7 Exercises You Should Never Do Again

Anthony J. Yeung
by Anthony J. Yeung
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7 Exercises You Should Never Do Again

The next time you go to the gym, take a look around: you’ll probably see all kinds of exercises, some good and some not-so-good.

The unfortunate truth is that not all exercises are created equal. Some are incredibly effective at building muscle and melting fat; others can even do more harm than good. (Worse, the bad ones are sometimes very popular.)

Read on for our list of the worst exercises — the ones you should avoid unless you’re sure you can nail them perfectly or you’re with a trainer who can watch your form. If you currently have them in your exercise routine, play it safe and try our alternatives, which are more effective and will take your body to the next level.

1. SITUPS AND CRUNCHES

Situps and crunches are as old-school as it gets: You see them in PE class, boot camps and military training around the world. But get ready for some big news because these tummy exercises aren’t effective or good for you.

Your core — which consists of your rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, transverse abdominis, pelvic floor, etc. — is designed to help your body stabilize and brace against twisting and bending (not generate it).

Situps and crunches, however, eliminate the bracing and put your body into bad positions: You pull your neck forward, round your shoulders, flex your spine and put a lot of stress on your lower back. (It also goes without saying that you should avoid the situp machine too for those reasons.)

Instead, choose ab exercises that help you maintain a good posture throughout the exercise. If you want to take your core strength to the next level and get washboard abs, try our super effective 14-day plank challenge: It uses many different variations to blast your midsection from different angles to test your muscles (and your mind).

2. SMITH MACHINE EXERCISES

With the exception of the inverted row, avoid all exercises on the Smith machine. It seems safe because the bar has a lock that activates when you let go, but it puts your body in unnatural positions because the bar only moves in a straight, rigid line, which is not how you move in real life.

Also, because the bar follows a straight path, you don’t get to improve your stability or balance and you won’t get the same muscle gains you’d like. Researchers found that free-weight squats and free-weight bench presses activated more muscles than doing the same exercise on a Smith machine.

Stick to the free-weight version of your exercise: barbell squat, dumbbell bench press, etc. You’ll get more overall benefits and build more muscle and strength.

3. SEATED TWIST MACHINE

Remember what we said about how the core is supposed to move? Well, the vertebrae of your spine at your lower back can only twist 13 degrees in each direction, which is tinier than one hour on a clock. But the seated twist machines actually crank your body well beyond that range-of-motion.

If you want to improve your rotational strength, try the kneeling Palloff press. Get on both knees and set a cable handle to chest height. Facing perpendicular to the cable, bring the handle to your chest, and push it straight forward. Do it facing both ways. You have to brace your trunk to resist twisting and turning, which fires your core and keeps your spine in a safe position.

4. SUPERMANS

You might see these done in gyms or even physical therapy centers in an effort to “strengthen” your lower back. But the problem is it cranks your lower back into hyperextension while putting tremendous load and compression onto your lumbar spine. (Most people have a lower back that’s already too extended, which creates something called “lordosis.”)

Try substituting supermans with another exercise if it’s a part of your current fitness program. Instead of directly targeting your lower back, focus on strengthening your entire trunk — back, abs, obliques, etc. — with core exercises where you maintain great posture throughout.

Try the single-arm farmers carry: Grab a heavy dumbbell in one hand, keep your chest up and shoulder blades squeezed, then walk. Maintain a neutral lower back and don’t arch excessively.

5. BACK EXTENSIONS

The back extension machine tries to strengthen your lower back by repeatedly flexing and extending it, which can cause problems. Worse, a lot of people hold a weight plate behind their head or at their chest, which further increases the stress on your spine.


READ MORE > 10 ESSENTIAL BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES 


6. UPRIGHT ROW

This popular exercise targets your shoulders and traps. Unfortunately, it’s one of the worst exercises you can do for your shoulders because it impinges your shoulder joints. The upright row actually forces you to internally rotate your shoulders and pull a heavy weight while in a poor position, which can lead to all kinds of problems.

Instead, to build strong and wide shoulders, replace upright rows with the dumbbell overhead press. It targets your upper body without adding unnecessary (and impinging) stress to your shoulder joint.

7. BEHIND-THE-NECK LAT PULLDOWNS OR BEHIND-THE-NECK PRESSES

Avoid any upper-body exercise where you pull or push from behind your neck because it puts tremendous strain on your shoulders. In a behind-the-neck position, your shoulders are almost at their maximal limit on extension in those positions — throwing weight on top of it just adds more strain to a fragile area.

Always do lat pulldowns, chin-ups, pullups, etc. toward your collar bones; if you’re going to press a weight overhead, start with the barbell at your collar bone or use dumbbells or kettlebells.

About the Author

Anthony J. Yeung
Anthony J. Yeung

Anthony, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, is a fitness expert at Esquire, GQ and Men’s Health and gets guys in shape for their wedding at GroomBuilder.

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179 responses to “7 Exercises You Should Never Do Again”

  1. Avatar Lil'missgamer4life says:

    I had to google smith machine because I’d never heard that term before. I use it because I find it easier to use than the free weight version I.e the bar that people might use for deadlifts. I can’t lift that bar even without any plates on it it’s just too heavy, so the machine is better and also I can’t hurt myself because of the safety bars that stop it from dropping. I don’t like doing free weights because I’m self conscious. I also do the upright row and the back extension which I actually thought was helping my lower back. Im guilty of doing crunches and sit-ups, even my personal trainer had me doing them.

    • Avatar Sam says:

      Kudos to you for working hard in the gym! Definitely keep going!! One thing I would recommend using would be using any of the curl or straight bars your gym might have instead of jumping to a 45lb bar that is typically used. You might see these bars pre loaded on a tower rack in your gym. Normally the short bars that are not loaded are around 25lbs. These would be great for starting out! I love doing planks and a hollow body holds for any core workouts, but typically stay away from core workouts because if you do compound lifts correctly you should be using your core!!

  2. Avatar NiceGuysFinishLast says:

    Can’t believe UA would allow this biased garbage on their blogging platform. I get so tired of people saying the smith press machine is for fools, because not everybody has the same body build, perfect height and good knees to support other forms squats. Especially those that require a spotter when none are available. And Sit-ups/crunches…. yeah feel free to tell the US military they have it all wrong… The rest I won’t argue with so much but I’d bet this goof author loses about half its’ potential readers because they don’t even make it through the story.

    • Avatar Don D says:

      Please tell all of those that come out of the military with back problems just how right the logic is.

    • Avatar Jack says:

      The author works with GQ; do not expect much. Although the rules are general, there are exceptions to every rule, such as the smith machine being valuable for certain areas.

      The part on back extensions is completely false if done correctly they can strengthen the posterior chain. The situp part is correct; this is because of excess hip flexion which is unneeded in a society of already hip flexor dominated individuals. The twist machine is just a garbage exercises all around.

      • Avatar NiceGuysFinishLast says:

        Fair enough. I suppose my argument involves not ruling out crunches altogether though. He should be more specific because cable crunches, stability/medicine ball crunches and reverse crunches were instrumental in helping me rehabilitate from an injury.

