Most Dangerous or Unsafe Exercises 1. Crunches Abdominal crunches are often what pops into the mind of anyone looking for six-pack abs, but in reality they can be downright dangerous. While crunches seem like a simple exercise movement, that spinal flexion, rounding your lower back so you can bend at the waist, pushes disc back toward your spinal cord and often leads to herniated disc in the lower back. 2. Upright Rows While performing upright rows, you may notice that your shoulders are rotating inward (internal rotation) but also elevating. You may not realize the stress you’re putting on your rotator cuff that can eventually lead to injury. Another common injury that can occur through lifting your arms while they’re in an internal rotation position is known as shoulder impingement syndrome, which can result in difficulty reaching upward or pain when arms are extended above the head. 3. Leg Extension Machine Seated leg extension machines require a resistance point that is placed by the ankles. This placement can put a lot of stress on the knees in the form of ACL tension. The heavier the weight, the more likely you are to suffer a knee injury. 4. Smith Machine When supplementing squats for leg extensions, make sure they are not being performed on a Smith machine. Although the Smith machine was designed to limit injury by providing barbell support via built-in bar guides, these guides are often what leads to injury. Since the barbell is locked into a straight up and down motion, that’s the only way your body can move. This motion, which our bodies are not meant to go in without going backward puts added stress on the knees and lower back. 5. Behind the Head Lat Pulldowns People often think that adding a little variation to their lat pulldown by pulling the bar down to the back of their neck will help build upper back strength. They tend to neglect the stress they’re putting on their shoulders by bending them in a way they were not meant to backward. Performing the motion that is required to complete behind the head lat pulldowns, especially with a lot of weight, can quickly lead to a rotator cuff injury. When performing lat pulldowns, bring the bar down in front of your head to around the collarbone are while squeezing your shoulder blades in to meet each other. 6. Leg Press Bringing the sled down so far that it raises your pelvis off the machine takes the normal curve in your lower back out and increases the risk of a herniated disc dramatically. 7. Preacher Bench Barbell Curls Rounding your shoulders forward and flexing your neck puts excessive stress on the cervical discs and can potentially herniate a disc. 8. Standing Barbell Shoulder Press Many people, trying to lift more weight, lean back a lot when pressing the bar overhead, but this loads the facet joints in the lower back, potentially causing you back pain 9. Dumbbell Flys A common exercise modification is lowering the dumbbells to get an extra stretch in the pecs, but this can also stretch the pec muscles too much and potentially cause a pec fear. 10. Barbell Bench Press to the Neck This is an exercise that puts tremendous stress through the pecs and shoulder capsule and, if performed, must be done with low weight and high reps. 11. Squats Many bodybuilders do high bar squats with a heavy weight, and this can put excessive stress on the lower neck, potentially injuring the joint. 12. Dumbbell Bench Press This is an excellent exercise that can cause an injury when you finish the exercise by lowering the dumbbells by your sides onto the floor. This puts extreme unnecessary stress through the shoulder capsule. 13. Stiff-legged Deadlifts This exercise is often performed by standing on a bench to get an extra stretch, but the hamstrings stop being used once the bar passes below the knee, so the extra stretch really doesn’t build the hamstrings more and only loads the lower back excessively. 14. Deadlifts When pulling from the floor, many people straighten their legs while the bar is still on the floor, creating excessive stress on the lower back discs.