Exercise selection is one of the overlooked, key components of a great fitness program and amazing results.
Unfortunately many people don’t make the best choices of exercises for their goals. Here are 5 overrated exercises along with a better replacement for them.
1. The sit up!
The problem: the sit up puts your lumbar spine (lower back) in a flexed position repeatedly and can lead to an aggravate or injured disc.
It also only focuses on upper abdominal concentric contractions which takes away from training the abs the way they’re meant to be trained. In a study done by a core program involving sit ups didn’t increase core strength or a loss in fat.
Alternative exercise: reverse crunch. This exercise keeps your spine in a proper neutral spine and also works the lower abdomen much better.
2. The biceps curl
This also happens to be an exercise that you’ll find almost anyone performing in a gym setting. From wannabe bodybuilders, to woman hitting the light weights after cardio.
The problem: the biceps curl is an isolation exercise that if done improperly or programmed improperly can lead to poor posture and it’s got a very low metabolic and mechanical stress factor.
Most people go into the gym with a limited amount of time and if that’s your situation you’re better off performing a multi-joint movement that works bigger muscles and includes your biceps.
The solution: other pulling multi-joint exercises include: rows, pull ups, pulls in general. This will work you’re back, biceps and forearms while keeping that chain even.
3. Triceps kickback
This exercise is reminiscent of 80s and 90s aerobic and light weight fitness videos.
The problem: it may work for some people but for the majority, it puts your triceps in a position that doesn’t allow the muscle to be stressed throughout the whole movement.
You get restricted to the second half of the movement, and it also means you can’t use a lot of weight which won’t do much for your muscle or metabolism.
The solution: try close grip bench press, supine lying triceps extensions, or triceps pushdowns.
4. Side lying hip abduction
This exercise is common among women trying to sculpt their glutes. The side lying hip abduction (or side lying leg raise) is a great Glute activation exercise and used in corrective exercise aswell.
The problem: despite being a great Glute activation exercise, it targets a specific area and range of motion that won’t likely elicit a high training effect for building the glutes or for fat loss. Similar to the other isolation exercises, doesn’t allow for heavy weights or crossing multiple joints.
The solution: Hip thrusts, deep squats, step ups, bridges. These exercises will get your glutes strong, looking fit and toned.
5. Wrist curls
Like most exercises listed here, wrist curls may have a place in some specific situations such as bodybuilding, or correcting a muscular imbalance but your time is better spent doing other exercises.
The problem: targets only wrist flexors which are very small and usually tight on the average person.
They’re also not very effective for improving grip strength compared to other exercises. Unless you’re a bodybuilder you don’t need to focus on wrist curls to improve performance.
The solution: do exercises that work the full pulling chain from forearms to back muscles, such as vertical and horizontal pulls. If you want to improve grip strength, work on farmers walks or heavy deadlifts.
Want to make sure you are doing the most effective workout? Grab a full workout plan, designed by an expert.