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Almost-Waste-of-Time Exercises.

May 3, 2011
by

So yeah… some exercises are anticlimactic.  On the flip-side, something is almost always better than nothing. There are a lot of “classic” exercises people stick to that really aren’t doing much for your fitness — either because there is a more effective way to work the same muscle group or the exercise you think is hitting certain areas isn’t hitting anything at all.

People get a little prickly when you tell them their tried and true favorite anything isn’t working for them. In fact, in the American Council on Exercise personal training certification manual it flat out tells you if someone isn’t going to hurt themselves, either with exercise or nutritionally, like in the case of supplements and vitamins, let ‘em be. It’s better to not turn anyone off of diet and exercise than try to be right if it really isn’t life and death.

So, just for fun, let’s take a look at some exercises that people waste a lot of time on, and how it could be better spent in the pursuit of fitness.

Ask yourself “When will I ever need to do this type of movement in real life?” …..If there’s no answer, adopt another movement.

Hip Abduction/Adduction Machine: This is a popular machine amongst the ladies, because it promises to slim the inner and outer thighs, a problem area for most women — aaand the author of this blog post! You can usually find the Hip Abduction/Adduction machines in the corner, for modesty’s sake, because the motion is spreading your legs (abduction), or closing your legs (adduction) against resistance. The machine likes to tell you that motion works your inner and outer thighs, but it really doesn’t — not primarily anyway. The hip rotators, the deep muscles that protect the socket joint of your hip, are what control this motion, and while you may feel a burn and are strengthening your hip joint, those muscles do nothing for slimming down your thighs.

If you want to slim your inner and outer thighs, one-leg exercises are your best friend, as the inner and outer thighs work hard to stabilize your knee joint. Try bench step ups and single leg squats to really target the thighs. Side lunges are also great for hitting that dreaded saddlebag area. Beginners can do laying leg-lifts with a resistance band or a weight held on the outside of the leg for the same effect. OR… just come on to BN-Fit Boot Camp; I have a few more.

Wall Sit: Wall sits may make sweat drip and your knees shake, but they are an isometric exercise — which means you hold the position — instead of moving the joint and working through a range of motion. What’s wrong with that? Nothing. Except that you only become stronger in that position — and how often do you need to hold a 90 degree angle in your knees in real life? Boot Campers, I just thought this through… forgive me for today *side-eye.*

Work your muscles through their full range of motion to gain even strength and muscle tone. Regular squats and walking and forward lunges are the answer to this one, so stick with the classic exercise to give your glutes a boost.

Bench Press: This one is going to get me yelled at, but honestly, when do you ever need to bench press anything? While benching is great for building the chest, for the average person it’s not functional and the same results can be achieved by doing Push-ups which work the chest just as well as the bench press, while also working the triceps and the core in a way you need to use those muscles in real life. If push-ups aren’t hardcore enough for you, place a medicine ball under one hand while doing them, or pop your feet up on a bench for decline push-ups.

So… some exercises are more effective than others and who doesn’t want more results in less time?

Do you agree?

Are there any other waste-of-time exercises I missed?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2011 11:20 am

    Excellent info! Glad to hear about the add/abductor machine…I have always hated that thing! Give me a good old squat, backward lunge or jump squat any day! Thanks Byron.

    • May 10, 2011 7:50 pm

      My pleasure, Karla. FYI, to answer your question posed on Facebook… the walking lunge is easier with ample enough step OUTWARD. The knee should not shadow atop the foot; otherwise it will be painful. Keep steppin’!!

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