        • Avatar Marian says:

          Crunches–when done correctly (engaging the inner core) and with the right professional and client, yes. For those with an abdominal separation (diastasis recti)–they make the condition worse. I see diastasis recti in my postnatal women and in men who over train the core.

          • Avatar Celeste says:

            Marian, I’d like your recommendations on how to “cure” DR, but since this post is two months old, you probably won’t see this. I’ve tried a few DR programs, but none have helped (maybe it’s too late. My youngest is almost 13). I avoid crunches because I’ve heard many health “experts” say they are bad (and I can’t see how they’d be good for your neck)! I’m not strong enough to do a plank (or even modified one – can’t figure out how people get in that position)!

      • Avatar Marian says:

        Agree!

      • Avatar evian says:

        Would you still recommend back extensions as a way to strengthen the lower back for someone who has L4/L5 injuries?

    • Avatar Rob Luck says:

      Precisely the problem… take a bad system that has been used for decades, label it with ‘military-grade’ and presto… somehow… magically it becomes a good system. The military probably destroys more backs than it builds…and as at 2017, the major reason for non-combat physical discharge from the military remains… you guessed it… lower back problems… I suggest if you want to persist with this idiotic exercise you at least sign up with an orthopaedic surgeon so you can get a commission on all the back jobs you can send to him… knowing one personally… he LOVES people like you… you are his business

      • Avatar JB says:

        Perhaps I am the exception, but I am 30 years old, 12 years in the military as an M1 Armor Crewman, 155 lbs, 2 combat deployments, and have yet to have back issues. In Iraq in 2009 I would do multiple patrols a day, plus workout twice a day. The problem is form. A lot of people don’t use the proper form for exercises. They want to be huge and strong, so they bust out as much weight as humanly possible, and sacrifice proper form for this purpose. They jerk around dumbbells, they throw their back in awkward positions to get those reps in and prove how macho they are.

        I don’t believe labeling “military-grade” makes things wonderful. There’s certainly issues with the fitness program. However, don’t blame the military fully on back issues. There’s a lot wrong with the people doing the exercising as well.

  3. Avatar Dave says:

    pics would have been nice

  4. Avatar Marian says:

    As a WOMEN’s FITNESS expert, I disagree with the supermans and completely agree with the situps/crunches. I’ve had FOUR babies and had to retrain my CORE with special exercises for an abdominal separation (diastasis recti). I haven’t done a sit up or crunch for 8+ years. The trick is to use perfect form and engage the transverse abdominal muscle (which no one talks about), AND do back strengthening exercises like the superman, lat pulldowns, and even rows (rhomboids). I use the rules–quality over quantity, and exercise should never hurt–especially core exercises! Marian McCormick RDN, CPT, CLT

    • Avatar Jessie Hoover says:

      Marian could you tell me more about the abdominal exercises?

      • Avatar Marian says:

        See above Jessie Hoover. Start with movements like marching, heel slides, and dead bug to ACTIVATE instead of STRENGTHEN the core after pregnancy. When those are mastered, do STRENGTH training exercises like plank variations and burpees (only if you don’t have diastasis recti) + back strengthening exercises to keep the core (which includes your back) in good alignment (or to correct it after pregnancy). ALWAYS ENGAGE THE INNER CORE DURING core activation and strengthening exercises including squats and during heavy lifting. Your core keeps you stable and helps with balance–it is your foundation!

        • Put a link to your blog, vlog, or YouTube.

        • Avatar Noblelutz says:

          Hi Marian,
          I have diastasis recti as well. What excercises should I be doing to strengthen my core?
          Any suggestions you might have would be very appreciated!!

        • Avatar bigbaddave says:

          And what exactly is and “inner core” if I may ask. Youve got a rectus abdominis and transverse andominis, and then internal and external obliques. I’m not aware you can isolate the underlying muscle and work it separately. I’m fact the whole rectus abdominis activates as one muscle, you can’t work lower or upper alone.

          • Avatar Toni Natoli says:

            The “inner core” refers to muscles that attach to the vertebrae. In the back these are the multifidi or multifidus depending or your source.Imagine flying a kite with two strings, one in each hand with the strings attached to the side tips of a triangular kite. They control shear, or the opposing forces, like those pesky crunches that want to pull the spine forward. They also sidebend and rotate the vertebrae – but think of them more as stabilizers than primary movers.There are two groups; the deep multifidi are called segemental stabilizers as they go from one vertebra to the next one down, the superficial m. span multiple vertebrae. Australian PT Marc Comerford also includes the psoas group as he says the innervation for that group implies that they too are segmental stabilizers rather the being hip flexors. They are on the front side of the spinal column and would oppose posterior shear or the forcing back of the vertebra in question. Now for a sailing analogy. If the spine is the mast of the ship the multif. in back and the psoas on the front side (imperfect analogy!) their opposing actions help to support the spine in some version of neutral as far as front to back forces go. Loo ’em up. Cool beans!

    • Avatar archangel says:

      marian what do you do to nip the waist after having babies?
      is there a science to it? thanks

    • Avatar kappaman says:

      Thanks Marian!

    • Avatar Lil'missgamer4life says:

      You said core exercises should never hurt but I’m always in some sort of pain or discomfort after a workout and I’m always stiff the next day after doing abs(even breathing or coughing hurts). A trainer at my gym was talking to a client and said something I’ve never heard before; women are stronger in the lower half of the body than the top. WTF?! Sorry but I’ve been trying to strengthen my arms, shoulders and chest for nothing?? No wonder my legs are stronger than the rest of me! I had a personal trainer for a bit, but his business went bust and he couldn’t fulfill our contract so I have been going it alone since summer 2017. I need someone to help me but I just can’t afford it. I’m still going to try my best to get fit and stay that way for as long as possible.

      • Avatar bigbaddave says:

        You’d only be stronger in the lower body if you’ve got more muscle there or you’re working them more. Muscles have about the same strength in men or women. But men generally have more muscle mass so are usually stronger. And crunches are perfectly fine and actually activate the abdominal muscles very nicely. Also incline crunches are good. Planks, no. They don’t really do a good job with abs no matter what you read. They are an isometric exercise and that doesn’t really build strength. You need to work the muscle through concentric and eccentric motions, and fatigue them, to really build strength and get that six pack.

        • Avatar Lil'missgamer4life says:

          So the PT in my gym was talking nonsense? Great. Well, I’m going to keep doing what I can. My currently undiagnosed Fibro means I will suffer pain and or discomfort no matter what. Keeping fit will help to a point, but I will never be pain-free again. Thanks for replying. I might come back to refer to your information. Have a nice day.

          • Avatar marianne delaney says:

            Do mean the personal trainer and not Physical Therapist when you refer to the PT in your gym? As a Physical Therapist Assistant I can tell you that doing planks correctly engages ALL your core stabilizers to maintain the position – just as you have to activate/engage your core stabilizers when doing a push-up. Planks are essentially a stability exercise, not a strength exercise. They are not meant to try to isolate any one muscle (which is not realistic). Isometric exercises have their place in helping activate muscles, stabilize joints, and increase muscular endurance – just add an isometric hold to an exercise and see how it effects it (for example – cable tricep extension – add 3-5 second hold before the slow eccentric return).

