CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dear Cindy,
Is there a list of exercises that are considered unsafe? I have knee pain and am afraid I might injure it more if I exercise. -- Karen
While your question is relatively simple, the answer is a bit more complex. This list you are requesting is one that identifies contraindicated exercises. There was a time when fitness industry labeled certain exercises as dangerous to perform. It was thought some movements would cause problems to backs, knees, shoulders, ankles, etc., and should be avoided.
In fact, responsible fitness instructors memorized these specific exercises and excluded them in their group fitness classes. We were taught to do this and banning some exercises seemed a simple solution. It did make an instructor's job easier and most likely served to prevent a few injuries. But since then, the fitness industry has evolved and now labeling certain movements as contraindicated is not so cut and dried.
Consider this. Some people complain that step aerobics bothers their knees; some say kickboxing hurts their hips; while others say running kills their feet and ankles. Does this mean then, that step aerobics, kickboxing and running should be labeled contraindicated? Of course not.
Today, the fitness industry has matured and studied not only the exercise, but also the exerciser. The conclusion after examining the biomechanics of people is that more times than not there are not contraindicated exercises, but rather contraindicated people.
We have all come to realize it's more than just having a list of "good" and "bad" exercises, because what is contraindicated for one person may be perfectly safe for another.