We’re back! Readers of our article “Five Worthless Exercises We Hope You’re Not Doing” gave us great feedback, so we couldn’t wait to give you the lowdown on several more exercises that are, generally speaking, a waste of time.
The basic requirement of landing on this banned list is that regardless of how much you do them, these exercises will not make significant changes in strength, muscle size or body composition. Here are five more exercises you can cross off your must-do memo.
#1. Bulgarian Split Squat on a High Box. The so-called Bulgarian split squat was popularized by weightlifting coach Angel Spassov. The exercise is actually a split squat with the back leg elevated, a posture that puts greater stress on the quadriceps because more of the weight is shifted to the front leg. However, the actual version Spassov promoted required that the back leg be elevated only a few inches. If the back leg is elevated to knee height, or higher, this causes hyperextension of the spine and places harmful stress on the spine.
Superior Alternatives: Split Squat, Split Squat with Back Foot Elevated
#2. Squat while Standing on a Swiss Ball. In an effort to improve stability for athletic performance, many strength coaches had their athletes trying to squat while standing on a Swiss ball. In one athletic training seminar, the instructor demonstrated this exercise and as he did so fell off and tore his ACL. Such training is not only dangerous, it does nothing to improve athletic fitness.
Superior Alternatives: Back Squat, Front Squat
#3. Seated Good Morning, Bar in Front. The standing good morning continues to be a key exercise in the sport of Olympic-style weightlifting. Performing it from a seated position increases the compressive forces on the spine, but for many trainees this is not an issue. What is risky is holding the bar in front of the shoulders. Trying to hold the bar on the clavicles in this position places tremendous strain on the rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles, and there is a high risk of dropping the barbell on your thighs.
Superior Alternatives: Standing Good Morning, Bent-Leg Deadlift
#4. Straight-Arm Barbell Pullover. Pullovers are fine, but when the arms are straight, the poorer leverage makes it difficult to use sufficient weight to generate any strength training effect. Also, using a straight bar tends to limit the range of motion in the stretch position.
Superior Alternatives: Bent-Arm Pullover, Pullover Machine
#5. Chin-Up with Bands. The problem with using bands on chin-ups is that they give you the most help at the beginning of the exercise, where you are strongest. The limiting factor in chin-ups and pull-ups is strength at the top range of motion, and as such this variation does not provide the appropriate assistance.
Superior Alternatives: Negative Chin-Up, Partner-Assisted Chin-Up
As we said in the first article in this series, these exercises are not worth the effort. Instead, consider the alternatives provided and make the most of your precious workout time.