        • Avatar marianne delaney says:

          Sorry bigbaddave but you are wrong about planks. Doing planks correctly engages ALL your core stabilizers to maintain the position – just as you have to activate/engage your core stabilizers when doing a push-up. Planks are essentially a stability exercise, not a strength exercise. They are not meant to try to isolate any one muscle (which is not realistic). Isometric exercises have their place in helping activate muscles, stabilize joints, and increase muscular endurance – just add an isometric hold to an exercise and see how it effects it (for example – cable tricep extension – add 3-5 second hold before the slow eccentric return). Not sure what your claim to fitness expertise is, but as a working Physical Therapist Assistant and Personal Trainer, with over 20 years of experience and advanced education in Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology, I cannot agree with you

      • Avatar lipstick says:

        Of course women are stronger on their lower body than upper body. Your lower body muscles are larger than your upper. I do 190 on the leg press, but only 50 pounds on the chest press. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise your entire body!

    • Avatar gvravel says:

      A physical therapist got me doing the “superman” over a year ago. It was a godsend and I swear by it. When doing it I was told to keep my head down, my feet pointed down, and thumbs up. I’ve done it just about every other day for more than a year with other back exercises.

    • Avatar Shaun says:

      Core muscles are transverse abdominis & pelvic floor NOT obliques or rectus abdominis. Be careful with lat pull downs as they attach to the front of your arms and will give you “rounded shoulders” known as upper cross syndrome.

      Shaun

  5. Avatar Josh Vaughan says:

    This has the be the worst article I’ve ever seen posted to this forum. Be careful where you get your information. Seek out a PT or other medical professional for true advice. The reality is there is rarely a “bad exercise”, might every exercise be right for you/your body? Probably not. But to paint these with such a broad stroke is incredibly misleading.

    • Avatar Will says:

      Totally agree…my gym doesn’t have a barbell squat rack and I have made great progress with legs with Smith machine…if you want to say less stabilizing muscles are used with smith machine …ok fine…but to say never do it again is complete B.S

  6. Avatar mike2k says:

    Wow. I’d have to reconsider using anything UA after seeing them support this nonsense.

  7. Avatar Steph Smid says:

    Not impressed with this article either. Sure some of these exercises should not be done by some people based on their limitations or goals. All exercises need to be evaluated as to the benefit of the individual.

    • Avatar Bill says:

      Good point, I have to agree with you Steph…

    • Avatar Rob Luck says:

      That’s not the case… a crunch is NEVER a good exercise for anyone… unless they want to become more familiar with their orthopaedic surgeon or chiropractor… just because you or someone you know does them and gets away with it, does not mean it’s good for you. Any more than smoking is

  8. Avatar Ted says:

    I’ll say this any exercise can cause a problem if there is already a problem. I think the article is poorly written. If the exercises are done correctly and with common sense then there should not be problems. If you perform an exercise and there is pain then stop. As for smith machines if you’re alone and working out definitely use a smith machine instead of out of a rack. Safey comes first. To be honest most machines that you’re locked into can lead to bad mechanics, but some exercises require machines and cannot be avoided. Please consult a physical therapist or trainer to make sure you are correcting your problem or performing an exercise correctly.

    • Avatar Mac Duff says:

      I agree with you. 75-80% of folks at the gym using machines or free weights are doing the exercises incorrectly. It would not matter what exercise it is, if you don’t know how to use proper form, the exercise is not going to provide maximum benefit to your body. Instead, you’ll be straining in ways your body was not intended.

    • Avatar Bryansix says:

      You can use dumbbells instead of a Smith machine for safety concerns when you don’t have a spotter.

  9. Avatar LLP says:

    I agree with so many of the comments on this article. “never” is a long time and what is described in the article is for the most part what can happen when exercises are done incorrectly and with poor form. Not all exercises are the best for all people – client limitations as well as their personal goals should guide the selection. Good trainers should have a depth of understanding about how to properly do the exercise, why and when when to use the exercise, and when NOT to use the exercise. This is definitely NOT an article I would keep for reference – basically garbage!

  10. Avatar Captain Obvious says:

    Crunches if done correctly don’t put extra strain in the spine. The problem is few do them correctly. As I get older I do find I do these excercuses less because if the strain. I like the alternative to the seated twist. I do something similar with a band but standing.

  11. Avatar KarenL says:

    Excellent article! Wish I had known these things before I wrecked my shoulders and back. I could never do a sit-up, even when I was in high school and played softball and swam. I found out later it was because of the scoliosis in my spine. A great PT gave me so many excellent excercises to strengthen my abs that had nothing to do with stupid sit-ups.

  12. Avatar Jane says:

    How about you retitle this – 7 exercises that you may need to modify or try alternatives…

  13. Avatar Mac Duff says:

    I am sure Anthony J. Yeung “means well”. However, his article is off base on so many levels. I can agree as far as the seated twist machine providing minimal value. But as someone who has used all of these forms of exercise at one point or another, I can tell you that each one has the ability to provide meaningful benefit to the physical body if PROPER FORM is used. PROPER FORM is the key to everything. Go to your local gym. You’ll see the majority of users not exercising proper form with machines or free weights. It is a virtual epidemic. No wonder so many people have chronic pain. I observe older individuals especially as well as a lot of people who are very much out of shape, completely misusing the machines or free weights and I cringe. Anthony J. Yeung would have been much better served to discuss how using PROPER FORM would mitigate the potential negative consequences of most of the exercises he brings up.

    • Avatar Jim Petraglia says:

      I work with a trainer at my local gym (PF) to use proper form within the 30 minute classes several times per week. A question about the seated torso machine, would it help with someone who plays golf twice a week?

      • Avatar ThiefOfHearts says:

        seated torso machine is garbage let it go

      • Avatar Toni Natoli says:

        Jim Petraglia, there are far better ways to improve your golf game than a seated exercise. Look to the cable stack for all kinds of variations on something called the “wood chop” – just one example. How’s your shoulder flexibility and mobility through the hips and ankles? Ideally, your trainer would be assessing these and including these in your workouts with lots of cueing for you to learn how to feel efficient movement when you’re on your own. Happy swinging!

    • Avatar Nancy B. says:

      I also see plenty of folks using incorrect form on the cardio machines – hanging on the to treadmill, gripping the bars on the stair machines (with hunched shoulders and locked elbows), or worst of all, crawling along at too slow a rate to do any good while talking on the phone. Really? I agree, Mac Duff – form really matters.

      • Avatar TimO says:

        You’re both too stubborn in your gym ways. You probably think lifting heavy weights is a good idea too. At some point you might want to enter the new century. Those exercises are terrible for you. As is lifting heavy weights on your joints and ligaments. You want long lean and pliable muscles. You want to lengthen and loosen not shorten and tighten.

        • Avatar Matt Ell says:

          You sound like a troll. Calling you out as a troll.

