The 5 Popular Exercises That Aren’t As Beneficial As You Think

The 5 Popular Exercises That Aren't As Beneficial As You Think

Too often, it seems, you are told you should do particular exercises in order to expect a particular result.  You hear some of your co-workers, who are also “experts” in fitness, say they lost weight from doing a particular exercise routine or workout or got stronger from an exercise.  Sounds pretty cool and now you are coerced into performing the same exercises.  Before you jump into any fad or workout routine which can place you at any potential risk, you ought to consider what is good and what is bad when it comes to exercise.  After all, safety is always most important.

Some routines work well with some while some work horrifically for others.  This is a primary challenge of exercise because not all exercise workouts are created equally.  What works for one person may not particularly work well with your body nor may it be safe for your body, particularly your joints and musculature.  Prior to any exercise routine change, it is best to consult with a physician or with your personal trainer to see if your workout is safe and effective.  Listed below are five exercises you ought to stray from and remember not all exercises work the same for everybody.

The 5 Popular Exercises That Aren’t As Beneficial As You Think

  1. Box or Depth Jumps on Concrete. Body weight exercises are becoming more and more popular and there is good reason for this; they are extremely effective for increasing power in your leg muscles.  One no-no you should avoid is performing a box jump or a depth jump on a hard surface such as concrete [1].  During both of these exercises, the body is moving downward at a force equal to the pull of gravity multiplied by your body weight.  In other words, you are falling at a much harder rate, causing more forceful impact on your knees and hips.  The next time your workout calls for box or depth jumps, make sure the box is located on some cushioned surface (a basketball court is ok).
  2. Elliptical Machine. Remember that not everything is bad or good for everyone when it comes to exercise.  For a quick disclaimer, if the elliptical is your only means of “cardio” exercise and you would otherwise do zero aerobic activity, then by all means do what you need to do and continue on the elliptical.  With that said, the elliptical is a machine which guides the body through a range of motion, working the cardiorespiratory system in the body.  But one side effect from using an elliptical is that it limits the work of secondary muscles such as your outer hips, core, and stability muscles.  When you compare the elliptical to walking, it is as if you are not even working your fitness when on the machine [2].  Walking induces core stability, hip mobility and stability, and your brain is being worked due to the focus it takes to stay upright.  If you can, avoid the elliptical if you actually want to work your body the correct way.  Your workout may be more efficient as a result.
  3. Standing Chest Fly using Dumbbells. Some believe this exercise is the best way to work the chest.  A chest fly is in fact great for the pecs, but not this particular fly.  Standing with dumbbells and moving the arms horizontally to the ground will not work the area for which you desire.  Instead, a chest fly using dumbbells on a bench (where gravity is pulling on your weights) is your better and safer option.
  4. Back extensions with excessive weight. Back extensions are a great exercise.  They work the lower back muscles and help maintain a good posture in your everyday life.  With that said, the muscles in this particular area are designed to resist fatigue by having more slow twitch fibers (type I fibers).  Type I fibers do not need to be large, which is more characteristic of type IIx fibers (seen in thigh muscles).  While a little weight is good to use for the back extension, avoid using the large plates to help save your back and work the muscles effectively.  If you are not getting the workout you desire from this exercise, try adding more reps or holding the contraction longer.
  5. Planks- when you have a weak core or limitations in the lower back. Similar to back extensions, planks are great for working the core.  One downside is when an individual has weak abdominal muscles or severe limitations in the lower back (which many middle aged adults have).  Rather than performing a plank when either of the two situations presents, start with abdominal crunches and work up to a plank.  Remember, just because a particular exercise works for one person does not mean it is 100% safe and effective for you.


Your Challenge

Now that you have a list of exercises you ought not to perform given circumstances, give any of these a try over the next month.  If you have lower back issues, avoid numbers four and five above and substitute out some crunches or basic exercises in the meantime.  Similarly, move your box if you are doing box jumps or depth jumps on concrete- your knees will appreciate it.





About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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