Performance Insiders

Monday, September 05, 2011 36

Q: What Are the Most Overrated Exercises?

It seems like most people I see in the gym use the same exercises. Which exercises work and which moves are overrated?

By: Question from: The Editors, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Plank
Photo: lululemon athletica/Flickr

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Outside GOOur hottest adventure-travel tips and trips. Sent occasionally.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Subscribe
to Outside
Save Over
70%

Magazine Cover

iPad Outside+ App Access Now Included!

News

Apr 16, 2014

A:

Doing the same workout over and over again isn’t just boring, it’s ineffective. When you repeat the same movements time after time, your body adapts, which limits your results. You can also develop strength imbalances and postural issues over time if you don’t mix things up. To get the most out of your workout, swap out some of your usual moves with new ones. Here are three to get you started: 

Overrated: Crunches
The crunch places unnecessary strain on your back, and it only targets the rectus abdominis.

Do This Instead: The Running Plank
The running plank trains your entire pillar—your shoulders, torso, and hips—while stabilizing your spine and improving posture to help you look and perform better. To do it, start in a push-up position with your hands beneath your shoulders and feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your hips and torso still, draw one knee toward your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg. (Click here to watch the video.)

Overrated: Seated Machine Chest Press
When performing the seated machine chest press, your body has to follow a fixed path. This limits the range of motion in which you can build muscle and neglects important stabilizing muscles of your shoulders. Think about it this way: When the machine provides the stability, your body doesn’t have to.

Do This Instead: 1 Arm Bench Press
The 1 Arm Bench Press places the weight on one side of your body, forcing you to stabilize your body using your core. You’ll develop core strength and upper-body power that transfer to everyday activities and the sports field. To do it, lie face-up on a bench with your hips just off the edge of the bench. Hold a dumbbell at your shoulder in one hand and the bench behind your head with your other hand. Keeping your hips in line with your shoulders, press the weight over your chest and then lower it to your shoulder. Complete the set on one side, and repeat with the opposite arm. (Click here to watch the video.)

Overrated: Knee Extension
Knee extensions focus solely on your quads, but don’t help build strength and stability throughout the rest of your lower body.

Do This Instead: Split Squat with Back Foot Up
You’ll get a greater total-body workout with the Split Squat with Back Foot Up. This move benefits your quads, hamstrings, and glutes while building single-leg strength and stability to boost your performance. Here’s how to do it: Stand tall in a split stance holding a pair of dumbbells with your weight primarily on your front foot and your back foot elevated on a bench. Lower your hips toward the ground by bending your front knee. Push through your front leg to return to the starting position. Finish your set on one side, and then repeat with the opposite leg forward. (Click here to watch the video.)

Related Articles
The Best Core Exercise You’re Not Doing
Train Movements, Not Muscles

How Much Weight Should I Lift?

More at Outside

Next in Fitness (15 of 97)

How can I loosen up tight hip muscles from cycling?

Read More »
Current Issue Outside Magazine

Subscribe and get a great deal! Two free Buyer's Guides plus a free GoLite Sport Bottle. Monthly delivery of Outside—your ultimate resource for today's active lifestyle. All that and big savings!

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Gear of the Day The latest products, reviews, and editors' picks. Coming soon.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Ask a Question

Our gear experts await your outdoor-gear-related questions. Go ahead, ask them anything.

* We might edit your question for length or clarity. If it's not about gear, we'll just ignore it.