if you don’t make changes to your training now… but don’t take our word for it, ask some of the older bodybuilders who are paying the price now… you can spot them easily at the gym because they limp around trying to find something they CAN do.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.