Workouts are intended to help increase your level of physical fitness, while also firming and toning certain muscles. Unfortunately, not all workouts are effective, and some can even do more harm than good to your body. Here are eleven workouts and/or individual exercises that you should not waste your time doing.
Adductor Machine Exercises
Adductor machines are intended to target the inner or outer thighs in order to make them smaller. These exercises cannot reduce the amount of fat in this area, and also do not mimic any movements your body naturally does. You could even put additional strain on your knees and hips if you add too much weight to the machine. Standing adductor exercises are far more effective, and can be done with or without ankle weights to ensure you don’t overdo it.
Seated Leg Extensions
Seated leg extensions are often done on a weighted machine, which contains a seat that must be adjusted according to the height of the user. Most people fail to adjust this seat properly, if at all. This results in poor posture during the exercise, not to mention additional stress on the hip joints. Even when seated properly in the chair, the fact that the weight tends to be all on one end places too much stress on the knees. For a better quadriceps workout, squats and lunges are far more effective.
Lateral Pull-Downs behind the Head
Lateral pull-downs can put too much stress on the neck, shoulders and upper back whenever you allow weights to come behind your head. Some people could also have a tendency to lean slightly forward when doing them, thereby resulting in bad posture. Lateral pull-downs can be effective whenever you bring the weight to chest level, hold for a couple of seconds, and then return slowly to the starting position.
Smith Machine Squats
The Smith Machine contains a barbell, which is fixed into position, and can be used to perform a number of exercises. The idea behind people using this machine is safety, since weights cannot fall on you while you are lifting. Even so, squats done on the Smith machine are generally unsafe. This is because the body is prone to maneuver into awkward positions, since the barbell on the machine does not move. There is also a tendency to place the feet farther in front, which can then create additional stress on the knees and lower back. Rather than doing squats on the Smith machine, do them standing up while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Floor and Weight-Bearing Exercises
Static stretching is often performed in an effort to increase flexibility; however, there is little evidence to show this actually works. In fact, stretching cold muscles actually increases your risk of tearing them, and may also decrease muscle strength as well. If you plan to stretch before a workout, do at least two to three minutes of light movement ahead of time in order to avoid injury.
Abdominal workouts that are designed to “flatten” the stomach are ineffective for a number of reasons. Individual exercises cannot trim fat from your abdominals or waistline, as spot reduction in any one area is virtually impossible. Exercises such as crunches and sit-ups will strengthen abdominal muscles, but leave a layer of fat remaining on top of them. To get rid of this layer of fat, you’ll need to watch your caloric intake and engage in cardiovascular exercise in order to burn it off. Even then, you are unlikely to have the washboard abs you dream of, as the abdominals are actually intended to be slightly rounded rather than flat.
This exercise is frequently recommended as a way to increase your cardiovascular fitness. The problem with it is the fact that is puts a great deal of street on the wrists and ankles, and also tends to promote bad posture. By incorporating mountain climbers into your workout, you could wind up with back, knee, or shoulder problems after time, and probably won’t see a great deal of improvement in your cardiovascular fitness level either.
Triceps Kickbacks/Overhead Arm Extensions
Both of these exercises are often done in an effort to eliminate jiggly upper arms. They are both ineffective because they tend to place too much stress on the upper back and shoulders. A better option would be dips or incline pushups, so long as you use good form and stop if you feel any tension in the shoulders whatsoever.
The Superman exercise is performed by lying on your stomach with your hands and arms outstretched in front of you, and then simultaneously lifting both your arms and legs off of the floor. This places a tremendous strain on the back muscles, and also promotes poor posture. Thought of as a core-strengthening exercise, a better alternative would be stability ball crunches or the Pilates hundred.
Electro-Shock Ab Belts
Electro-shock ab belts profess to give you a “workout” for your abdominals without your having to do any exercise whatsoever. They operate by performing a light shock to abdominal muscles while you are wearing the belt, claiming that this will help to flatten and tone your stomach. There is no evidence that shows them to be effective, and in fact, this belt could even cause injury. The Food and Drug Administration has received complaints ranging from mild bruising to burns from consumers who have used one of these devices, and some people claim that it also interferes with medical devices such as pacemakers.
Toning shoes promise you better legs and glutes simply because they are designed to naturally make these muscles work harder. These shoes are actually dangerous for people to wear because they create instability that could lead to falls while walking in them. They also place a great deal of stress on the ankles, and do not provide proper support for the feet. Users who have worn these shoes have reported a number of injuries including:
- Changes in gait or posture
- Dislocated joints
- Bone fractures
- Pulled muscles
When choosing a fitness routine, it’s important for you to know the advantages and disadvantages of each exercise in order to avoid wasting your time doing ones that are ineffective. In many cases, exercises can be easily modified to make them safe and effective. Always be cautious when considering exercises that make outlandish claims, as a fit and trim body will take quite a bit of time and effort to develop.