Locked knee toe touches can overstress the back, knees, and hamstring muscles, especially when done quickly with a bouncing movement.

Double leg lifts can strain your lower back since raising both legs causes your back to arch. Leg scissors present similar risks.

Yoga plow can compress disks in your neck area. A shoulder stand (by bicycling position in which you rest on your shoulders and upper back) can do similar damage.

Arched pushups are sloppy pushups in which you lower your hips and pelvis to the floor. Like any exercise that arches the back, these can injure the disks in the lower spine. And they do little for arm and shoulder muscles.

  Bent knee hang downs call for rolling down slowly with your knees slightly bent and abdominal muscles tight until you feel your hamstring and back muscles start to stretch. Hang over for 10 to 20 seconds. Don’t use force, don’t try to reach the floor, and don’t bounce.

Raised leg crunches are 4 safe way to strengthen abdominal muscles. Keep one leg bent with the foot on the floor; raise the other leg straight up. Raise your upper back and reach toward the lifted ankle.

Fold up stretch is a safer way to stretch your upper and lower back. Just sit back on your heels and press your chest to your thighs, reaching forward with your hands.

Straight back push-ups give your shoulders and arms the maximum workout without straining your back. Hold your torso in a straight line and slowly lower your chest to the ground by bending your arms at the elbow.

Article extracted from this publication >> April 29, 1988