Most of us don’t have all the time in the world to exercise. It makes sense therefore, to use that precious time only for truly effective workout moves. Unfortunately, not every exercise move is worth its reputation. You’d be surprised to know just how many of them are ineffective and sometimes even dangerous. It’s time to review your exercise routine and find out if you’re truly moving closer to your fitness goals. If you’re still doing any of these five exercise moves, have a talk with your fitness instructor.
1. Ab Crunches
Remember back when you were told that a hundred stomach crunches every day could get you the washboard abs of your dreams? If you’re still pushing through grueling ab crunches and not seeing results, it’s because they’re a waste of time. Ab crunches require you to curl your spine repeatedly, a move that will lead to bad posture. But apart from making you slouch, overdoing them could result in a spinal injury. Ab crunches are also based on the flawed myth that you only need to exercise one part of your body for results. If you’re self-conscious about your tummy, ab exercises alone won’t bring about any change. You need to focus on full-body moves that firm up your entire torso like planks.
2. Seated Leg Extensions
Seated leg extensions are supposed to exercise your thigh muscles and tone your legs. However, unless you’re completely fit, this exercise can be dangerous. It requires you to push weights using your lower calves and ankles. This puts tremendous pressure on your knees, which isn’t a great idea if they’re already weak. Even if you’ve never had a knee injury, proceed with caution because repeatedly doing seated leg extensions can weaken your knees over time. Instead, try split squats which work the same muscle group, but with less stress.
3. The Elliptical Machine
The elliptical machine has for long been the go-to machine for a full-body workout. However, elliptical machines are also highly impractical. If your goal is only to lose weight, then sure, take advantage of the elliptical. However, if your workout is geared towards functional training (and it should), an elliptical is a waste of your time. You never actually have to move in real life the way you do on an elliptical machine. Instead, choose a stair mill. This gives you as intense a workout as an elliptical, but also has real-world uses. The next time you’re faced with a flight of stairs, you won’t be as tempted to take the elevator.
4. Plain Squats
Don’t be tempted anytime soon to take the 100-day squat challenge. You might have believed that just doing squats will give you your dream derriere, but that’s not true. To tighten your glutes, you actually need to incorporate a whole range of moves that tighten your glutes, quads and thigh muscles. Squats are flawed the same way ab crunches are: they spot-treat. Instead of doing a hundred squats a day, incorporate lunges, side squats, sumo squats and jump squats as well. The key to developing any part of your body is to have a variety of moves, instead of focusing on repeated ones.
A deadlift isn’t ineffective per se, but most people aren’t doing it right. Deadlifts require immense core strength and discipline to actually help your body. Most times, people end up injuring themselves than actually benefiting in any way from deadlifts. The most common injury people get from improper deadlifts are hernias. Spinal injuries and back problems are also on the list. Unless you’re certain you’re doing deadlifts the right way and with a certified trainer present, it’s not worth it. Focus on improving your strength and flexibility through other exercises that are less dangerous.