Common Sense Isn't Very Common

We see it on television with reality shows and infomercials that one must exercise to complete exhaustion or be unable to walk the next day to achieve your fitness goals. I always tell people that I can make you really sore but If I were to say to you I have this really cool new fitness program where I take you outside, beat you with a wooden stick, and when you leave you say "wow, I’m incredibly sore." Then I tell you how awesome your workout was, that you should come tomorrow and maybe you can bring your friends and family. The fact is no one would let someone do that to themselves, but why then would you let someone do that to you with weights randomly. It makes no sense, right? Unfortunately that’s how most workout facilities conduct their training routines. They are adopting someone else’s philosophy by inflicting pain rather than developing their own by using intelligent exercise selection. There has to be a why behind everything you’re doing in regard to your fitness training and if someone can’t give you a well thought answer you need to find someone who can. 

For example I run into a lot of people who have hurt themselves deadlifting or flipping heavy tractor tires. I’ll ask why are they flipping heavy tractor trailer tires in their workout? Their response is they have no idea other than they saw some professional football player or their trainer/coach told them it was good for them. Flipping tires is completely negligent, it goes completely against anatomy and physics and I would only have someone do this if I purposely wanted to hurt them. When squatting to pick up the tire you have to drop your hips below your knees to get in the position to lift the tire. When you do this your meniscus in your knee will move forward in the joint the more you bend it putting your knee in a compromised position. Then on top of that you are adding repeat flexion from flipping the tire over and over which once again if I purposely wanted to throw out someone’s back I would have them do this exercise. And if that wasn’t enough to hurt them I would give them a sledgehammer to then hit that tire with it and watch them swing and miss and break their leg. Picking something off the ground whether its dumbbells, flipping tractor tires or deadlifting are some of the worst possible exercises you can do for your lower back when it comes to torque and shear on your spine. It goes against physics and anatomy and you really can’t argue that.  

Another type of exercise that has become quite popular is kettle bell training. Although kettle bell training when done correctly is very effective, there is one exercise that puts an extreme amount of stress on your shoulders and lower back. This exercise consists of swinging a kettle bell between your legs and then over your head.  Nine times out of ten what you will see is one thrusting his or her head forward, dropping the pelvis and hyper extending the lumbar spine (middle back) in order to put the arms behind the ears in order to make the rep count. Why is this bad? We sit way too much and most Americans shoulder blades are tilted towards the front of their body. If we have a shoulder blade that is tilted forward we are then driving the shoulder joint right into the rotator cuff causing shoulder impingement. This is a problem with any overhead exercise especially high velocity swinging. You should try to swing the kettle bell no higher than your belly button. Remember proper fitness training should prevent injuries so you must look at the risk benefit and ask yourself why I am doing this. Intelligent exercise selection, frequency and progression are the key to making meaningful strides in your fitness goals and not trying to constantly re-invent the wheel when all you have to do is spin it the right way. For free research based fitness and program design advice check out our YouTube channel at  

Jordan Nichols