        • Avatar Brendan M. Wood says:

          I’m sure thy’re both thrilled that you make your opinion seem to be fact with this comment. you don’t know them or what their personal goals are so who are you to tell anyone want in their muscular development. No back to you 15lb DB pansy.

        • Avatar B.Max says:

          What a relevant comment to the Nancy’s and Mac’s comments.
          .

          Your trolling is really bad or you should perhaps read people’s comments before commenting on their comments.

        • Avatar Susie Lee says:

          Also as we get older (me) flexibility becomes more important than sheer strength. At least according to my MD. I went to a class to learn the proper weights, how to figure weights and how to do correct form. It helped me a lot.

          I likely need to go again, as more is discovered each day.

          It is really individual, and based on a lot of unique situations.

    • Avatar Rob Luck says:

      But he is correct about crunches…this is the dumbest most useless exercise ever developed and it is a leading cause of lower back issues which can haunt a person for decades. And it doesn’t matter HOW you do it, with whatever form… it is completely wrong.

      • Avatar Jeff Ash says:

        You’re incorrect about crunches and so is Anthony J. Yeung. Done properly, they are an excellent part of a complete ab training program. The problem is if crunches are the only ab exercise you perform or if you do them incorrectly or do things like pulling on your head. Most people I encounter do them incorrectly which does, in fact as you pointed out, make them pointless and even harmful.

        • Avatar Rob Luck says:

          Noted the comments but I stand by mine. I have not found a single orthopaedic surgeon or chiropractor who will approve crunches for a patient with lower back issues (about 40% of all) and plenty who say they are ‘great for their business. Enough said.

        • Avatar TimO says:

          You’re wrong Jeff. it’s a horrible thing to do to your back and neck.

          • Avatar wilsoch says:

            People who speak only in absolutes rarely know what they’re talking about. You’re a pretty good example. As Jeff said, crunches can be a valuable part of an overall exercise program. And I know plenty of orthopaedic surgeons and chiropractors who have no issues with crunches.

          • Avatar Mark LeBlanc says:

            Totally agree Wilsoch. Crunches are small movements which I use often. I tell clients to take a deep breath and then take the bottom of the rib cage to the top of the hip bone while exhaling and retracting the “belly button into the spine”. This whole movement involves a small amount of flexion. Now sit-ups are another matter in which the risks are more prominent.

        • Avatar Arthur Russell says:

          I had a bad back for years. After doing countless sit ups and crunches, my lower back never bothers me any more. It’s all about form. No exercise is any good for you if you use poor form and improper techniques.

    • Avatar Jonny Sumner says:

      100% with Mac

    • Avatar Autumn Browning Crockford says:

      I agree with you Mac Duff. Proper form and going through appropriate range of motion is key. Also, an understanding of *why* you’re doing an exercise and if it’s the best one for you is important. I’m 42, have used all of these since high school, still do some of them, and have never been injured.

    • Avatar Chuck Haggard says:

      Upright rows are demonstrably a very bad exercise that can be easily subbed by other exercises that are both safer and more effective.

    • Avatar John says:

      Well said, sir. The examples and reasoning of why each of the mentioned exercises are “bad” is understandable. But…you can basically mention ANY movement and say to never do it if you have bad form. He could have said, “Never back squat again because it can cause knee and back issues.” Well, sure…any movement will injure you if your form is poor. I see what the author is trying to say, but the overall message is very misleading.

    • Avatar LP says:

      Mac Duff, you hit it on the head with this response; PROPER FORM AND TECHNIQUE IS KEY TO ANY AND ALL WORKOUTS FROM THE WARM UP TO WEIGHT TRAINING. I think the article is for a general audience, but it all depends on the individual as well. Every body does not respond in the same way; you have to find what works for you.

    • I completely agree with this. I’ve been doing sit ups and crunches for nearly THREE decades and have NEVER had any back issues. I’m surprised someone with a CSCS would state some of this stuff in this post. Are there better exercises to get “six pack abs?” Sure. There’s also a lot of nutrition that goes into it as well.

    • Avatar Nicole Saladino says:

      Max Duf- I completely agree with what you are saying. As a physical therapist myself, FORM is key. While I agree with most of the concepts he brings up in the article, Anthony is clearly missing the most important part, posture and form. Second of all, your core Is primarily your transverse abdominis, obliques and glutes. Rectus abdominis barely makes the list for the core muscles. Plus, if you did want to activate the rectus, sit ups would be a decent way to do that in a healthy person without history of spinal issues. I can go on and on. Sorry my fitness pal, this article is not good and misleading. You guys are usually very good at wrighting intelligent articles, but this misses the mark and quite frankly throws physical therapists under the bus. Who is this Anthony person anyway? He has no visible credentials to be saying ‘Never’ do these exercises. Ugh… please have something to say for yourselves…

    • Avatar Clay says:

      I agree with some of this article and disagree with other aspects. I do agree that most of these exercises are terrible, either dangerous or just not beneficial. The only exercise I could argue is good is the upright row. I would like to hear or see what proper form is for the Superman exercise. Or weighted lumbar extensions. I’ve had patients tear discs doing lumbar extensions. Smith machine guides exercise for you so you develop poor movement patterns. PROPER FORM is impossible with some of these exercises.

    • Avatar Pip Marsh says:

      I have been a pilates instructor for 15 years with excellent anatomy and physiology training and I think that this article is very misleading! I completely agree that proper form is key. The seated twist can be a dangerous exercise but I disagree with a lot of what is said. I think it highlights more how dangerous it is to “smash out’ these exercises without proper tuition and guidance. It frightens me how many gym classes are about just copying the instructor for an hour without any clear instruction as to the essence and goal of each exercise. A class is not the time to show your clients how good you are at the exercises!! I think that this article highlights the lack of working knowledge of these exercises of the writer.

  14. Avatar Jrsforums says:

    Anthony, I believe Stewart McGill would disagree about no crunches. His “curl up” is a properly done crunch and part of his “Big 3”

  15. Avatar Heywood says:

    Mr Yeung knows best.

  16. Avatar Marsha says:

    I am also a CPT with SFS, and WFS. I agree with all but for the Superman IF done correctly. That’s the key. If you use your back muscles and not your glutes and you don’t hyperextend, it can be very beneficial. The issue with many of these exercises is that the technique and form are often incorrect—causing all kinds of problems. I absolutely agree with the pull down behind the neck. Not only is that harmful for your shoulder, it can be dangerous and cause injury to your cervical spine.

  17. Avatar Key Board Jockey says:

    Very well done! I’d much rather have read this article than not. It covers all the dangerous exercises I knew of and then some, as well as explain the reasons why.

    I also find it humorous how the internet ‘experts’ then chime in with “Well you can do these exercises, but the tricks are……….”
    -I think the article is meant for the average user who wants to avoid any exercise where they have to perform advanced tricks to keep from getting hurt…..

    Instead of criticize, I’d like to see a better article of the same length than what Mr. Anthony J. Yeung has written here. I mean geez if you people are really “motivational coaches”, then give some credit for a change.

