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Workouts You Need To Stop Doing In 2014

January 03, 2014 4 min read

Every year it seems somehow, somewhere in the fitness world, new workouts develop in hopes of creating the next best thing to stay in shape and have fun doing it. I mean, who could argue with Joanna Rohrback's vision that Prancercising would one day be the latest and greatest fitness trend to hit the world, or at least South Beach. Whatever the case may be, there are some fitness fads that may best be left flat on the gym floor, as some individuals may might find themselves while participating in them. TODAY contributor, Diane Mapes, recently posted a few fitness fads that we could all stop doing in 2014. Maybe it's the higher then normal injury rate, or the fact that some of these are downright ridiculous, I don't think we'll lose any sleep LOSING these in the new year!

Pole Dancing

Now I'm sure there are plenty of women who walk into these classes and nail it. But for all those who succeed at spinning around upside down on a pole, there are an even HIGHER number of people who will fall flat on their face. Don't get me wrong, I know this is a hell of a workout when done correctly, not to mention requires a lot of muscular strength, endurance and body awareness. But some of these classes are downright dangerous. Dr. Ryan Stanton, a Lexington, Kentucky emergency room doctor, mentions Pole dance forums regularly alluding to bumps, bruises, cracked ribs and broken toes. "That’s just the start", says Stanton, who's also seen back, ankle and wrist injuries. “The majority of injuries are associated with falls,” he says. “And there’s also a risk of skin infections like strep and staph if the pole hasn’t been adequately sterilized.” THROW UP IN MOUTH.

Yoga Mash-Ups

“Yoga’s not good enough on its own any more,” says Stanton, a spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians or ACEP. “Now you have to turn up the temperature or do it on a paddle board.” There is even a class called Antigravity Yoga, where you are suspended from a ceiling in a white tarp like a bag of laundry. Whether this is genius or just crazy talk, some of these yoga mash-up classes can be very risky. Stanton says he’s treated people who’ve passed out in hot yoga classes and warns that the practice can be dangerous for people with heart disease.

Gas Mask Training

So I guess gas mask training isn't only for our first responders and military anymore. Looks like the average Joe can get his Doomsday Prepper obsession on by attending one of these classes. Seriously? While proponents rave about the results (they also readily admit to “seeing stars”), Stanton compares the practice to “being strangled while you’re exercising.” The video made me LAUGH. I think I'll pass.

Backwards Running

Although this has now become a trend with races, has a world champion, and there is even an attempt to make it an Olympic Sport, Backwards Running, started out as a rehab exercise for athletes with pulled hamstrings. Also known as reverse running, retro running or “gninnur” (that’s “running” spelled backwards…WHO KNEW?!), is another 'sport' that has many concerned. “That one’s really crazy,” says Jason Karp, an exercise physiologist from San Diego. “Humans are not meant to walk backward. It’s not how we’re designed. The main concern is that one will slip and fall. Not to mention strain your neck from looking behind you every three seconds.

Stiletto Workouts

Although many LOVE this workout, saying it will help strengthen your core among other things,  Neal Pire, an exercise physiologist and fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, call this fitness craze  dubbed the “the world’s worst workout” by Prevention Magazine — unnatural. “When you wear high heels, you’re shortening your Achilles tendon, throwing off your center of gravity and putting stress on your lower back. And then there’s what happens in your feet.” ER doc Stanton is more blunt: “Anything in stilettos is an ankle injury waiting to happen,” he says.

MOB Races

MOB, or "Mud, Obstacle and Beer" challenge races like Tough Mudder and Warrier Dash attract many. Even those that don't really workout on a regular basis are inspired to don their mostly unused sneakers and venture out into the 'wild' to run around and get down and dirty with the mud. But this doesn't come without a price. A study by the ACEP found that a single competition last June resulted in 38 ER visits for everything from chest pain, to dislocated shoulders, to head and face injuries, to electrical burns and paralysis. Living on the wild side as a weekend warrier, can even have a deadly outcome. “This is a really high risk activity,” says Stanton. “People train for marathons but Tough Mudders attract people who have no intention of training — they just want to get out and run in the mud. It’s risky enough for the person in good shape, much less someone who hasn’t run 3 miles in the last year.” My very athletic brother tried to convince me to do the Tough Mudder in P.A. I asked, 'Is this the race where you get electrocuted? No thanks.' 2D10601113-today-fitness-fads-131219-02.blocks_desktop_medium  

Stability Ball Stands

I have to admit, when I worked as a trainer in a gym, part of passing the time between clients was doing silly stuff on stability balls. We would do knee stands on the balls while doing bicep curls, even attempt standing on the balls. Nuts I know, but it passed the time and we'd laugh at each other. I used them all the time with my clients too doing advances abdominal, chest, back and core exercises too. But lately people are taking it to another level. “I’ve seen contusions to the sacrum and lower back,” says Stanton. “I’ve seen people hit weight machines, hit benches, hit other people.” Stanton calls the tendency to push the fitness envelope “testosterone syndrome” or the “jock effect.” “People get to a gym and try to do more than they’re capable of,” he says. “But gravity always wins the day.”  

Pushing the envelope in fitness can be fun, but sometimes can also be downright dangerous.

Any other fitness trends you think have run their course and should be kicked to the curb?


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