In case anyone still isn’t aware, professional gaming is a legitimate sport, where professional gamers are considered as real athletes. Just as how marathon runners should not be doing leg extension exercises and a soccer player should not be running marathons, Esports athletes and competitive gamers do have certain exercises to avoid. As a competitive gamer, your ultimate priority is to sit at your gaming chair, with your razer gaming mouse and work towards improving your gameplay and skills, so you might not have the best clue of what sort of exercises you should and should not do. In this article, we help to narrow down the three worst exercises that gamers should never do; Sit-ups, Push-ups, and Hand squeezes.
1. Sit-up and Crunches
As one of the most basic exercises, everyone’s bound to have done sit-ups and crunches before, whether in school or at the gym. You lie with your back on the floor, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground, and you work your ab muscles to bring your torso up for your chest to reach your knees. Crunches are generally believed to be the one exercise one needs to achieve a flat stomach. Search up any generic workout video on the Internet, and chances are that the workout routines do include crunches or sit-ups. That said, most people don’t do sit-ups and crunches in the proper position and this can hinder their posture greatly.
The Problem With Sit-ups and Crunches
Well, stop doing these exercises! One of the world’s leading spinal research experts, Dr. Stuart McGill, has revealed that the top way to herniate a disc is from repeated lumbar flexion, where flexion refers to the action of forward bending and lumbar refers to the lower back. Lumbar flexion is in action every time you do a crunch or a sit-up. Repeated exercises of this same kind can be detrimental to our lower back, especially for the average person who does it in an improper posture. Sit-ups and crunches also barely contribute towards improving the stability of your core muscles or protect your lower back from getting injured at all.
If those reasons aren’t sufficient to scare you, then consider this: As a competitive gamer, you’re bound to be sitting for long hours on end, and on a daily basis as well. Us humans are not made for sitting in chairs all day. Such a sedentary lifestyle is likely to affect the lower back because as relaxing as merely sitting can be, long hours of this can put stress on the discs and muscles of both your neck and back. All the added stress can lead to tight experiences in your hip flexors due to restricted blood flow to your butt, which actually plays a significant role in supporting your spine and back.
Push-ups are popular for being one of the easiest exercises to do in your own home. It thus comes as no surprise if competitive gamers look towards this exercise when starting an exercise routine. Now, push-ups are definitely a great exercise that has many more benefits than simply building the triceps and chest. However great they are, gamers should avoid them, and this is why.
The Problem with Push-ups
Gamers are very susceptible to developing upper-crossed syndrome if they haven’t already. Basically, the upper-crossed syndrome is where your upper body rounds forward due to the tightening of your upper back and pectorals, as well as a weakening of the front of your neck and your lower-middle back. This is due to the unchanging fact that gamers have to be stuck in poor positions for extended periods of time on a long term basis, and neglect the importance of strengthening their weak points and allowing the tight points to relax. When they make time to exercise, the first instinct may be to drop into the common sit-up or push-up position, but this just ends up adding even more unwanted stress on the already stressed up muscles.
This doesn’t mean you should steer away from doing push-ups ever again. It’s just not the most advisable exercise when there are plenty of others that are more appropriate, considering how your gaming career affects your lifestyle.
3. Hand Squeezing
Shocking? Most of you gamers may believe that the use of stress balls is nothing but inappropriate to relieve the tension in your hands and wrists. This kind of exercise is commonly referred to as a “Crushing Grip Exercise” that involves three major grip training which consists of Crush, Support, and Pinch.
The Problem with Hand Squeezing
The use of your mouse, keyboard, or console controller utilizes many muscles that are involved in these crushing grip exercises, which are all primarily associated with the closing of the hand. As with the argument against sit-up and crunches, doing an exercise that once again reinforces an already harmful position is not ideal. Furthermore, there is little evidence in support of stress ball squeezing.
As an Esports athlete or competitive player, your hand is flexed in a clenched up position most of the time, and for up to as many as 12 hours in one sitting. As your hand flexing muscles are most likely tired from being overworked, you probably are already experiencing an imbalance between your extensors and flexors. As such, you’re not doing yourself any good by choosing to exert more pressure on your overworked hands with such exercises.
In conclusion, Esports athletes and competitive gamers alike should take the advice to keep away from these three exercises. While steering away from such exercises does not guarantee that you can be safe from injuries, it’s ideal that you do what you can to reduce the risk to the minimum. If you’re serious about pursuing your sport for as long as you can, then don’t let your body health and pesky issues that can be avoided hinder your career; Put in the due effort to educate yourself on the exercises that can add value, and those that you ought to avoid!