(816)-524-3438606 NE 291 HwyLee's Summit MO 64086

7 Exercises That Aren’t As Effective As You Think

When you’re making room in your schedule to hit the gym, the last thing you want to do is focus on moves that aren’t really worth the time or effort. Not all exercises are created equal, and whether your goal is to get stronger, lose weight, or anything else, it’s usually better to focus on movements that’ll give you more bang for your buck.

These seven moves and machines may be mainstays in the gym, but that doesn’t mean they’re the most efficient or effective ways to improve your fitness level. Here’s what you can probably skip—and what to do instead:

1. Abdominal crunch machines
“Abdominal crunch machines isolate the abs, which sounds good in theory, but in everyday activities the abdominal muscles never work in isolation,” says Peter Jenkins, C.P.T., director of personal training at Blink Fitness. “By nature, our abs contract as way to protect our spine, using the hip flexors to do so. Most abdominal machines are specifically designed to take the hip flexors out of the movement, allowing the arms, shoulders, and legs to assist instead of relying on the core for strength.” So while you might be slightly strengthening some muscles, this machine probably won’t make you feel stronger IRL.

Instead, try this: “You’re much better off letting the core do its own work and sticking to some exercises such as V-ups, reverse crunches, and hanging leg raises,” says Jenkins.
2. Basic crunches
Even traditional crunches without machine assistance aren’t the most effective abs-sculpting exercise. “Crunches have long been the ‘go-to’ move for those seeking better abs, but recent research has shown that the crunch is less effective at stimulating the desired muscle fibers than exercises that require the spine to stabilize, like the plank.”

Instead, try this: “Planks activate more muscles in the core and they don’t strain your back as crunches can.” Here’s how to do the perfect plank—or, here are 21 other amazing alternatives to crunches.

3. Hip abductor/adductor machine
This machine uses your inner or outer thighs to push against weight (depending on the setting), but whichever way you use it, it’s not really worth your time. “Many gravitate towards these machines believing they can ‘spot reduce’ trouble thigh areas,” says Jenkins. However, there’s no such thing as spot reduction. “In addition to not reducing fat, this exercise is considered an isolation movement, making it less effective since it burns fewer calories than an exercise that uses more muscle groups.”

Instead, try this: “Stick to compound movements such as squats and lunges if you want to improve your legs,” says Jenkins. Compound exercises recruit more muscles at once, which increases your caloric burn. The reverse lunge is a great beginner-friendly variation of the classic move, give it a try!

4. Front raises with dumbbells
This one isn’t necessarily a bad exercise, but if you’re overdoing it on the weight you’re using, you won’t get the results you want. “This can be a wonderful movement to showcase your delts, the muscles the helps to create the cap-like roundness of your shoulder,” says Joselynne Boschen, Nike Master Trainer and founder of Alpha Sport East gym. “But the common way I see people doing this isn’t correct. When you aren’t strong enough to lift the weight you are holding, the shoulders lift and round slightly forward. If you let this happen repeatedly, this can cause neck problems and visible posture issues.”

Instead, try this: Plank front raises—these don’t require any weights. Start in high plank. Then raise one arm to the front of the room at shoulder-height with your palm facing inwards (so your thumb is up). Slide your shoulder blade down your back and hold for two seconds. Then lower your arm and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating sides for 45 seconds total. This way, “you can work your front and rear delts and core without straining your neck,” says Boschen.
5. Leg extension machine
“Using your legs to lift weight up and down at this seated machine is a quick way to stress out your joints,” says Jenkins. “While leg extensions are great for hitting your quads, they put too much strain on your knees and ankles.”

Instead, try this: “Do squats instead (weighted or bodyweight), but stand with your legs closer together—about hip-width apart, and definitely no further than shoulder-width,” suggests Jenkins. “That’ll force your quads to do more of the work. Standing further apart will put your hamstrings and butt to work.” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, either—it just doesn’t accomplish the same thing as the leg extension machine.) Here’s exactly how to do a squat.

6. Shoulder press machine
Shoulder presses can be a great upper-body exercise, but there’s no need to use a machine to do them. “Anytime you use a machine to do a movement you can do with dumbbells, you are giving yourself a disadvantage,” says Boschen. “You might be able to press more weight, but you aren’t doing anything to work on postural problems.”

Instead, try this: Shoulder presses with dumbbells are the way to go—without a machine isolating your movement, you’ll have to work harder (strengthening more muscles and burning more calories in the process).

7. Going too hard on the treadmill or stairclimber
The treadmill and stair climber are amazing cardio machines that also sculpt your lower body, but don’t cheat yourself of the benefits by having poor form. “Holding onto a treadmill or the stair-climber railing is not good—it takes away from the natural exertion level you’d experience by supporting your own bodyweight,” says Jenkins. “Think about it: The reason you’re leaning or holding yourself up in the first place is to make it easier. You work hard to use proper form when lifting, and cardio shouldn’t be any different!”

Instead, try this: “Decrease the speed or incline and let your legs do the work,” says Jenkins. Keep your core tight and stand with good posture (or running form). If you need to hold onto the sides for balance while climbing the stairs, that’s OK, just be sure to keep your posture upright and only lightly touch or grip the railings.

article provided by self.com

BACK TO TOP
image

About The Practice

Slimming Solutions Med Spa is a full service medical spa located in Lee’s Summit, MO, owned by a husband and wife. As soon as you walk in the door you are treated like family. We are a team of motivated, well trained individuals who are only happy with our work when you are 100% happy with your results…and we love our work!