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No Such Thing as a Bad Exercise

We’ve all heard someone say that deadlifts are bad for your back. Which is funny because they are actually one of the exercises used for low back pain rehab. This is just one of the many exercises labeled as a “bad exercise”. Also see upright rows, knee extension, or any “knee over toe” exercise. The same thing goes for running, it’s not bad for your knees (honestly it can be good for your knees).

None of these exercises are bad. Now that’s not to say that any of these exercises are mandatory. There could be some other exercises that you could use to achieve the same goal, but the point I am trying to make is that if you love to deadlift, you should be able to do it without hurting yourself. That is if you have the proper guidance.

Most exercise related injuries are because of one thing:3


Stress is not always a bad thing. Lifting weights puts stress on our muscles. The cool thing about the human body is that it adapts to stress. The whole point of weightlifting is for the body to say “hey if we increase the size of this muscle, we can lift this weight easier.”

However, our body can only handle a certain amount of stress before it becomes too much. If you quickly increase the workload of an exercise, then you could be overloading the muscle and not allow it to adapt. Hence, you get a strain or sprain.

We can also look at things that affect your recovery from stress. Like getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night or eating enough to support your caloric expenditure. But there is enough to talk about that can be another blog post.

How Important is Form?

The answer may surprise you. It’s actually not as important as you may think. For example, some people create a fear around deadlifting with a rounded back. As long as the rounding is not excessive or the back does not move much while performing the lift, most people will be perfectly fine to lift this way. If you deadlift this way and work up in weight over time, your body can adapt and get stronger.

Some people will be sensitive to a rounded back posture, but others may be sensitive to whatever someone determined to be “good form.” It’s not a black and white thing. There can be some variation from person to person and you just have to find out what works best for the individual.


In general there is no such thing as a bad exercise. The human body can adapt to stress as long as it is not a sudden change and you ease into something. Start with the basic recommendations for form in an exercise and make slight adjustments as needed.

​If you are having pain while exercising and are spinning your wheels trying to fix it, then it’s time to reach out to us! Click the link below to claim a Free Discovery Visit and we can talk about what is going, what you have tried, and what your goals are.


Dr. Brett Dick

PT, DPT, Owner of Limitless Performance Physical Therapy

We Help Active People ​Improve Pain And Performance ​In Their Favorite Sports And Activities.
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