When starting an exercise program, it is important to know, not all exercises are equal. And not all exercises will suit every person. The risks will differ from person to person based on individual differences in posture, level of conditioning, biomechanics and predisposition to injury.
When exercises are selected for you, there needs to be an understanding of the risk, the benefits and alternatives for that exercise. Some things to consider include:
- What is the purpose to the exercise?
- Are you at risk of injury performing this exercise?
- Are you performing the exercise with good technique?
- Is the movement extreme, sustained (held) or does it involve lifting weights in excess of what you can handle?
- Does it compromise any of your joints?
- Does the exercise significantly alter your blood pressure?
For every exercise, the benefits need to outweigh the risks or an alternative exercise should be performed. Safety must come first. If it hurts, don’t do it!
Some exercises are considered more effective than others. An example to promote useable strength that is relative to everyday activities and normal movement patterns to enhance the quality of life and promote maximal performance is to perform functional exercises. These exercises replicate daily or sporting activities using direction of forces and coordination of relevant muscles and joint movements.
Training the body using compound exercises (using 2 or more joints together) means lots of muscles are engaged at the same time, as opposed to training isolated muscles (one muscle at a time). Recruiting many agonists, assistants, antagonists and stabilising muscle groups together when performing compound exercises, means for a more effective workout and better use of your time and energy.
The best exercises to perform are those with low risk and high effectiveness. Then you will achieve the desired goals for good health and sustained fitness. If you are unsure of any exercise, please discuss it with an exercise professional.