10 Worst Exercises
As a personal trainer and fitness coach, I’ve seen a variety of injuries and strains resulting from exercise. Although form and technique are often to blame, there are a number of exercises you should avoid altogether.
This article reviews the top 10 exercises you should avoid at the gym. While some should be completely removed from your workout routine, others simply deserve extra focus and attention.
Let’s take a look at these exercises and what you can do to ensure your workouts are safe and effective.
Top 10 Worst Exercises
1. Seated Leg Extension – This machine may seem like an ideal exercise for your quadriceps, but be careful. It simultaneously puts strain on your knees by forcing your legs to engage in an unnatural movement. Try one-legged squats or lunges instead.
2. Seated Shoulder Press (Machine) – This one is okay for beginners, but once you start piling on the weight, you’re more likely to put your shoulder joints in a compromising position. Use free weights instead, which will mimic a more natural movement.
3. Seated Lat Pull-Down (Behind Neck) – While there’s nothing wrong with a standard lat pull-down, pulling the bar behind your neck rather than below your chin can really cause a lot of strain. Most people simply don’t have the flexibility in their shoulders to do this one properly, so scratch it off your list!
4. Seated Hip Abductor – This exercise technically trains the muscle group it’s intended to, but it forces your body to move in a completely unnatural and non-functional way. Instead, use the cable machines to do hip abductions in a standing position.
5. Squats with Smith Machine – While the one may seem safer, the alignment of the machine actually forces your back and spine into unnatural positions. Use a barbell or free weights instead.
6. Traditional Sit-Ups – You don’t need to give up on these ones altogether, but you should be paying very close attention to your technique. Improper form can put a great deal of strain on your lower back. Ensure that you’re not pulling on your neck, and engage your abs throughout.
7. Ab Machine – I have to say, this is my least favorite piece of equipment at the gym! This machine makes it too easy to also engage your arms, back, shoulders, and legs, removing the focus from your abs. When it comes to ab workouts, body weight and medicine balls are the best option for resistance.
8. Tricep Extension – Any exercise that requires you to reach fully behind your back is going to put strain on your shoulders and neck. While this exercise is suitable for more advanced weight lifters, it should be avoided by beginners. Tricep kickbacks are a good alternative.
9. Extended Cardio Workouts – This one is a little more general, but regardless of which cardio exercise you choose, extended sessions will just lead to muscle loss. Instead, aim for shorter and more intense workouts.
10. Spot-Reduction Exercises – If you think you can burn fat in a specific area by engaging that area in exercise, think again. When it comes to fat-burning and weight loss, spot reduction simply doesn’t work. Increasing your total lean muscle mass while burning calories in general will give you the best toning results.
10 Worst Exercises – Conclusion
No matter what you’re doing at the gym, make sure you have safety in mind. Proper form is critical, and always listen to your body. I also recommend a good recovery supplement like Scivation Xtend and Optimum Glutamine – these can go a long way to improve muscle repair.
Have any questions or feedback about the 10 worst exercises? Please leave a comment below…