They may be better than nothing, but not by much. The following exercises are ineffective at best and harmful at worst. Here are four of the most overrated exercises we’re seeing at the gym along with replacement suggestions that will have you looking forward to working out again.
Abdominal crunch overkill – Blame the Jersey Shore kids for this one. While there’s nothing wrong with working your abs to get a firm stomach, the rest of your body shouldn’t be ignored. No matter how hard you work those muscles, you can’t see abdominal muscles through fat. Additionally, abdominal work carries an exceptionally high risk of harming the spine.
Instead try – Pushups or planking with a dumbbell row. Be sure to keep the abdominal muscles tight to prevent injury to your back and to maximize your efforts.
Bench press – It may be a gym buff’s staple, but the bench press is overrated and unnecessary. Far too often, beginners think that it’s the only exercise they need. However experts suggest that you spend no more than 20 percent of your workout in a prone position.
Instead try – Working out with free weights. Moving from a squat to an overhead press will give your abs the workout you want without tearing up your spine.
Leg press – The leg press enables users to place themselves in the middle of a giant machine, which is a terrible place to be when handling heavy weights. Add to that the problem of improper foot positioning and you’ve got a situation that can wreak havoc on your spine and back muscles.
Instead try – Good old fashioned squats. With all the different ways to mix this exercise up, they offer a relief from boredom as well as back pain.
Spinning – Perhaps it’s just prejudice on my part, but I fail to see why a person would pay for a gym experience they could get for free by hopping on their bike and “spinning” around town. Even so, spinning doesn’t work your leg muscles equally, which can lead to muscle imbalance. It can also cause injuries in the hips, knees, or lower back.
Instead try – Riding your own bicycle (it’s cheaper than a membership for a spinning class) and cross training to work all of your muscles.
Working out should leave your body feeling better, not worse. If you’re left feeling weak or achy after a trip to the gym, you may need to contact your chiropractic team. They’ll be able to help design an exercise plan that will benefit your entire body.
Photo credit: 90 Second Fitness Used under a Creative Commons license.
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