Skip and Replace: Three Exercises that Ruin Your Progress

The best way to lose weight is to eat well and build a healthy body with a steady gym routine. However, once you’ve got that in place, a lot of people end up wasting time on moves that don’t work or do damage to your wellbeing. So whether you’re trying to say sayonara to your saddlebags, or create a core you can be proud of, don’t let the wrong moves impede your progress or cause you injuries. Here are the exercises you should skip — and the ones you should do instead.

1. SKIP Seated Hip Abductor Machine: According to wellness expert Amy Roberts, ‘You think you’re working the outer thighs in hopes of blasting away those saddlebags. Unfortunately, the bad news here is twofold: When you’re seated in this position, the abductor muscles of the outer thighs aren’t actually doing the work. Instead, the piriformis muscle, a small deep hip muscle, is. And when this guy is worked too hard, it can get angry and pick on its neighbour, the sciatic nerve, possibly leading to painful sciatica.  Besides, you can’t blast away fat on a specific body part — better known as spot reduction — by working just those particular muscles anyway.

TRY Side-Lying Leg Raises: Irene Lewis-McCormick, MS, CSCS, a personal trainer in Iowa, points out, ‘Body weight is fantastic for toning muscles, if you can leverage yourself.’ Roberts instructs, ‘Lie on your side, propping yourself up on your forearm. With shoulders and hips stacked, raise your top leg three to 12 inches, but don’t kick it so high that your leg starts to turn out — this will activate different muscles. Hold for five seconds, then lower, and repeat for 10 reps. Flip over and do the other side.’

2. SKIP Crunches: McCormick warns, ‘This motion puts you in spinal flexion, and reinforces the bad slouching posture that people fight against all day when sitting in a chair.’ Roberts adds, ‘It emphasias the incorrect notion of spot reduction. Remember, no amount of crunches will blast away belly fat. Focus on firming your body from head to toe.’

TRY Planks: Roberts directs, ‘Prop yourself up into a plank with your hips and shoulders at the same level — on forearms or full hand — and hold for 10 seconds. Take a five-second break, and then repeat.’ Why? ‘The key to a strong core is to focus on extension of the rectus abdominus [otherwise known as the ‘six-pack’ muscle],’ McCormick explains. ‘After 30 seconds of this, most people are cooked. Going for five or six rounds is really hard.’

3. SKIP Upright Rows: ‘The aim of this exercise, in which you hold dumbbells, a barbell, or resistance band in both hands and draw them up your body’s midline toward the chin, is to work your shoulder muscles,’ Roberts notes. ‘The problem is, you may end up overworking them… In short, it’s a prescription for a rotator cuff injury.’ Sarah Machacek, NASM-CPT, a Virginia-based personal trainer with two decades of experience, details, ‘This movement has the potential to compress the nerves in the shoulder area, impinging the shoulder.’

TRY Straight-Arm Raises: ‘This one targets the deltoids (rounded parts of the shoulders) while keeping the shoulder safer from impingement,’ says Roberts. ‘Stand with arms down in front of you, hands holding dumbbells. With control, raise arms up, hands in a neutral grip, straight in front of you to shoulder level (but no higher), then slowly lower down. Repeat 10 times. Mastering proper form is critical before increasing the weight.’ Machacek advises, ‘Use a lightweight dumbbell and progress gradually.’


*Our content is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis of individual problems or circumstances, nor should it be implied that we are a substitute for professional medical advice. Users / readers are always advised to consult their Healthcare Professional prior to starting any new remedy, therapy or treatment. Your Wellness Group accepts no liability in the event you, a user of n-gage and a reader of this article, suffers a loss as a result of reliance upon or inappropriate application of the information.

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