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Most people believe that all exercises are good, safe and effective. After all it's exercise—and that has to count for something, doesn't it?

The truth is that some common exercises aren't safe at all (especially for people who have muscle, joint, and health problems). Certain exercises require a bit more know-how than the average person possesses. And other exercises are downright wastes of your time.

But before we examine some of the most controversial exercises, I want to make it clear that every exercise on this list isn't always unsafe or ineffective for everyone. What you should do—or avoid—depends on your goals, fitness level, health history, workout schedule, and other personal issues. An article like this can't replace your own efforts to identify your goals and needs. That requires you to do some research on your own, talk to your medical professional about any pain or physical limitations you have, and learn how to exercise with proper form and technique.

Read more: 5 Exercises You Should Never Do

Many exercises can develop strong shoulders. Some are great. Others, not so much.

The shoulder is one of the most sensitive joints in the body. It has incredible range of motion, allowing athletes to throw a baseball or swing a racquet. However, its support structure relies primarily on muscle and connective tissue.

The shoulders of athletes who participates in overhead sports like baseball, tennis or football (QB) can experience serious wear and tear. Small muscles and tendons can impinge. Support structures can wear out.

That's why you need to be careful when you work out your shoulders. You need to strengthen your shoulders, but in a way that won't cause damage, and ideally will prevent injury while improving your performance.

Here are seven shoulder-strengthening exercises that you can perform safely and effectively.

Neutral-Grip Overhead Press

Pressing overhead is generally considered a no-no for anyone at risk for a shoulder injury. This holds true for the Military Press and the Dumbbell Overhead Press, which externally rotate the shoulders. Anatomically, this puts you in a vulnerable position and increases the chance of experiencing pain or causing an injury—especially if you're a pitcher, quarterback, tennis player or any other overhead athlete.

Read more: 7 Exercises That Safely Build Shoulder Strength

If I told you that there was a way to burn more calories, lose more fat, and improve your cardiovascular fitness level while spending less time doing cardio, you'd probably reach for your phone to report me to the consumer fraud hotline, right?

Well, this is one of those rare times when your natural it's-too-good-to-be-true reaction could be mistaken. If you want to take your fitness and fat loss to the next level—without spending more time in the gym—then high intensity interval training (also known as HIIT) could be exactly what you're looking for.

Read more: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Hi there! Thank so much for submitting your question. It's a great question, and ties in nicely with last month's column. Let's start by defining the term "butt wink."

Butt wink is a common term for losing proper spinal positioning when squatting to depth (in gym terms, "in the hole" or "ass to grass"). Instead of maintaining a neutral or slightly extended lumbar spine, the lifter experiences posterior pelvic tilt and lumbar flexion at the lowest point of their squat. This makes the butt "wink" or tuck under (the photo below left shows proper form, photo on the right shows butt wink).

READ MORE...

Michael Nichols sees himself as tall, thin and not particularly strong.

Weightlifting doesn't come particularly easy to the 69-year-old Williamsburg resident, yet somehow his accolades include a national title in his age group and several Virginia state championships.

Nichols didn't start lifting competitively until he was 52. When he started bench pressing, he waited until everyone else left the room, unable to lift 135 pounds.

Read more: Late bloomer from Williamsburg lifts weight with resolve

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