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NSW Department of Education and Communities

Curriculum support for NSW Public Schools

What are contraindicated exercises and movements?

A contraindicated exercise is a movement that is not recommended because it is potentially dangerous. It may involve:

  • extreme movements that cause extension or flexion of a joint beyond its normal range e.g. full circle neck rotations, back arches, toe touches, deep knee bends and frog jump repetitions
  • movements that involve excessive, rapid or repetitive twisting around a fixed base e.g. wall slaps, trunk rotations
  • sustained or held movements, e.g. held sit-up
  • repetitive movements e.g. arm circling through a small range of movement.

It is important that students use safe stretching techniques when warming-up for any physical activity. This link demonstrates a range of safe stretching exercises.

Other movements that should be avoided include:

  • running backwards - this should be avoided due to the potential for tripping over or running into an obstacle
  • weight bearing on the head – this should be avoided as children’s neck strength is not sufficiently developed
  • hanging by knees from apparatus - when using fixed apparatus, students need a firm grip to avoid falling
  • dive rolls - incorrect technique can result in excessive strain on wrists or neck
  • crossing feet over each other when using hanging apparatus - if the student falls and the feet are twisted together, injury to the feet is more likely than if the feet were side by side.
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