It is January, a week after the new year began, when people have started working on their resolutions. It seems most people include a resolution dealing with exercise. Rather than check out the best types of exercise, I thought I would find out which exercises are the most ineffective.
We all have friends who recommend this one or that one that worked for some friend of theirs. You have a friend who is a self-styled know-it-all who repeats the "No pain, no gain" mantra which has been proven outdated.
So here are the 10 most ineffective ways to exercise:
1. Running on the treadmill. Running on the treadmill for an hour is only good if you are training for a marathon, not for losing weight. It is much better to mix cardio with some weight training.
2. Sit-ups. Doing sit-ups to flatten the ab is old school and ineffective because it only works a very small section of the abs. Don't ever do this with straight legs. If your legs are straight, you might injure your back but again, its not that effective. Its much better to do the plank or a side plank to work more abdomen muscles. Honestly, I hated sit-ups in school and had trouble doing them. I could never sit fully up without some oomph.
3. Touching toes. Remember these from elementary P.E.? You know you bend down, touch your toes, stand up and repeat? I was the kid who couldn't touch my toes except occasionally when the wind blew the right way. This is not considered a good exercise as it really does nothing.
4. Spot reduction. There is no such thing as spot reduction through exercise. It is better to exercise the whole body and eat properly with the correct amount of protein. The idea you can reduce certain parts of the body is a total myth.
5. The seated abductor machine. It turns out this machine does not actually work the outer thighs. Instead, it works a deep muscle in the hip. Over working that muscle could lead to your sciatic nerve hurting. Side leg raises accomplish more than using the machine.
6. Upright rows using weights. This particular exercise could cau compression of shoulder and lead to rotor cuff injury. I never knew this one was bad. In fact, its one of the exercises that appears on so many of my DVD's and I've done religiously. Professionals recommend straight armed raises instead.
7. Seated leg extensions. Doing these with a leg extension machine is not considered safe. Unfortunately, the resistance is on the ankles which places pressure on the knees and could easily injure the knees. It is recommended people do a split squat instead which is easier on the knees and healthier.
8. Calf raises. You know those ones where you raise up onto the ball of your foot and down. What works better is to walk, run, hike, or run stairs. The movement itself works calves and you don't need to do anything separate unless you are a serious bodybuilder.
9. Bicep curls. Wow. It turns out the reason this is put on the list is because most people use momentum to do the curls rather than muscles. If the bicep curl is done correctly, it only works smaller muscles and is not really effective. Supinated chin ups are much more effective at working more muscles.
10. Bench dips. These are done when you hold on to a bench or the sides of a chair and move down and back up. Its like a backwards push up where you sink and then push up. It supposedly works your triceps but in reality it works the deltoids and opens you up to possible injury.
Its interesting that a few of these, including the bench dips are on included on several of my exercise DVD's. I now know which exercises not to do when I do those DVD's and what to substitute. So I will be making changes to my exercises.