There are so many sources of information out there, it is very difficult to know what is right and what is potentially dangerous or wasteful when working out. This week, I am listing 5 exercises you should avoid – some are dangerous and some are simply ineffective.

  1. Behind the neck lateral pulldowns: injury prone

In spite of the fact that this exercise has been contraindicated for years and is disappearing from newer fitness publications, you will still see a large number of people (including trainers!!!) doing it.

This exercise if done just slightly “imperfectly” can cause serious damage to the rotator cuff muscles and cervical spine.

Instead: Opt for a regular lateral pulldown. (with the bar in front of the chin)

  1. Good mornings: injury prone

This exercise is where a barbell is placed across the back of the neck as the trainee bends to a 90 degree angle and then returns to an upright position. Just by looking at it you can see that this exercise places undue stress on the spine.

Instead: perform regular dead-lifts or straight leg dead-lifts

  1. Inner/outer thigh machine (seated adductor/abductor machine): ineffective

On the other hand, this piece of equipment is not dangerous – the problem is that it is simply ineffective. Women especially, looking to tone their legs, use this equipment quite frequently. The problem is that the machine provides work to a very limited amount of muscles, due to the small range of motion.

Instead: Do squats and lunges which will slim your legs and work the inner/outer thighs much more effectively!

  1. Abdominal machine (most types): ineffective

Simply put, laying on a machine and rocking back and forth will not fire up your abs to achieve results. Most just do not provide you with the range of motion you need to truly engage your abs.

Instead: Work on a stability ball, or on the floor to achieve full range of motion.

  1. Side bends: ineffective

Holding heavy weight and bending from side to side will NOT slim your sides. Instead, it will thicken the muscles on top making your sides less slim. For “thinner” sides you want to work your “obliques” hard through rotational exercises.

Instead: do bicycles,  side crunches and other oblique work. These will “chisel” your waist – giving you a more tapered look!

So remember – choose exercises that are both safe and effective. You will be more pleased with your results and you won’t risk set backs caused by injury.