Regardless of your current fitness level, everyone has been in the position of not knowing what to do in the gym. Wandering among the machines, free weights and other more experienced gym-goers, maybe you chose a piece of equipment at random and started doing your interpretation of what you thought the exercise should look like. Chances are your form wasn’t exactly right, but hopefully you made it through without injury.
Flash forward and you might have a better idea of what you’re doing now. After a while of getting to know the equipment and learning, you might even consider yourself an expert, but unless you’re a trained professional, you still might be doing exercises that are either dangerous, ineffective or both.
A major part of any exercise is body mechanics—fitness professionals know that better than anyone—and that’s the reason there are some exercises they avoid (and advise others to avoid). From injury-provoking moves to ineffective exercises, fitness trainers outlined 11 exercises that just aren’t worth it.
Seated Leg Machines
“I stay clear of the seated leg extension and seated hamstring curl machines,” said US Track and Field Star and ACE Certified Personal Trainer Monica Hargrove. “When the leg is fully extended, that puts a lot of stress on the knee joints, ultimately risking injury. Squats and lunges are a safer and more effective way to work the quads.” She recommends trying front squats, back squats, split squats, walking lunges, stationary lunges, and reverse lunges.
“When it comes to working my hamstrings, I'm more concerned with functional performance and the hamstring curl strengthens a motion not designed for running or sprinting. Straight leg dead lifts and good mornings are two exercises that train my hamstrings in better positions for running.”
“For some odd reason, people take it personally when I say that I don’t think straight bar bench press should be part of your workout. The problem is that unless you keep your shoulders down and back, and maintain the precise groove for every rep, free-weight bench presses place too much pressure on shoulders,” said Dr. Robert Pomahac, a fitness expert and chiropractor who has worked with athletes in the NFL, NBA, UFC and U.S. Water Polo Team, and founder of MaxHealth LA. “There's also the possibility that you'll suffer a pec tear, or bicep tendon tear by doing bench presses. I would rather focus on effectiveness and efficiency than answering the question ‘whatta you bench’. There are many other safer chest exercises superior to straight bar bench press.”