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10 Common Exercises Trainers Refuse To Do, Because They Aren’t Worth The Energy

Is the gym your own personal haven, or do you like to get in and out as quickly as possible? Whatever the case, you can benefit from focusing on exercises that do the most good. Even the most dedicated fitness buffs don’t want to waste time on inefficient exercises. You want your workout efforts to pay off, after all. There are a few common exercises trainers refuse to do, because they aren’t worth the energy. And if they are OK skipping these moves, chances are you can nix them from your routine too.

This isn’t to say that these exercises are necessarily bad for you. But there are better ways to spend your time at the gym. Why spend time on crunches and sit-ups when total-body exercises might be a better idea? You can get the strength training and cardio workouts you want without wasting a single minute.

To learn more about skip-able exercises, I contacted two professional trainers. Kickboxing instructor Vivian Vidal had some great information to share about exercises that are not worth the effort if they are done incorrectly. And Noam Tamir, CSCS and Founder of TS Fitness in New York City, also shared helpful information about the moves you can skip. With their advice in mind, you can streamline your workout routine and only keep the most efficient exercises.  

1. Elliptical

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This machine may not be the best use of your aerobic time. According to Vidal, the elliptical's limited range of motion does not challenge your muscles to their limits. It is a good choice if you're recovering from injuries and need low-impact cardio, however.

2. Barbell Upright Rows

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This exercise might cause more damage than good. "Although it creates a lot of muscles stimulation in the shoulders, it places the shoulders in a position (internal rotation) that when loaded put a lot of press on the tendons in the shoulder," Tamir says. This creates a lot of wear and tear and may cause inflammation in the rotator cuff.

3. Treadmill

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Running outside is more challenging. According to Vidal, maintaining one speed and level on your treadmill run is not very beneficial. If you use the set programs, however, and make elevation and speed chances, this can create a good workout.

4. Sit-Ups

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This old-school fitness move may not be super helpful; in fact, the navy is considering removing it from their fitness testing. As Tamir explained, sit-ups create a lot of tension on the spine, and they don't translate into real-life, functional movements.

5. Spot Reduction Exercises

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It would be cool if you could target weight loss for specific areas of your body, but unfortunately exercise does not work that way. "To focus only on one area of the body you would definitely strengthen but not necessarily burn the fat to show off the muscles beneath the skin," Vidal says. Full body exercises, such as burpees, can help with your cardio and strength training.

6. Quarter Squats

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As Tamir explained, the first quarter of the squat puts the most stress on your knees. "Many people will do these types of reps either because they are trying to lift weight that is too heavy or they just don’t know any better and they think that it's better then nothing," he says. Check with your trainer to see if your form is correct.

7. Leg Lifts (Head Down)

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Keeping your head down during leg lifts is easier, but according to Vidal, it's more effective if you hold your shoulders and head off the floor. By lifting your head up, you can engage more muscles in the abdominal wall.

8. The Smith Machine

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Tamir recommends against using the Smith Machine because it takes away the use of stabilizer muscles that help you safely lift weights. The machine keeps your body in a fixed position, which restricts your ability to do squats, lunges, and deadlifts safely.

9. Crunches

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If you're gaming for a six-pack, this is not enough. Vidal recommends adding other full-body exercises to enhance it. Isolating the upper abs alone is not going to get you there.

10. Improper Lunges

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Keeping your knees over the ankle, and setting your weight on the heel, will help you engage the glutes and quads. "Knees over-extended over toes on forward lunges can lead to injuries," Vidal says. And nothing derails your workout routine like an injury.