    • Avatar Dominic Howard (domaishere) says:

      It’s the beauty of the internet. Everyone is an expert but there are no experts…

    • Avatar Rob Luck says:

      You are correct. Just look at the comments. If you check you will see that some ‘expert’ here agrees with one or two of his points. If you add up the comments, there is agreement from ‘experts’ on every single point. So basically he is on the right track. For the average person, these are exercises to avoid and he provides good (safer) alternative exercises. Can’t do much better than that. it is a very good guide for the average person and it is based on good understanding of physiology. What makes his rationale more credible than MOST of the carping critics here, is that he is UNQUESTIONABLY right on one of the most popular exercises of all – CRUNCHES. This is just a phony exercise used by many to develop ‘abs’ without any regard to the damage they are doing to their lower spine. Compared with your spine, your abs don’t compare… you can live without ‘abs’… not your spine. Talk to ANY orthopaedic surgeon or chiropractor … they will tell you crunches are good for their business… so overall… his article has credibility… compared with his critics….work it out for yourself… but pull your heads out of your ass… it’s your BODY at stake… not some stupid keyboard game

  18. Avatar Zach Ingle says:

    As far as the shakes go you might not be eating enough calories beforehand. If you feel kind of weak and hungry after cardio then I would say this is probably the case. If you want to lift and do cardio I would do a short 5 minute jog on the treadmill, then do some dynamic stretching, then go do your lift, and then after that maybe do another 5 minutes on the treadmill if you think you have the energy. Cardio burns up your calorie reserve and when you lift it’s important to have plenty of energy. Otherwise, it can be harder to build muscle and get stronger because you don’t have the extra energy to do more weight/reps. When you are done lifting make sure to eat a protein rich meal so your body can start repairing your muscle tissue as soon as possible.

  19. Avatar Jessie Hoover says:

    Could you inbox my FB?

  20. Avatar Kt Horner says:

    Would have been nice to see pics of what NOT to do.

  21. Avatar nanhum says:

    I wonder if the sit ups refers also to crunches in the water during aqua aerobics. Our instructor has us do them a lot and I do feel like it is causing a strain on my neck but wonder if my form is just bad.

  22. Avatar Bryan Wodaski says:

    Um, who knows what these look like. I had to search for pics to understand. Kind of lazy to omit them.

  23. Avatar Beyond_Salvage says:

    This reads like, “We need an article, pick some exercises people do and tell us why they are dangerous.”
    I mean the author could have written smith machines are safer than squats too, after all you don’t have to balance the ball. He could have written that the overhead press is dangerous with the bar being over your head, instead do upright rows where the weight can easily fall to the ground and not harm you. He needed to write something, but these are not real “7 things you should not do.”

  24. Avatar Victoria says:

    The article suggests Spidermans are contraindicated – yet the author includes them in the 14-day Plank Challenge.

  25. Avatar Rich Hake says:

    It is probably good advice….for someone. But if it is so jargonized that nobody understands it, what’s the point? LOL

  26. Avatar AMani EmManuel PreMananda says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Zach! … as a former Personal Trainer (NASM Certified), I don’t claim to be a “Fitness Expert,” but Pre- & Post-Workout & General Nutrition is Key to one’s Health! Carbohydrates (“Carbs.”) are one’s Primary Source of ENERGY, then Fats, & lastly Protein *(IF ever using one’s Protein as a Source of “Energy,” then one would be at a Starvation Level! ; ) … Not trying to give a full “dissertation” on Nutrition, basically stay away from ALL Simple Carbs., like White Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and refined White Flour Products! … Eat more Complex Carbs; which give healthy fiber as well! … Like I eat a Baked Sweet Potato before a Workout (at least an hour before), & maybe a fruit a little before (& after, as is good too; to help with the metabolism of the high protein meal that Zach mentioned, that should follow any workout! ) …

    *Lastly, in so far as exercises, I would suggest checking out the 10 “Body Weight” Exercises mentioned between Points #4 & #5 (the Link therein) … but I think that the very first exercise, of Single Leg Squats is NOT prudent for beginners, or folks with bad knees, but the rest are excellent Exercises.
    *Additionally, as a Trainer, I would “Never” recommend using a “Straight Bar Free Weights” to Beginner to Intermediate Clients; as often people are One-Sided Dominate, and need the Use of Dumbbells, or Cables to Isolate each side, and Condition / Strengthen them as such (by doing greater Reps., or wt. on the weaker side) … when there’s Parity on both sides, then Straight Bar Weights can be introduced.
    ** Really LASTLY, I would strongly suggest checking out Jeff Cavaliere’s videos on YouTube; who’s a Pro. Trainer, and PHYSICAL THERAPIST, & who’s extraordinary!
    *(What He teaches is consistent with my NASM Training & BEYOND! … Highly Recommended!

    Much Blessings in Your Pursuit of “Optimal Healthy Living!”

  27. Avatar AMani EmManuel PreMananda says:

    As a former Personal Trainer (NASM Certified), I don’t claim to be a “Fitness Expert” but in so far as exercises go, I would suggest checking out the 10 “Body Weight” Exercises mentioned between Points #4 & #5 (& the Link therein)! … But I think that the very first exercise, of Single Leg Squats is NOT prudent for beginners, or folks with bad knees, but the rest are excellent Exercises (& NEVER do an exercise where you sit / rest; for even a “Split Second”… Muscular Tension should always be maintained)!
    *Additionally, as a Trainer, I would “Never” recommend using a “Straight Bar Free Weights” to Beginner to Intermediate Clients; as often people are One-Sided Dominate, and need the Use of Dumbbells, or Cables to Isolate each side, and Condition / Strengthen them as such (by doing greater Reps., or weight on the weaker side) … when there’s Parity on both sides, then Straight Bar weights can be introduced.

    ** Lastly, I would strongly suggest checking out Jeff Cavaliere’s videos on YouTube; who’s a Pro. Trainer, and PHYSICAL THERAPIST, & who’s extraordinary!
    *(What He teaches is consistent with my NASM Training & BEYOND! … Highly Recommended! … Here’s a “Taste” of His Knowledge Base & relevant to THIS Article’s Subject Matter!

    Much Blessings in Your Pursuit of “Optimal Healthy Living!”

  28. Avatar Dr Phil says:

    Love it Anthony, Go Anthony Go!
    Anthony Yeung’s advice is impeccable: I am a physician; Anthony follows the prevailing highest quality research throughout the world. It has only been in the late 1990’s that any university level EMG studies were done on the core during athlete’s performance. Orthopedic textbooks post 2010 list sit ups and related knee to chest techniques with the foulest of language. Dr. McGill calls them “silly.”

  29. Would have helped if you added images. I don’t know what all these exercises are called, but would recognize them with a picture.

  30. Avatar Johnny Love says:

    Thanks. All the pains and soreness I had since high school appears to be from doing the exercises wrong all these years. No wonder.

  31. Avatar Scott Skink says:

    I’ve had lower back issues since a football incident almost 50 years ago. Two compromised discs. When I sense trouble coming with my lower back, Supermans are the single best exercise for stabilizing and getting on with my day.

