What workouts to avoid if you’re new to the gym life

Muscular man and fit woman workout with kettle ball at gym

Fresh faced gym members have been warned not to tackle potentially dangerous moves they see regulars pumping out during their sessions.

With the January membership surge firmly behind us, a group of fitness experts from sportswear manufacturer Vivotion have revealed the hazardous exercises new recruits should steer clear of if preparing to start their fitness regime in the coming weeks.

Without the help of an experienced personal trainer, newbies can lack the correct technique and base fitness level required to perform certain exercises. This increases the risk of injury, particularly in areas of weakness such as the lower back, shoulders and knees.

From behind the neck pull-downs to excessive cardio training, fledgling gymgoers should dodge Vivotion’s list of potentially damaging exercises to ensure a happy workout.

A spokesperson from Vivotion said: “New gymgoers hitting the weights this year should avoid taking on these dangerous exercises otherwise they could seriously injure their body.

“It’s recommended to start off with simple exercises so they can perfect their technique and build up a good core level of fitness before taking on more challenging workouts.”

Here are some potentially dangerous exercises newbies should avoid and replace with safer alternatives.

Behind the neck pull downs

This exercise requires the user to thrust their head and neck forward, which can result in a muscle strain, pull or tear if performed with a poor technique. In a worst-case scenario, this exercise can move the spine out of alignment when under heavy load, which could lead a spinal disk herniation.

Alternative exercise: To the sternum pull downs.
Instead, gym newbies should try this exercise as they are less likely to injure hyper sensitive areas – such as the spine – due to a more comfortable positioning of the bar. The key to performing this exercise correctly involves maintaining good form by keeping an upright posture throughout.

Seated leg extensions

This machine targets the quad, but the equipment can easily cause injury. For new gymgoers not familiar with resistance training, this type of exercise can have a detrimental effect on a person’s knees.

Alternative exercise: Split squats
This exercise is safer for fitness fans just starting out at the gym as it places the knees in a more natural position, reducing the load put on the joint and therefore lessening the potential risk of injury.

Long durations of cardio exercise

Excessive cardio workouts can lead to over-training injuries (such as chronic joint soreness) as the ankles, knees, hips and lower back take a pounding back when running on either a treadmill or outside. Failing to give the body sufficient time to recover in between workouts can cause injury in these susceptible areas.

Alternative exercise: HIIT training
This is a form of interval training that requires a high level of intensity during a workout but is completed over a shorter duration of time. The nature of this exercise means the repeated impact on joints is reduced when compared to cardio training.