Do This, Not That

by Colleen Morgan, PT, MS, OCS, CSCS

Whether you are a weekend warrior or competitive athlete,

a life-long “gym rat” or exercise newbie, it’s important to know which gym exercises are worth your time and energy.  Learn what exercises most physical therapists would categorize as worthless (perhaps even downright dangerous) and explore some healthy alternatives in our recurring blog column “Do This, Not That!”

Do This!

Not That!

Bird dog may look (and sound) like a weird exercise, but similar to the plank, it’s a great “whole body” exercise.  This is a surprisingly functional exercise: Remember how tired you were after you knelt to clean the bathtub?  Stabilization of your core, upper body, and lower body occurs as soon as you get onto hands and knees.  The exercise becomes progressively more challenging as you lift just one arm, just one leg, alternating arm and leg, and finally same-sided arm and leg.  Keep that tummy tight to support your back! Seated back extensions against resistance.Sitting imposes the greatest compressive load through the lumbar spine.  Forcefully extending your back against resistance creates a compressive force rather than a stabilizing force through your lumbar spine.  Add on the fact that you are sitting and you have a potential recipe for harmful spinal compression!

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