Bad exercises, bad exercise prescription, bad coaches, or bad luck?

Injuries in sport and life occur as a consequence or combination of many factors including age, fatigue, over-use, previous injury, lack of physical fitness and preparedness. Are you more susceptible to injury than most?

If an injury has entered your life in some way then I suggest you take a look at whether it’s bad exercises, bad exercise selection or prescription, bad coaching, or bad luck.

All could be factors for you when considering exactly how you got injured.

What are you doing or not doing to mitigate your risk of injury? Have you managed to balance the risks and rewards of your activities?

The cause of an injury is often highly discussed after the fact. Bad luck is about the only thing out of your control. It’s often not the injury itself but what you did or didn’t do before the injury occurred that got you there. So, here’s a take on bad exercises, bad exercise prescription, and bad coaching, the last of which is a sensitive issue for me as I’m a coach……

Are there bad exercises?

Yes, I would say there are bad exercises. We know more today than ever on what constitutes a good movement. Yet on reading the point and counterpoint arguments from the paper “Abdominal Crunches Are/Are Not a Safe and Effective Exercise,” by researcher Brad Schoenfeld I can see that crunches may be safe and needed for certain individuals but that the inherent and documented risks are indeed harmful enough that nobody should be doing them ever again.

“Should we classify exercises as good or bad?” This question was addressed in an editorial in the Strength and Conditioning Journal this month. Author Dr. Morey Kolber suggests the answers are left in the hands of experts and this begs the question of “What constitutes an expert? Is it  “The individual with the best physique who offers training sessions and advice, or the researcher with the education and citations to produce a statement paper?

Bad Exercise Prescription

The risk versus reward paradigm is individual for us all.  The safety of the exercise selection or prescription requires the assessment of the individual performing the exercise, and there is not one size fits all. In fact, this is where the art, science, and years of practice come together. “Professional judgment involves considering multiple, and often contradicting, sources of knowledge. (-2)

Are you training yourself or putting your kids/grand-kids at risk by assuming that sports will get them fit? Remember when the load exceeds the capacity we get an injury. Think of an injury of your own or someone you know …. OK now where they physically prepared and did they have the athletic competency to meet the demand? Sometimes injuries seem like they occur because of that “one” thing you did but more often they are conditioned over time with too much of a bad thing and or not enough good things!

The lack of physical fitness or preparedness is what I’m talking about here.  Do you have the athletic competency or neuromuscular control for the tasks you are doing? Another thing to remember is that your previous injuries are the biggest indicators of your next injury if you have not rehabilitated and made yourself capable of withstanding more than the load that injured you in the first place.

Did you or a coach pick that exercise for you?

Bad Coaches

Who is your coach and what do they do to show you they are wise in professional judgement?

Often with big hearts and egos, I find the training industry full of people with a lack of common ground on which to work from. When I meet and liaise with like-minded professionals I feel and see the results. Is it a lack of knowledge, lack of attention, or lack of confidence that continues to plague the fitness industry and divide the results for our consumers?

I continue to strive for fitness results. I coach and lead with a degree of “pickiness” not seen or felt by many. At the risk of making the client or coach feel uneasy or unsuccessful in our politically correct world I know I’m gaining a reputation for this. It bothers me that your bad movements are not corrected and that we all don’t agree on what constitutes bad.

Trust me when I share with you that seeing bad movement bothers me. I’m so tired of wearing blinders in the world outside of my training facility. Do I need to wear blinders? I don’t want to see bad coaching and when I do I feel I have to be careful what I say for fear the repercussions will cause me legal issues.

Are we coaching to the kids correctly?

We are putting kids into sports and a lot of them don’t have what it takes to play without sustaining injury.

Would I like to change the way we introduce movement to kids? Yes!! Changing that is one of the bigger picture goals I have for myself. Improving how we all move as we age has got to be the start of the end to chronic health issues. I believe we need to get kids moving better from an early age. This involves the schools, but even more so the parents. Setting limits on the early specialization of sport, total number of hours per week in organized sport, as well as taking time off every year (1-3 months) are places for the parents to start.

Fact: Safe Kids Worldwide survey of emergency room visits shows more than a million times a year, or about every 25 seconds, a young athlete visits a hospital emergency room for a sports-related injury.


What’s the hurry? Trust the Process

So many of us want the quick results that will get us back in action. Fixing the underlying problem(s) that lead to your injury in the first place takes time. Trusting the process simply means that great things will happen when we don’t rush and skip the steps needed for recovery and prevention.

Not currently injured?

This is the best time ever to up your routine and layer a new level of fitness on top of your baseline. Wherever you are in your fitness journey there is room for improvement. Please don’t take the movement game lightly. Moving well can make everything in your world better.

Unfortunately for us all defining good movement, good exercise selection, and good coaching requires a little more than good luck.

One last thing:

One of the best things over the last two years for me has been the opportunity to be on the Jon McComb show’s “Fitness Segment.” It has provided me with challenges that I have worked hard to fulfill. Researching and providing the topic and content is one thing, then speaking live on air is another. From that, I now lead into speaking more confidently with opinion and authority on topics that are very dear to me and my reputation.

I call myself a picky trainer. The degree of detail needed to move well can be overwhelming. Many of you are not moving well. Even with the coaching that you receive, you are not moving well. Is this your fault, the coaches fault, or the systems we have in place at large?  Meaning: From early in life movement impairment happens. The schools, the parents, the environment, the sports (or lack of them), the rehabilitation process…. the list goes on.

There is nothing in here about prevention. We can’t agree on good movement anyway so how can we agree on prevention and what that really means. What is the cost to us all? Huge I say when you consider the implications from a small personal perspective to a larger scale public health one.

Enhancing your strength enhances your life. I encourage you to keep learning how to get strong. No matter where you are today you can work to improve your movement quality and strength. You can and you should!

Written by: Sheila Hamilton Oct 2017

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic with Jon McComb on the “Fitness Segment,” which airs live every Thursday at 9:05 am CKNW 980am radio.

Move Your DNA: Katy Bowman Copyright 2017
Should We Classify Exercises as Good Versus Bad?
Sport Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation: Book David Joyce and Daniel Lewindon Copyright 2016

Kolber, Morey J. PT, PhD, CSCS*D; Gearity, Brian T. PhD, CSCS, RSCC

Strength & Conditioning Journal: October 2017 – Volume 39 – Issue 5 – p 1–2

doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000329

Abdominal Crunches Are/Are Not a Safe and Effective Exercise

Schoenfeld, Brad J. PhD, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D, CSPS*D, FNSCA; Kolber, Morey J. PT, PhD, CSCS*D

Section Editor(s): Galpin, Andrew J. PhD, CSCS, NCSA-CPT

Strength & Conditioning Journal: December 2016 – Volume 38 – Issue 6 – p 61–64

doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000263

Columns: Point/Counterpoint (2)

The Risks of Sports Specialization in the Adolescent Female Athlete

Jayanthi, Neeru A. MD; Dugas, Lara R. PhD, MPH

Strength & Conditioning Journal: April 2017 – Volume 39 – Issue 2 – p 20–26

doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000293

Copyright: <a href=’’>oligliya / 123RF Stock Photo</a>


Injury Prevention in Youth Athletes: A Summary in 9 Key Points
High training workloads alone do not cause sports injuries
  1. Tim J Gabbett1,2,
  2. Billy T Hulin3,
  3. Peter Blanch4,5,
  4. Rod Whiteley

Copyright: <a href=’′>limbi007 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>