  32. Avatar Girlyman says:

    I generally follow the belief in listening to your own body. This has only developed over time. You come to realise that there is a vast difference between muscular discomfort and joint and ligament pain. I stopped placing my hands behind my head whilst doing sit ups because I noticed I was stretching my neck too far forward as I squeezed out those last few reps. When I do upright rows I make sure I lift only as high as my nipples (and I might even let the bar rub them as some sort of reward on the way past – joking!) because any higher just feels “wrong” in my shoulder joints. Smith machine squats feels like I am cheating, so I use free weights and I don’t go as low, because my knees begin to protest.

  33. Avatar DeeBee says:

    Funny that this article screams NEVER TO SIT-UPS OR CRUNCHES, and below I was recommended an article that told me crunches (admittedly not sit-ups) were underrated and hugely effective. Is it any wonder that I am confused?

  34. Avatar Kinsey says:

    Should include pictures for people who don’t know these exercises by name

  35. Avatar Benevolent Curmudgeon says:

    To people saying they need pictures. If you don’t know what the exercise is called, or can’t recognize it by the description, then I’d venture to say you’re not doing them in the first place. Take 10 minutes and google them, get professional advice, or at the very least ask someone in the gym. Most will be happy to assist you or let you know.

  36. Avatar David Johnson says:

    Yes I know barbell upright rows are bad but using dumbbells gets over the impinging of the shoulder from various articles I have read.

  37. Avatar Robyn Velie Wood says:

    My fitness pal ran an article last May and just resent this week, saying 6 exercises everyone should do and Superman’s was one. Now you are saying DONT do Superman’s. Very conflicting.

  38. Avatar Annie says:

    I’m taking an exercise physiology class right and just finished a movement mechanics course and I can say that some of the infor is true if done incorrectly. Ever exercise has a time and place for beginners to elite athletes. What bothers me is that some of what is written goes against functional training. We rotator through our trunk on a daily basis, think of when you reach in the back of your car from the driver seat, why would you not want to strengthen that movement to avoid injury. Ever lifted something heavy to try and place overhead? Upright row with a press. Smith machines are great for new exercisers who don’t have the stability yet in the joint.

  39. Avatar Nadine Brown says:

    It would be nice, and smart, if there were videos to show you examples of the exercises not to do and as well as those recommended.

  40. Avatar Al Lehman says:

    My gym has what I assume is a kneeling torso machine. It looks like the seated version (I had to go find pictures on the web) but you are erect on your knees. Is this just as bad as the seated version?

  41. Avatar LoWd0Wn says:

    Crunches where you only lift off about 5 ” keeping your shoulders and neck straight are good I am told.

  42. Avatar Svix says:

    Trashy clickbait title

  43. Avatar frostieduck says:

    The internet is wonderful. It’s obvious from reading these responses here that everyone is an expert at what to do and what not to do at the gym and that their form is flawless. I’m not sure how I made it without injury at the gym for 20 years without reading the responses from all of these experts first. Thanks internet! Thanks experts! I have no doubt I will make it another 20 years injury free with such expert advice under my belt now!

  44. Avatar Chris Jan says:

    1 blog you should never write again:
    a blog about exercising using technical terms and names of machines without a single picture…

    • Avatar John says:

      If you don’t recognize any of these exercises, it means you don’t do them, therefore this article doesn’t apply to you! The author is saying that these are all exercises you should stop doing if you currently do them.

  45. Avatar Caveman86 says:

    I wouldn’t recommend using the smith machine for benching alone. If you fail on a normal bench, you can tilt the bar off to one side a little to let the weights slide off. The smith will just pin you down. Also, don’t collar lock your weights in benching alone either. Using them will stop the weights sliding off when you tilt the bar. If you still want to bench in a smith, please be one of the minority that uses the adjustable safety stops.

  46. Avatar Jonny Sumner says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous. As a senior and experienced Physio I can say this with confidence. What are your credentials?
    Scaremongering people away from exercise is the very reason people develop fearful psychological characteristics around exercise – this is not cool.
    If the author knew what they were aiming for around exercise other than trying to cause controversy and boost their social profile I think that they could have made some points about the ‘What Not To Do’ with form and help guide people to correct form. Be positive.

  47. Avatar Ben Davolls says:

    is 13 tinier than the hours on a clock? Instructions unclear – Bench Pressed a Clock on the Smith Machine

  48. Avatar C Syn says:

    “…You pull your neck forward, round your shoulders…”

    Only if you’re doing it wrong. :

  49. Avatar C Syn says:

    “…You pull your neck forward, round your shoulders…”

    Only if you’re doing it wrong. :

  50. Avatar Hampus danielsson says:

    if you want a six-pack you really need to flex your spine. that’s what dose muscles do. mabey floor-crunches isn’t the best. The plank don’t do much for six-pack.

  51. Avatar cheryllee77 says:

    I just finished reading an article here on MyFitnessPal that cited crunches as one of the best exercises everyone should be doing… I read these articles because I don’t know. Now I still don’t know. How unhelpful. I wish MyFitnessPal could manage the content a little better and avoid publishing articles that outright contradict each other.

  52. Avatar DSojat says:

    So tired of conditioning experts peddling the overhead press as the go-to shoulder exercise. Sure it has some impact on the lateral delts, but not like the upright row or the lateral raise. It primarily builds the front delts, something few people have trouble doing. Which is why you see so many people with overdeveloped front delts, weak rear delts and rotator cuff problems.

    The upright row is a perfectly safe exercise if you use a manageable weight, position your hands at shoulder width and only bring the bar to mid-chest. Keep your shoulders back and your back straight. If you are looking for boulder-shaped shoulders, this is one of the best exercises to achieve that. I once had rotator cuff problems, but have eliminated them by devoting more emphasis to rear delts using exercises like the upright row.

  53. Avatar Max Roberts says:

    What should replace sit-ups or crunches? How are they done right? How many replacements at one go? How many replacements per gym session?

  54. Avatar Salene Parnese says:

    This article infuriated me. It is so generic. Many of these moves are perfectly fine to perform. The sit-up is extremely functional and if you have healthy shoulders doing behind the neck pull downs and presses is perfectly okay. Also, upright rows are actually a very necessary movement to gain strength for Olympic lifts. I will agree that crunches are a waste of time.

  55. Avatar moyer566 says:

    no. they should never be done wrong. done right, there is nothing wrong with them

  56. Avatar Shgirl says:

    I was really hoping to see burpees on this list. 😉

  57. Avatar Jeff Ash says:

    When a trainer says, “never use a Smith machine” red flag should immediately go up. It’s one thing to say that you should really not deadlift in a Smith machine or that if you squat in a Smith machine you need to adjust your position and technique because of the fixed bar path. However, there are legitimate, good exercises to be done in a Smith machine. Saying to “avoid the Smith machine for the most part and stick to the free weight versions” is good advice since most people don’t bother to learn the difference when using a Smith, but to say “never use one except for inverted rows” shows serious lack of knowledge.

  58. Avatar Kent Ketterman says:

    I would have added Russian Twists to the list of exercises to avoid. Think of a dish rag that you twist to squeeze the water out….. that’s what’s happening to your spine!

