The best thing you can do at the gym is to do what everyone else is doing, right Legend of Zelda Wild Breath? Maybe not.
Turns out that some of the most popular exercises at the gym are ineffective. And worse still, they could even cause you injury!
Ditch these exercises and machines and swap them for safer workout options.
Ditch: Ab machine workouts
The promise of rock-solid abs has many gym-goers running for the ab machines. Sadly, these are mostly ineffective. The machine itself makes it awkward to activate your ab muscles properly. This means tons of work, with little to no improvement.
Try this instead: Planking
If you’re looking to build and strengthen your core, planking is your best bet. It’s safe and effective because it makes use of your entire core, tones your abdominal muscles and gives you a good leg and arm workout at the same time too.
How to do it: Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Put your hands directly under your shoulders and step your feet back, one at a time. For stability, bring your feet wider than hip distance apart and bring them closer if you want a challenge. Keep a straight line from your heels to the top of your head, while keeping your eyes on the floor. Tighten your abs, quads, glutes and hold throughout. Start with three sets of 15-30 seconds.
If you’re dreaming of a flat stomach, endless crunches will not get you there. In fact, overdoing these puts you at risk of a back injury. The truth is, crunches exert strain on your back while barely working your abs.
Try this instead: Burpee push-ups
Burpees are an ultimate full-body workout and makes a great swap for crunches. They strengthen your abs and revs up your entire core. Best of all, they are much safer to do than back-straining crunches.
How to do it: Start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Lower yourself into a deep squat and bring your hands to the floor, shoulder-width apart. Now jump your feet back into a plank, while keeping your abs tight. Use your lower abs to jump your feet back into deep squat and stand or jump back up. Do this 10-15 times.
Ditch: Kipping pull-ups
A kipping pull-up is basically a pull-up that involves a swinging motion of the body with a burst of power from your shoulders to reach above the push-up bar. These extra movements could cause a serious injury to your shoulders.
Try this instead: A regular pull-up
There’s a reason why pull-ups are a workout staple; they are both safe and effective.
How to do it: Lie on your back, either on the floor or a bench. Bend your knees and hook your feet under a secure brace. If you don’t have a brace, ask someone to hold your feet. Put your hands on your sides or behind your neck. Bend your hips and waist to raise your body off the ground. Now lower your back to the starting position.
Ditch: Partial squats
Squats are difficult; that’s why partial squats were created. The problem with partial squats though is that the movement doesn’t activate the muscles that full squats do. Because they exclude your glutes and hamstrings they increase the risk of lower leg muscle imbalance. This in turn can increase your risk of injury..
Try this instead: Full squats
Done correctly, full squats are much better than partial ones. They work on your glutes, hamstrings, calves, abdominal muscles and even your lower back.
How to do it: Stand with your feet a little wider than hip width apart, your toes facing the front. Push your hips back, bending at the knees and ankles. Now sit into a squat position while keeping your heels and toes on the ground, and your core engaged. Press into your heels and straighten your legs till you’re upright again.