Thursday, September 24, 2009

All Gain, No Pain

“Almost everyone has an exercise that seems to hurt as much as it helps. Maybe it's the squat, known for its ability to make the back twinge and knees ache. Or the bench press, which has left more than a few rotator cuffs in tatters. Or maybe, it's a simple abdominal crunch -- it looks harmless enough but can send a neck into spasms. But don't give up on these high-powered moves. With a few easy adjustments, they can be incorporated into a workout with very little risk of injury. ‘I don't think there's any exercise that's inherently dangerous or shouldn't be done,’ said Adam Johnson, sports performance director at Santa Clarita's Velocity Sports Performance training facility. ‘If an athlete is doing things the right way, there's less of a chance of injuring themselves.’ The key is using the correct form, maintaining core stability and using a slow, controlled tempo, trainers say. Improper technique and a quick, sloppy pace shift the stress from your muscles - where it should be - to your joints and ligaments, which is a recipe for injury. ‘Anytime a joint feels stress, it's because the movement is being done incorrectly,’ said Ted Shankle, fitness manager at 24 Hour Fitness in Hermosa Beach. To master the correct form, trainers recommend putting your ego aside and lifting no more than your body weight at first. Shankle also suggests trying weight machines, at least for the first week of a new workout program. ‘They help you line up and give you a lot of stability, so it's easy to do the movement the correct way,’ he said.”

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