  59. Avatar Brehyn Evans says:

    What about all the cardio exercises people use incorrect form on? Hanging on the treadmill and hunching on the stairclimber? Also sit ups are only a cause for concern when you use bad form. Your neck should be neutral and eyes towards the ceiling, not back rounded and chest caving in. C’mon people. This is the information age where you can find diagrams and videos for correct form on the internet. Ignorance is basically a choice nowadays.

  60. Avatar Paul DeLiso says:

    Not one scientific study in this article. “Sit-ups and crunches are as old school as it gets.”- Was that Theo only “fact” and scientific study this author could come up with? I should of known not to continue reading this article. Good job naming abdominal walls though. Well excuse me now I’m going to go do some sit-ups, crunches, and supermans………

  61. Avatar Dr Phil says:

    Anthony Yeung is great: his information is right on, so: no spine hinge, no bending spine, no sit-ups, no crunches.

  62. Avatar JB says:

    So if we are supposed to stop doing crunches/sit-ups, how do you suggest those of us in LE, the military, or any other profession that gets physically tested, prepares and improves their sit-ups? You provide thought, but not really solutions.

  63. Avatar kelly says:

    This is click bait and misinformation. I’m saddened a CSCS wrote this article.

  64. Avatar Fenisha14 says:

    The exercises listed in the article I do most of them I also do ab crunches but I do hve assistances doing them a machine I work on at Planet Fitness the ab machine I workout on uses my body weight versus me doing them by myself. when I joined Planet Fitness before I started my exercise’s routine I got with a Planet Fitness trainer and he advised a plan for me for the exercise equipment listed he seemed kinda Young so I’m assuming that if there was a problem if any of the exercise equipment listed he would have let me know. So do I need to revised my excercises regimen?

  65. Avatar Ashara Dayne says:

    I’ve had chronic lower back/hip pain for decades which doctors just say ‘exercise’ as treatment. A friend who is a bit of a fitness freak suggested my hip flexors might be weak and to do sit-ups to help strengthen them. Are they wrong?

  66. Avatar cis says:

    Machine? Who uses machines? I am a free-weighter and bodyweight supporter, myself.

    The “Superman” exercise (or at least the Pilates version, which is the only one we should consider) does NOT take you into hyperextension. Those who go into hyperextension (i.e. arch their backs) do it wrong. Always hire a properly qualified trainer to teach you proper technique and help you monitor it.

    Overhead shoulder press also put pressure on your shoulder joints. Try doing that with 80 and 90 year olds?!?! (or even many younger people with excessive thoracic kyphosis, ie rounded upper back and tight chest).
    Some also complain about tight necks during and after this exercise.
    However, I agree with you about avoiding upright rows . If you just HAVE to do them anyway, at least do NOT lift elbows higher than shoulders. Upright rows have been used in body pump classes for at least 20 years… (not saying that makes them good but it may be difficult NOT to do them at all if you happen to be in a pump class)

  67. Avatar marianne delaney says:

    I have to agree with some of the comments that the article would be better served if it discussed proper form versus never doing some of these exercises. As a Physical Therapist Assistant, some of these exercises, done correctly or slightly modified, have their benefits. (ok except ever doing lat pull down behind the neck – that is a never!)
    For all those people dismissing the author because of he works for GQ, STOP! The author is a CSCS – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist – it is a very reputable and stringent certification – way beyond that of a personal trainer. Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists® (CSCS®) are professionals who apply scientific knowledge to train athletes for the primary goal of improving athletic performance. They conduct sport-specific testing sessions, design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs and provide guidance regarding nutrition and injury prevention. To even register to take the certification test, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree (BS/BA), physical therapy degree, or chiropractic medicine degree granted by an accredited institution. To earn the CSCS® credential, candidates are required to pass a challenging exam that includes two sections (1) Scientific Foundations and (2) Practical/Applied. Not easy exams either, the pass rate was 53% for candidates attempting both sections of the CSCS exam in 2017.

  68. Avatar Paul T says:

    too late, paying the price with neck issues

  69. Avatar Tom McManness says:

    Supermans are in both blogs of exercises everyone should do and exercises you should never do again. Which one is it?

  70. Avatar Jordan Whissell says:

    This would have been way better had you offered alternatives.

  71. Avatar Moe says:

    The author copied gravity transformation on YouTube

  72. Avatar Richard says:

    Author doesnt even seem to lift

  73. Avatar Sue says:

    In the article “7 Exercises You Should Never Do Again,” one indicated no Superman exercises due to back extension. However in the linked article “6 Exercises Everyone Should Do,” it says… “Key points: Beginners should start with the superman exercise: Lay down on the floor in a prone position. Squeeze your glutes to extend and lift your legs off the floor. Slowly lift your shoulders off the floor in a back extension, keeping your head and neck relaxed. Hold this pose momentarily and then lower to complete one rep. Only extend the arms overhead if you want to increase the difficulty.”
    So, what’s the story?

  74. Avatar Scheryl says:

    Reading all these comments, there is no wonder people do not know what to do…some say this some say that…..very confused………

  75. Avatar YodaTheWise says:

    What alternatives do you suggest? If you are taking away something that people normally do, you should probably offer suggestions.

  76. Avatar Jay Severance says:

    Interesting discussion on avoiding situps and crunches. What is your guidance on the use of leg lifts?

  77. Avatar JD says:

    I get frustrated when I read these fitness blogs every week and they pose conflicting suggestions. Last month, one fitness “specialist” suggested integrating supermans into my workout. Now, this fitness expert is telling me that I shouldn’t.

  78. Avatar Kasim says:

    Your core is designed to curl and twist in addition to stabilizing. Getting up off the floor, and hitting a baseball or chopping wood. Every military does a form of sit-ups for a reason. Backflips and kungfu kicks, thats your core bending and assisting ie. leg raises.

    Upright rows done with a wide grip are safe and help you get bags or things overhead. Back extensions done with light weight can build the erector spinae to the point where your disks can be pushed back into place when built with size and thickness. I did this to correct my own bulging disks and now have a pain free back when previously I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoes due to deadlifting too heavy.

    Behind the neck presses when done properly can correct bad posture and strengthen the rotator cuff.

    The rest of the exercises I don’t really do but I always think I should try them before I discourage them.

    Most people write articles or post videos to discredit things when they have had an argument with someone about it. Be wary when articles or videos are overly adamant or provide no medical or reasearch evidence.

  79. Avatar Heikki says:

    All exercises mentioned in the list are good when completed properly. The purpose of the title was just collect many clicks. Full BS, Nothing new for old dog

  80. Avatar Maz says:

    Not sure what the problem wth having a lordosis is! We should all have a lordosis! Having an excessive lumber lordosis may be a problem! The superman can be beneficial if done correctly by encouraging good alignment and glute activation!!

  81. Avatar GMan says:

    The paper cited doesn’t mention crunches, only situps.

