4 of the least effective gym workouts

Man and woman lifting barbells in crossfit gymEveryone knows that exercising regularly helps to improve overall physical and mental health, as well as helping to prevent excess weight gain and keeping your body in shape. That’s why many health conscious people are heading to the gym in order to adopt a healthier lifestyle. While some workouts are beneficial to the body, others may lead to unwanted injury. When you’re trying to make the most of your workout sessions, the last thing you want to do is to waste time and effort on certain exercises that don’t pay off. Here are just some of the workouts you should avoid doing if you want to produce results.

Least effective workout #1: Pull-down behind the head

This exercise is performed by sitting on a machine with a weighted, cabled bar overhead. You then reach for the bar, and pull it down behind your head and neck. The problem with this exercise is that only people with very flexible shoulder joints can keep their spines straight enough to do it properly. For the rest of us, the move can lead to shoulder impingement or worse.

The safer alternative would be to bring the bar down in front of your body, while leaning back a few degrees on the bench. You should use a narrower grip, contract your abdominals to balance the body, and stabilize your grip.

Least effective workout #2: Military press behind the head

This move has similar detrimental effects to the lat pull-down behind the head. In this exercise, you lift a barbell up and down, starting from behind the head at shoulder height. This puts enormous stress on your shoulders and could cause a tear in the rotator cuff.

Instead of lifting the barbell behind your head, try to keep it no lower than the collarbone in front of your body. Keep your body upright, and press against a back support to keep the natural curve in your spine.

Least effective workout #3: Upright row

If you’ve tried lifting a barbell up under your chin, you’ve probably experienced pain in the shoulders. That’s because when you pull your hands while carrying weight up to the chin, the nerves around your shoulder are compressed.

To avoid injuries, you need to ditch the barbell and use dumbbells to do a front or lateral shoulder raise instead. You can make it a challenge by bending forward slightly while performing lateral lifts – this way you can target all the muscles of the upper back as well as your biceps.

Least effective workout #4: Bad form on cardio machines

Cardio machines are the most popular workout equipment in the gym, and for good reason. They help improve your capacity to burn fat and increase your stamina to tackle more exercises. But if you don’t use the machines properly, then you’re not going to get the results you need. If you’re exercising in a hunched-over position while grabbing the handrails, you won’t be able to breathe deeply, and the improper alignment of your spine can make the workout more jarring to your shoulders and elbows.

The solution is to set the cardio machines to best suit your pace, so you don’t hang on to the machine too tightly. If you need more stability, you could hold on with one hand while moving the other arm, and switch periodically.

If you’re looking to plan an exercise program, get in touch with us. Our fitness experts will be happy to help.

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