6 Exercises That Are a Waste of Your Time
Thinking that every exercise that makes us tired has a positive effect is wrong. Doing something just because lots of people are doing it doesn’t make it good or right. The same goes for exercising in the gym – many people are doing certain exercises just because they have seen other people do it, and they think they will make them lean and fit. Though these exercises are not harmful for you, they are not beneficial either and we can freely say that they are a waste of your time. And with today’s speed of life and crazy schedules, we are lucky to even have the time to work out, so wasting even a minute is simply unnecessary and certainly not desirable. You can spend a very short amount of time at the gym and achieve a better effect than a person who spends hours in there, if you just know which exercises will not help you achieve your goals, and then just stop wasting your time on them. So here are the unnecessary exercises you can skip next time you work out:
1. Abdominal Crunch Machine
This machine is meant to focus only on your abdominal muscles, while limiting the movement of the hips. This sounds great, especially if you really want to work on your abs more than on other parts of your body, but the fact is that abdominal muscles never work in isolation, but need the hip flexors to do so. When we use this machine, we are unable to move the hips, so we use the help of our arms, shoulders and legs – and that minimizes the effect of the exercise.
Even though this machine may seem convenient, doing the traditional exercises, such as hanging leg raises, V-ups or reverse crunches will be much more effective and you will be done much faster. True, these exercises are of higher intensity, but that only means that you will achieve a better effect in a shorter time.
2. Biceps Curls
When you do this exercise, the muscle you are working on the least is exactly the biceps. Almost all the work is actually done by the muscles on your back, which are bigger and stronger, while the biceps only helps them out – gives them a little push. This exercise might help your biceps look bigger, but in terms of strength it won’t do much for you. Instead of biceps curls, you could do some pull ups, which will increase your strength and build strong and big biceps, according to the owner of Stronger Team and a strength and conditioning coach, Alan Stein.
3. Machine Leg Extensions
Exercising on this machine, you will work only on your quadriceps muscle with a limited movement range and the muscles might end up looking bigger, but the strength will not be built this way. What you could do to achieve both the looks and the muscle strength is to do squats (front) or lunges, because, according to Alan Stein, these exercises help you achieve and maintain balance, besides only working on your muscle in isolation, and that is one of the most important things when doing sports.
4. Leg Press
Steve Grosso, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, argues that exercising on this machine has no ‘functional purpose’ because you only work on a limited number of muscle groups and without freedom of movement. Your motion is guided and constrained. Grosso recommends doing single-leg rear-foot-elevated split squats, an exercise which will help you strengthen your muscles and enable you to do various other useful and functional exercises.
5. Lat Pull-Downs (Behind the Head)
Almost everyone who goes to the gym does this exercise, but the fact is that not many people can keep their spine completely straight during the series, and without this factor the exercise has no point. This is an exercise that, if not done properly, can cause shoulder injury by stressing the rotator cuff muscles. To avoid injuries and a waste of time, stick with the front lat pull-downs.
6. Smith Machine Squats
Squats are maybe the best exercise for your legs and buttocks, but doing them on a Smith machine is completely different. One of the major functions of squats is balancing your entire body and core – lower back and legs working together in order to perform the exercise. Smith machine squats isolate this exercise only for your legs, and that is very dangerous for your knees because the stress is entirely on them. Other than being dangerous, this exercise is also not effective. So basically, regular squats, even though you might not feel that way, indeed are safer than Smith machine squats. If you don’t know how to do them properly, ask a professional at the gym to help you, but it is better to learn the ‘more difficult’ version than to do the exercise without any point.