5 Bad Exercises You Should STOP Doing

by Allen Gil December 20, 2014

5 Bad Exercises You Should STOP Doing

Photo Credit: ravishly.com

Just because a machine or an exercise exists doesn't mean you should use it. Every exercise tool has value, but if you don't use the right tool to solve the right problem then it's not going to help you fix anything, is it?

The problem arises when someone tries to change a light bulb using a hammer.  It’s not the hammer’s fault that it is being used improperly, rather, the issue is "user error."

The truth is, exercise and nutrition are the keys to fitness success, but not just random, arbitrary fitness and nutrition.

If you really want to get out of the gym anything other than a cool membership card, make sure you are NOT doing any of these bad exercises:

1. Hip Abductor/Adductor Machine

Ladies (and the occasional lost gentleman) please stop squeezing and spreading your legs with the false hope that “magically” the fat on your inner and outer things is going to—POOF—disappear.

The reality is, using resistance training on ANY muscle, will only make it stronger and larger and it has ZERO impact on the fat that sits over top of it.  Unless you are trying to BUILD your thighs larger and wider, stay off of these.  Please.

stop fitness abductors

2. Crunches/Dumbbell Side Bends

Just in case you didn’t catch on to the whole, “There is no such thing as spot reduction” concept I talked about in number 1 above, let me explain why crunches and side bends are just plain silliness. 
  • Crunches work the rectus abdominis muscle also known as the “six-pack” muscle and side bends work the internal and external obliques. If your goal is to have a larger and stronger midsection, then by all means, please crunch away!

If you were hoping to lose some of that squishy stuff you have covering up your abs, you might want to venture into the kitchen and get your food under control. Fat loss is mostly a product of proper nutrition and like I always say:

abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.

stop fitness side bends

3. Pulldowns/Shoulder Presses Behind the Neck

My shoulder hurts just watching people do these. 

Answer this question for me:

  • When was the last time you put something up on the top shelf in your closet with your back to the shelf?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. 

You also don’t climb up trees with your back to the tree.  Our bodies are made to do things in FRONT of us and that includes the lifting and moving of weights in the gym.  Don’t destroy your shoulder joint by doing these two exercises behind the neck, but rather, get great results by keeping the movement in front where it belongs.

stop fitness back

4. Back Extensions

Despite the name of this exercise, you might be surprised to find this one works the hamstrings more than the low back.

As if that wasn’t reason enough to abandon this one, the little bit this exercise does effect the low back, tends to only make a bad situation worse. While many people have low back pain (80% of Americans) the solution to that pain isn’t doing an exercise to put more wear and tear on an already overworked muscle group.

Most people have low back pain due to their erector spinae muscles (low back) being over tight due to poor posture. Doing an exercise that works those same muscles is only going to add fuel to the fire. Stop this one right away unless you like wheelchairs.

stop fitness extensions

5. Leg Raises

This one works the “lower abs” right? 


  • First off there is no such thing as “lower abs.”

The same muscle we talked about when it comes to crunches, the rectus abdominis, runs from the bottom of the rib cage all the way down to the pubis bone at the bottom of your pelvis.

One muscle, from top to bottom, not separate top and bottom pieces.

Sorry folks. 

Sadly, that isn’t the worst part of this lame exercise.  Not only does this gem of the gym not work your mythical lower abs, but it also doesn’t “spot reduce” the muffin top you have located over top of said fantasy muscle.

Oh and one more thing, the muscles used in the leg raise… are part of the LEGS.

Surprise!  The hip flexors are called into play on this one, so if your goal is to build those up, by all means, keep hammering these ones out. Otherwise, knock it off!

stop fitness leg raises

Yes I am a little sarcastic at times, but I promise you, my goal is to help you get more out of your time at the gym and less chance of injury and/or frustration.

Save your time and energy by avoiding these crappy exercises and spend a little more time cleaning up your diet and doing hill sprints. Y

ou’re welcome! 

Allen Gil
Allen Gil


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