  82. Avatar John G says:

    it’s total garbage – so many considerations on exercise choice including risk, time, capability, age, level of development, rehabilitation, equipment availability, etc etc. To suggest that a smith machine puts you in an unnatural position (woolly, unclear terms are a giveaway as to the poor efficacy of the advice), what the hell does that mean, exactly. Tell that to a guy doing bench press on his own with the risk involved in going to failure….as one example. Anthony – go workout buddy, then write an opinion!

  83. Avatar Innerfit Run says:

    Hi Anthony,
    I’ve been a certified personal trainer for the better part of 35 years and have to agree/disagree with some points in your article “7 Exercise you should never do again”
    – Situps/crunches – I do agree that done incorrectly can cause issues with the spine, but the rectus abdominis function is for spinal flexion (thoracic & lumbar). The antagonist are the erector spinae which will support the spine during flexion and extension. I agree that planks are a great stabilizing exercise but do no promote range of motion in a static position, and all joints, including the spine should be trained through a full range of motion. Spinal flexion should be included with all the muscles of the abdominal wall (rectus, transverse, internal external oblique’s etc…Having qualified individuals to show you correct, slow and controlled form is important, not using momentum and pulling on the cervical spine.
    – Smith Machine – like all barbell strengthening movements they restrict R.O.M and do not allow for balanced movement. Training alone with barbells in itself has it’s inherent risks, the Smith can provide some safety allowing a user to work to failure without the risk of having to return the bar to a lockout position.
    – Seated Twisting Machine – Agree with your assessment on this device.
    – Superman – Like the Situp/Crunches, superman exercises a good majority of the supportive spinal muscle groups including the extensors of the hip (gluteus maximus, long head of the hamstring bicep femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus). Done in a slow controlled manner will provide strengthening to most of the spinal extensors. Variations to this can be done on a bench (prone position) to include scapular retraction (infra, supra spinatus, teres minor/major, subscapularis and posterior deltoids). Individuals that have had injuries to the spine need to include extension to get back R.O.M. Many times with new clients I see from years of sitting in a chair or carrying extra weight in the abdomen hyperlordosis (increase lumbar curve) or kyphosis (gorilla type posture, head forward, shoulders rounded). This needs to be corrected with extension type strengthening/stretching. I have an issue with getting a client doing farmer walks when they don’t have the core spinal/abdominal strength.
    – Back Extension Machine – I Agree that this machine puts the user in an unsafe posture, along with resistance, that could create more risk than benefits. I prefer the Hyperextension bench, done correctly will provide traction to the lumbar spine and a lot of the same benefits as the Superman. Again, finding a qualified trainer to put you in the correct position/posture, not using weights but only body resistance, will increase spinal extensor and gluteal strength. Slow and controlled movement, never momentum during this exercise.
    – Upright Row – I’ve never liked this exercise for the very reasons you outlined. Causes undo stress on the structure of the shoulder joint.
    – Behind the head ANYTHING Lat Pulldown or Press Behind the head – For what reason people started doing these variations is a mystery to me. Taking the spine out of neutral alignment with resistance is simply unsafe.
    My response was not meant to discredit you or your article, but only to give you another point of view. I don’t work with athletes, I work with the everyday individuals that want to get back to normal daily activity and to increase their fitness and make better lifestyle choices. I would rather be able to help someone be able to get dressed in the morning or carry their groceries into their home and able to put them away in the cupboard pain free, than train an athlete take 10 mins off their run time.
    Thank you for your knowledge and dedication to making this planet a healthier, happier place in which to live.
    Live in health,
    Innerfit

  84. Avatar Kaiser says:

    Don’t know about all the exercises described but I do know NOT to do the behind the neck press. Just got done with rotator-cuff surgery. Sit-ups? Been doing them for 50 years. Don’t have any problem with that.

  85. Avatar And fitness says:

    Is anybody else getting upset with this site? It would have been more helpful to show pics of the “wrong” exercises and the improved version. I do exercises but don’t always remember their names. I do my routine as outlined by the coach. Maybe I should give him the article to read and get his feedback. Then I tried to open a recipe and it wouldn’t open. Some sort of error, try back in 30 mins. Not the first time this has happened. May be time to find another tracking site Obviously this article is a rerun, posted comments are a year old. Guess they just recycle articles and hope no one notices!

  86. Avatar Scott Salbo says:

    This is about the dumbest nonsense I’ve ever read in 35 years as a full time fitness professional, and that includes the 1980’s whenvexoerys just like these said never do squats. Your articles are moronic, flybin the face of over 100 years we orthopedist of evidence based results, and make me embarrassed that I subscribe. Which I will now end.

  87. Avatar Jessica A Salgueiro says:

    I only agree with 6 and 7. I am a Dr. of Physical Therapy…When these ex’s are done right, they can be beneficial. Just need the proper training.

  88. Avatar Elizabeth Schrader says:

    Couldn’t agree more for the back extensions. Cluelessly did those bc I saw someone else do them, and ended up with persistent lower back pain at the age of SIXTEEN. My back only improved when I took back extensions out of my routine and put in better core work. All better now, thankfully, but I’m never doing a back extension ever again.

  89. Avatar Clay says:

    The core is actually made up of front, back, top and bottom. Front is transverse abdominis, back is multifidus, top is diaphragm, and bottom is pelvic floor musculature. The rectus abdominis and obliques are not considered “core” muscles as they have no spinal attachments.

  90. Avatar Adam Hefner says:

    I’m sorry but supermans and cack extensions help my lower back issues (mild scoliosis)temendously. As they strengthen the core of your body to support everything else. Stretching after each.

  91. Avatar Em says:

    Much of the science in this article is incorrect. “Lordosis” is not something that happens when your back is over extended. Your lumbar spine already has 30-50 degrees of lordosis, and you would be in severe pain and wouldn’t be able to walk without it.
    Unless there is some sort of acute injury, your spine cannot over extend. You’ve got the facet joints in your vertebrae to stop you from over extending.
    Many of these exercises are important for one reason or another. Like everyone else said, as long as you have good form. So to completely discredit them is irresponsible.
    If you are unsure of the proper form, do your research or see a certified specialist.

  92. Avatar Jason Langdon says:

    There are only 3 exercises you shouldn’t do

    1) Those you physically cannot do due to disability.
    2) Those you physically cannot do due to strength.
    3) Those you don’t enjoy doing.

  93. Avatar btm61 says:

    If it’s okay with all of you, including you Mr. Yeung, I will follow the direction of my Trainer who actually has a college degree in Exercise Physiology, with a specialization in working with obese people. There is so much crap in the world of fitness, and to me this just sounds like more of it. I one time saw an “expert” on a popular TV show advocate for Fruit Juices being the second best fluid you can drink “because of their low sugar content”. Have you ever entered 8 ounces of OJ into the food diary? My dietician, who has a Master’s Degree in the subject, said that fruit juices are about the worst thing you can do “because of their sugar content.” I’ve lost nearly 50 pounds in the last 5 months (90 overall) and went from not being able to walk around a store with out a cart to lean on to completing a 5k in just three months. I’ll take my chances with those who have degrees in the subject, instead of so-called “experts”.

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