If you know enough about anatomy, physiology, and strength training, you could make a case for why every exercise in the book should be avoided. Conversely, you could also make a case for why every exercise in the book should be performed.
How you train is your call. Whether you play it safe or roll the dice, at least you're not sitting on the couch. Pain and injuries have a way of teaching you proper form and programming, and having a large arsenal of exercises is important to prevent boredom and habituation and spark further adaptation.
Here are 15 things to remember to help you keep learning and lifting:
- An exercise is judged by how it's supposed to be performed, not by how the jacktards screw it up.
- If you think lifting weights is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.
- There are no contraindicated exercises, just contraindicated individuals. Learn how your body works and master its mechanics.
- If you can't perform an exercise properly, don't do it. If an exercise consistently causes pain, don't do it. If an exercise consistently injures you, don't do it.
- Earn the right to perform an exercise. Correct any dysfunction and become qualified with bodyweight before loading up a movement pattern.
- There exists a risk-reward continuum and some exercises are safer than others. It's up to you to determine where you draw the line. Don't bitch about your lack of progress or poor joint health as you lie in the bed you made for yourself.
- Exercises performed poorly are dangerous, while exercises performed well are beneficial. If you use shitty form, you'll hurt yourself. It's only a matter of time.
- If you display optimal levels of joint mobility, stability, and motor control, you'll distribute forces much better and be able to tolerate more volume, intensity, and frequency.
- Structural balance is critical. You must strengthen joints in opposing manners to ensure that posture isn't altered. If your posture erodes due to strength training, it means that you're a crappy program designer.
- Body tissues adjust to become stronger to resist loading. The body is a living organism that adapts to imposed demands.
- Your training will be based on your needs, your goals, and your liking. Different goals require different training methods. The loftier your goals, the more risk entailed.
- There are two type of stress: eustress and distress. Keep yourself in eustress – a type of positive, motivating, exciting stress that you can handle– and you'll be okay.
- If you believe an exercise will hurt you, it probably will.
- Injuries in the weight room have more to do with poor form and poor programming than the exercise itself. Exercises are tools. You are the carpenter. A good carpenter never blames his tools.
- Rather than drift along with popular trends, it's more fruitful to learn how the body works, which will allow you to understand the pros and cons of every exercise and make educated decisions in your programming.