It’s enough that we get motivated to get off our asses and hit the gym more often, but is it possible that some of the machines and workouts we’re doing are actually making things WORSE for us?
Depending on your fitness goals, some workout experts say that many common gym machines are worthless and many moves, positions, and exercises you might see on TV or read about online are actually doing more harm than good. Here are five exercises that we say to just avoid altogether:
1. Lat Pull-Downs Behind-the-Neck
You’re not a gymnast. Don’t fuck around with your lats unless you’re doing it the right way, and the right way to do a Lat Pull-Down is almost always IN FRONT of your face, NOT behind your neck.
According to Men’s Health, doing Lats incorrectly, could increase your risk for shoulder impingement syndrome, which causes pain when muscles or tendons in your rotator cuff get trapped in your shoulder joint. Ow.
Instead, just pull the bar in front of your head. You work the muscles without the risk.
2. Leg Curls
Your hamstrings are not your biceps. They are part of your legs, not your arms. Your legs hold you upright and keep you balanced, and your hamstrings are always working in unison with a bunch of other leg muscles. I fact, Men’s Fitness points out that the only time your hamstrings EVER are working by themselves is when you do a leg curl at the gym.
Skip it. Do back extensions instead, because they help train groups of leg and glute muscles together.
Skip the dip. Personal trainers will tell you that nearly everyone does it wrong, and that’s not good for you. Doing dips incorrectly puts a ton of strain on your rotator cuff and can cause shoulder damage. That’ll ruin your workout plans quick.
Do pushups instead. They work those triceps and chest muscles you’re looking for while helping you with some balance training at the same time. Remember to tusk those elbows in!
4. Seated Hip Abductor Machine
A lot of guys think that the hip abductor machine is the only way to work your glutes and some of your thigh muscles. That’s just silly. There’s a better, easier, and cheaper way that doesn’t potentially hurt your back/spine.
Get off the machine and buy a cheap elastic resistance band. Put it around your ankles and do the abductor exercise standing up. Your back will thank you for it.
5. The Elliptical Machine
Ugh. I hate saying this, because I am an avid elliptical machine user. The bottom line is, humans were engineered to run. Run your ass off. Start with a quarter mile and gradually build your way up.
And here’s another bit of motivation, from Kristen Gard, our fitness writer/personal trainer.
“Unless guys have an injury, I just find it un-masculine. Sorry. You can probably sub the StairMaster, but that’s my personal opinion.”
There you have it, fellas. Get to the gym, but do it right!