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Five Exercises That Are a Waste of Time

Updated on November 25, 2011

If you're not seeing the fitness results that you want, you might be making some mistakes in the gym. Certain exercises are waste of time and might even cause injury. If you're doing any of these exercises, it's time that you started a new routine.

Adductor and Abductor Machine

The belief behind this machine is it will strengthen and tone the inner and outer part of your thigh. The problem is you can't spot reduce and by spending your time moving your legs in and out, you're not going to reach your fitness goals. Another issue with this machine is it isn't a functional movement, meaning it won't help you in sports or in your every-day activities. Instead, strengthen the lower body with squats, lunges or step-ups.

Walking at an Incline Holding On

Walking is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and adding incline is a great way to strengthen your legs and increase caloric burn. But if you put the speed and incline so high that you have to hold on for dear-life, you have now taken a great exercise and made it a lot less effective. Holding on to the treadmill creates improper alignment and can cause back problems or other injuries. Holding on also reduces the amount of calories you burn because you've eliminated work from the legs and transferred the workload back to the machine. Decrease the speed or incline and focus on not holding on to get better results. If you want to build up to faster speeds and higher incline, do intervals on the higher elevations so you don't have to hold on.

Ab Machine

We all want great looking abs but doing repetitions on any abdominal machine, won't get you that flat stomach. The first problem is you're able to cheat by using your legs, arms or back to help pull your abs together. Another problem is if you have low back injuries or pain, this machine can amplify the injury and pain because of the pressure this movement puts on the discs. The idea that we should be able to crunch lots of weight together is another problem for this machine. More effective ab exercises include the bicycle maneuver, reverse crunch or the captains chair.

Lat Pull-Down Behind the Head

This move is very common among old-fashioned exercises. This move is unnatural for the body, not functional and can cause injuries. Pulling the bar behind your head causes the head to move forward into poor alignment, which can lead to shoulder injuries, neck pain and bad posture. Since you're trying to strengthen the lat muscle or the upper back, pulling the bar in front of you works the muscle in the same way in a lot safer way.

Upright Row

The upright row targets the shoulders and the upper back muscle. The problem with this exercise is the position your arms must go in order to complete this exercise. Bringing your elbows straight out to the sides above the shoulder joint causes impingement on the shoulder muscles, joints and nerves. Crunching the shoulder muscles and nerves over and over will cause damage and pain. Instead of upright rows to develop shapely shoulders, do front or lateral shoulder raises lifting weights out to the front or side of the body, stopping the weight slightly below the shoulders.


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    • jbrock2041 profile image

      jbrock2041 5 years ago from Park City, UT

      Todd- yes, your key words are done correctly, which often does not happen and when that's the case, you can cause shoulder injuries and rotator cuff problems. But I'm glad that you have not had any injuries and been able to do them successfully.

    • profile image

      todd 5 years ago

      For the most part fine, I personally have found upright rows one of the best exercises to develop the delts and traps if done correctly. Been doing them for years and never had a proble,

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good Hub. Simple and clear explanations of the problems that these exercises can cause. Very helpful.

    • jbrock2041 profile image

      jbrock2041 6 years ago from Park City, UT

      Thank you Dedmoroz. Using the adductor/abductor machine definitely isn't the worse exercise that you can do, it's just that other exercises are a lot more effective.

    • profile image

      Dedmoroz 6 years ago

      Hi Julie,

      Another wonderful hub! Was quite surprised at the first one, altough I see now why it's not the ideal way to strengthen your lower body.

      I'm always interested about reading physical and mental health.


    • profile image

      tipasinthe 6 years ago

      The lat pull down behind the head has always felt uncomfortable to me..front pull downs from now on..thanks for the tips

    • stayingalivemoma profile image

      Valerie Washington 6 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      Thanks for the tips! I bet a lot of people will be surprised!

    • profile image

      John Hansen 6 years ago

      excellent advise