Sure, it’s impressive to lift weights like those guys you see in the summer Olympics who make a bar loaded with 500 pounds look like a feather or the guys with bodies that look like Greek statues. However, the exercises you see them doing require years of training (with a qualified coach) and countless hours of practice to get it right. And more often than not, the risk far outweighs the potential reward. So before you jump into something you may not be quite ready for, here’s a list of the five most dangerous exercises, why you shouldn’t bother, and some safer alternatives.
Aside from the risk that a heavy weight could fall on your head, perhaps ending your exercising career, you could tear the labrum in one or both of your shoulders, taking you out of the gym for months, if not years. However, if you must perform explosive moves like this one, opt for something more like a kettlebell swing, which is much safer and can provide the same benefits for explosive power.
While this is a great move for shoulder stability and leg drive when done right, the position this move puts your shoulders in could lead to impingement syndrome and rotator cuff tears. For similar or equal benefits, try swapping this one with a barbell thruster—which will also provide some additional fat burn.
Although this one is a great muscle-mass developer, it puts the shoulders and wrists into positions that have been linked to impingement syndrome and ligament tears. An overhead press with either a barbell or dumbbells will not only be safer, but it might even develop the shoulders better.
Despite the fact that this move is the exact action that the pecs perform, the potential for shoulder injury, including but not limited to acromioclavicular separation (just as bad as it sounds) and glenohumeral dislocation (you don’t even want to know), is too high to make this one worth putting into your regular chest day. Use a dumbbell bench press instead.
Undoubtedly awesome for the hamstrings and lower back, as well as a great assistance exercise for the squat, because the weight is loaded directly on your spine even a slight breakdown in form can result in serious injury. Spinal injuries are, in some cases, lethal. A Romanian deadlift is just as effective and a lot safer.