The least beneficial workout moves and why you should avoid them
Getting the motivation, scheduling the time, and preparing to work out is difficult enough— why waste time on workout moves and activities that aren’t even helping you? Before you pay tons of money for a personal trainer or give up on the working out altogether, read our list of workout moves to skip the next time you hit the gym. You’ll feel better knowing that the workouts you actually dedicate your time and energy to will actually be working for you, and the results will prove it!
This may surprise you, but this PE teacher favorite and seemingly easy first step to rock-hard abs is not actually very effective. Not only do crunches not strengthen your muscles very effectively, but they also put you at risk to damage your neck and lower back. Skip the crunches, and try some squats or deadlifts instead.
Unfortunately, the days of being able to binge Netflix or catch up on your favorite book while biking in the comfort of your own home may be long gone. Top trainers are now saying that stationary bikes are often used in ways that make them pretty ineffective— for example, not pedaling very quickly or not really challenging yourself while on the bike. If you don’t want to really push it on the bike, consider spending some time on the treadmill instead. Even a low treadmill setting will get you to work some of the muscles a light bike ride skips!
The Superman Move
As cool as it sounds, the Superman is not an effective workout move. A Superman involves laying on the ground and raising your head and legs while your back arches away from the floor, but all it’s really working on is straining your back. Instead of practicing this likely-to-hurt-you one, get into some yoga, which will stretch the muscles the Superman claims to stretch with much less stress on your back.
Smith Machine Squats
If you’ve been using a Smith Machine to make your squats more effective, it may be time to return to the traditional. Smith Machines can put unnecessary pressure on your back, making injuries likely, and does not really stretch your glutes, hamstrings, or core. Try doing repeated sets of traditional, no-machine squats instead to make your workout even more efficient and effective.
If you’re already doing squats, you might as well do a couple more rounds of them instead of your work on the abductor machine. This machine, which is supposed to strengthen your upper legs and hips, is much less effective than simple DIY squats. Don’t make your workout harder than it needs to be, and, in general, stay away from machines or moves that only focus on one body part or muscle group. There are too many effective workout moves and machines that will work out your whole body!
Lifting weights under 5 pounds isn’t going to help anyone, even if you are new to weightlifting. In order for a weightlifting workout to be effective, a couple of rounds of lifting need to be pretty challenging, experts say. And even if you’re starting off with really light weights to build up your muscle strength, you have to increase the weight as you get stronger. This doesn’t mean jump straight to the unliftable 50 pounders, but consider springing for a multipack of hand weights instead of just getting one weight, or get a gym membership to have access to a wide array of weight options.
Working out consistently isn’t always easy and it might not always be your favorite part of the day, but at least you can be secure in the knowledge that the work you are doing is beneficial to you and your overall health.