8 common exercises that are wasting your time

Not all exercises are created equal. At our gym in Dallas, Texas, we’ve seen people of all abilities train hard and smart, working on beneficial exercises and making impressive progress. We’ve also seen a ton of useless exercises.

At best, these exercises are a waste of time – at worst, they’re downright dangerous.

1. Hanging Leg Raises


Leg raises are a common ab exercise – but they don’t actually target the abdominal muscles. Leg raises recruit a completely different set of muscles, known as the psoas or hip-flexor muscles. These muscles are often related to back pain, and the stresses of this exercise can contribute to serious back problems.

What should I do instead?

Weighted Sit-Ups


2. Weighted Side Bends


If you want to tighten your abs and waist, don’t do weighted side bends. As well as being incredibly uncomfortable, this exercise actually has a negative effect on your waistline. Using weighted resistance encourages muscle growth, which makes your waist bigger.

What should I do instead?

Side Planks


3. Swiss Ball Shoulder Press


The shoulder press is a fantastic exercise – but not on a Swiss Ball. The added challenge of maintaining balance won’t improve muscle development or strength. Instead, you’ll hugely increase the risk of injury to yourself, and those around you.

What should I do instead?

Seated Dumbbell Press


4. Behind the Neck Press


The rotator cuff is a small band of muscles, located at the back of your shoulder. It’s used for stabilizing your shoulder, and it’s an incredibly vulnerable muscle group.

Behind the neck press transfers the weight of shoulder pressing away from your powerful deltoids, and onto the weak rotator cuff. This exercise is responsible for thousands of torn rotator cuffs each year. Unless you want surgery, stick to regular pressing movements.

What should I do instead?

Regular Barbell Press


5. Behind the Neck Pulldowns


Behind the neck pulldowns are another excellent way to tear your rotator cuff. They also significantly reduce the range of motion of a regular pulldown, making it an all-around less effective exercise than its standard-issue alternative.

What should I do instead?

Regular Pulldowns


6. Tricep Kickbacks


The triceps can be a tricky muscle to train properly. To remedy this, many people perform tricep kickbacks – an exercise that involves leaning over a bench, holding a dumbbell at 90 degrees, and attempting to straighten your arm against gravity.

It’s a really hard exercise to perform, requiring as much balance as it does strength. It can easily damage the back, and to perform the exercise safely, you have to use incredibly light weight. This minimizes the benefits of the exercise, and completely negates the purpose of performing it.

What should I do instead?

Skull Crushers


7. Floor Crunches


Floor crunches are one of the most common gym exercises, but they’re pretty useless when it comes to ab development. Performing the exercise from the floor limits your range of motion (ROM), minimizing the recruitment of muscle fibers. For once, the Swiss Ball may have a use – and by using it for your crunches, you can increase your ROM and cushion your lower back.

What should I do instead?

Bosu Ball Crunches


8. Swiss Ball Barbell Squats

I’ll leave you with this famous internet image of a personal trainer trying to kill his client:


What should I do instead?



Hope this helps!

-Trophy Trainers (original content provided by our trainers)

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