Gearing up for another gym session? Chances are good you have your workout all planned out. You know what exercises you’re doing, how many reps and sets of each you plan to perform, and most importantly, how much weight to lift.
All of this said, are you making the most optimal choices? There are a few gym exercises that might seem to be great options but in reality, they’re very poor choices. Whether because they just aren’t all that effective or because they put you at risk of serious injury, they are ones that you’ll want to back off of immediately.
Let’s take a closer look at the 5 exercises you should avoid so that you can plan your workouts wisely.
Smith Machine Squats
If you are going to squat, hit the barbell in the squat rack, plain and simple. While smith machine squats may seem like a great option when you want that extra spotter protection or when there’s some guy stalling in the squat rack you need, it’s really not.
The problem with smith machine squats is that they lock you into a fixed pattern of movement that may not be natural for you given your own biomechanics. Repeatedly doing squats in this machine, especially while lifting a heavy weight can lead to serious pain and injury over time.
Behind The Neck Shoulder Press
The next exercise on the hit-list is behind the neck shoulder press. While the barbell shoulder press is an excellent exercise to have in your routine, focus on taking the weight in front of the neck instead.
Moving back behind the neck will cause you to adjust your neck out in an unnatural position, potentially putting great strain on the neck joints all while you have a high load above your head.
This is a recipe for injury and possibly long-term shoulder pain.
Seated Twisting Machine
You want a ripped strong core and figure the seated twisting machine is the best way to get it. It’ll hit your abs, your obliques, and your lower back all at the same time.
While this seems good in theory, the problem with this exercise is the fact that it could potentially cause your body to twist further than its natural range of motion, leading to lower back strain.
If you want to hit your obliques, try decline twisting crunches instead. This is a far better exercise that gives you control in the range of motion you are using.
Another core builder, the back extension is a popular choice for many people. You use those lower back muscles whenever you’re deadlifting as well as squatting, so it only seems reasonable that you’d want to maximize their strength.
The big issue with the back extension is that it doesn’t allow your glutes and hamstrings to support you in the way they should be, thus it can place a lot of excess stress on the lower back vertebrae. If care is not taken, this can lead to lower back pain.
Better exercises to use to replace this move include a bent over row or a stiff-legged deadlift.
Seated Adductor And Abductor Machines
Not only do these machines look rather funny, they aren’t all that effective and may potentially put you at risk for injury as well.
The movement pattern used in this machine can place a lot of stress on the hip joints and IT bands, leading to possible injury.
Instead, if you want to strengthen these muscles on either side of your body, you should turn to single leg movements, especially those that test your balance.
Single leg split squats or single leg deadlifts for example are the perfect choices for this purpose.
So there you have a closer look at the top five exercises that you can do without in your workout routine. Are any of these making their way into your program? If they are, it might be time that you reconsidered keeping them in and instead, utilize some smarter substitutions.