Hundreds of studies have proven that resistance training is the most effective for weight loss, fat burning, and improving your overall fitness. However, not ALL resistance training exercises are good for you—in fact, there are some that are a downright waste of time or even harmful. If you want to make every minute of your workout count, here are a few of the exercises you should avoid:
Squats one of the best resistance training exercises to work your quads, so you’d think that Leg Presses would do the same—after all, they’re the same exercise, just inverted. Well, in terms of quad activation, Leg Presses are pretty effective. You can often press a lot of weight and hit your quad muscles hard. However, the movement ONLY focuses on your quads, not your glutes. Squats target your glutes as well as your quads, so the secondary muscles get a better workout, leading to better muscle growth overall. The fact that you’re laying down or seated means your hips aren’t fully able to extend, and your heart rate will decrease when you “rest”. To really hit those legs hard, focus on Lunges and Squats, with all their glorious variations.
Upright rows are intended to focus on the deltoid (shoulder) muscles, forcing them to engage in a pulling movement that works the muscle in a different way than presses (pushing movements) do. However, the sad truth is that the rows tend to increase your risk of shoulder impingement, due to the unusual position of your arms as you row the weight. The amount of muscular activation is also a lot less than you’d expect, making it a less than effective exercise. Low efficiency + higher risk of injury = an exercise you should avoid!
Pecs Deck Machine
While many machines are less than effective for recruiting your muscles, the pecs deck machine is actually fairly efficient—almost on par with dumbbell flys and bench presses. However, the movement of your arms puts your shoulders in a strange, potentially injurious position. They end up externally rotated and abducted, which can increase your risk of shoulder injury when working with heavy weight. If you have existing shoulder injuries or problems, the Pecs Deck machine has a high chance of making the problems worse. It’s better to stick with the old faithful Bench Press!
This may sound like an odd one to have on the list! After all, aren’t Dips amazing for building shoulder, triceps, and chest muscles? They definitely lead to high muscle activation, but the problem lies in the high risk of shoulder injuries. Performing them requires a lot of shoulder stability, and those who lack sufficient shoulder strength may end up hurting themselves. Unless you know you can handle them, you’re better off with a less potentially dangerous movement.
Plank is a killer movement in the first 30 to 60 seconds, but once you cross the 2-minute mark, you’re simply increasing lactic acid build-up without increasing isometric activity. Instead, try the Plank variations that involve some sort of movement—instability is what will ultimately strengthen your core most effectively.
Seated Torso Rotation
Pretty much any exercise with the word “Seated” in it will be a no-no, due to the fact that it reduces your heart rate and allows your body to cool down too quickly. However, the real problem with this movement is the fact that the movement is adding a load to your spine, then twisting, thereby removing the stability of your spine. The result is very likely to be spinal injuries, or at least excessive wear.