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Ilene 04-09-2006 08:06 PM

10 Most Ineffective Exercises
 
Jillybean posted this in another thread and Meg and I thought it was very appropriate for the Exercise forum... Happy reading :D...

Quote:

10 Most Ineffective Exercises
By Raphael Calzadilla, B.A., CPT, ACE
Glee Contributor
Updated: Sunday, April 9, 2006

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." -Albert Einstein

What if you suddenly found out that every workout you’ve been doing for months and months was unsafe, inefficient and graphically illustrated in the imaginary encyclopedia of bone head exercises?

We tend to look at certain areas on our body with disgust and anxiety. We look for quick fixes and the magical exercise that will solve all of our problems. That’s why infomercials sell “5 minute exercise solutions,” and love to prey on our weak emotional states and lack of knowledge related to physiology. Let’s get to the point: There are exercises that just plain stink. They’re inefficient, have a high injury risk and provide practically zero benefit.

The following list of exercises may surprise you. Consider your surprised reaction a step in the right direction. Here’s my top 10 most ineffective exercises list: This is by no means an exhaustive list - there are a lot more.

1. Adductor Machine -- The adductor machine is the exercise unit that you sit in while placing the inner part of your legs against a pad. You then push the legs toward each other, with the goal of reducing your inner thighs. Maybe you perform 20, 30 or even more reps to affect the area. This exercise will not reduce your inner thighs. You’d need enough resistance to create an impact on the muscle, so more than 15 reps aren’t going to accomplish anything. More importantly, it’s not the best range or plane of motion (direction) to affect the inner thigh.

2. Abductor Machine -- The abductor machine is the opposite of the adductor. In this case, you sit in the machine and place the outer part of your legs against a pad. You then push your legs away from each other, in the hopes of reducing your outer thigh area. Pushing the legs outward accomplishes very little for the outer thigh. Again, the plane of motion is ineffective. You say you can feel this machine? I can also feel my chest muscles if I perform a dumbbell press very slowly with a pair of five pound dumbbells, but that doesn’t mean it’s accomplishing my goal. There’s more to the puzzle than just feeling it.

3. Standing or Bent Over Twist
-- Ever see someone in the gym with a broomstick behind their head twisting endlessly from left to right? The person mistakenly assumes that twisting for hundreds of reps will shrink the waist and decrease the size of the oblique muscles (love handles). This movement inefficiently affects the spinal erectors and places stress on ligaments. It provides no slimming effect on the “love handles”.

4. Upright Rows -- In this exercise, one grasps a barbell with hands approximately four inches apart, with palms facing the body. Standing in an upright position, the bar is pulled all the way up to the neck. The objective is to strengthen the upper trapezius muscles (the muscles at the base of the neck).

Internationally known research scientist, Michael Colgan, refers to this as a “bone head exercise,” in his book, The New Power Program, and I totally agree. The exercise puts undue stress on the very sensitive rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder and can easily cause injury.

5. Side Bends
-- Grasping dumbbells and bending side to side in the hopes that the oblique muscles (love handles) will shrink, may actually make the area larger if you use heavy enough dumbbells. Is that what you want? Toss this exercise out the window. The only thing that’s going to get those ‘love handles” smaller is reducing overall body fat through cardiovascular exercise, brisk weight training and last but not least, a calorie reduced diet.

6. Behind The Neck Lat Pulldowns for the Back -- Performing this cable pulldown movement puts unnecessary stress on the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulders. I can’t begin to count the number of people who’ve experienced injuries from this and any behind the neck movement.

7. Shoulder Press Behind Neck -- Not only is this an unstable position, but it can lead to inflammation, pain in the shoulder and major rotator cuff injuries. The shoulder joint is extremely complex and much like the knee joint, easily prone to injuries. Lifting an object over the head while it sits behind the neck isn’t even a functional (every day) movement.

8. Straight Legged Sit Ups -- Performing straight legged sit ups (knees locked and extended) puts a lot of stress on the lower spine, and the jerky type movement required to lift from the floor can result in injury. According to Wayne Westcott, PhD., Fitness Research Director at the South Shore YMCA in Boston, "in a routine where any abdominal exercise movement places stress on the back, the risks outweigh the potential benefits.”

9. Seated Rotation Machine --These machines are found in gyms and people use them in the hopes of shrinking the waist line. In fact, you’ll usually see people rotating left and right on these machines for hundreds of repetitions. It does not shrink the waist and can place a great deal of pressure upon the ligaments of the spine.

10. Cardiovascular Exercise: More than 60 Minutes -- I realize you want to lose the most amount of fat in the least amount of time. I can understand that, but if the body can only lose up to two pounds of fat per week before it begins destroying muscle, why are you working out as if you’re attempting to lose five pounds per week? I generally recommend working at a capacity of 70 to 80 percent of your target heart rate. If you’re performing cardio more than 60 minutes at this level of intensity, you’re on a collision course for muscle loss. If you think it’s not important, you may want to re-consider.

I’ve seen people lose well over 100 pounds and lose it very, very fast. They did everything possible to lose weight (fat and muscle), as opposed to losing only fat and sparing muscle. The result is a soft and flabby looking body. Yes, they lost the 100 pounds, but did it in the most inefficient manner possible. The key to your success is not searching for an exercise that will reduce a trouble spot. It’s finding the most efficient exercises that will strengthen the area. Then, the combination of reduced calories, cardiovascular exercise and consistency does the rest of the work.


Raphael Calzadilla has over 14 years of experience as a personal trainer and bodybuilder, earned his B.A. in Communications from Southern Connecticut State University; is certified with ACE, APEX and successfully completed the RTS1 program based on biomechanics.

Ooops almost forgot to add the link: http://www.gleemagazine.com/glee/art...498&code=29103

fruitster 04-10-2006 08:20 AM

Wow! At least 3 of these are machines used at Curves. Thanks for this info!

Mel 04-10-2006 08:35 AM

LOL, this is great. These are most of the exercises that I spend a lot of time trying to talk women out of doing. And the ones that most women race into the gym to do, ignoring most everything else :dizzy:

Mel

Meg 04-10-2006 08:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mel
LOL, this is great. These are most of the exercises that I spend a lot of time trying to talk women out of doing. And the ones that most women race into the gym to do, ignoring most everything else :dizzy:

Mel

:rofl: You mean all the ones who do 100 crunches, 100 abductor, 100 adductor and they're out of there?

Seriously, #4 - upright rows - are how I tore my rotator cuff last year, which required surgical repair. They are definitely on my 'never do' list.

kykaree 04-10-2006 08:57 AM

I'm not as stupid as I thunk I was. My trainer wanted me to do upright rows and it just didn't "feel" right so I didn't do them. Ditto the side bends.

And the adductor/abductor machines, what are they about????

2frustrated 04-10-2006 09:15 AM

Those "thighmaster" machines! :rofl: I used to "lift" 50kg on them and never saw any improvement in my legs... :chin: Hmm I wonder why!

Apart from that I've not done any of the other exercises - oh wait - no, I did do the twisty thing, seated rotation machine. Some dumb trainer told me to do it :rolleyes:

AnneWonders 04-10-2006 09:32 AM

I guess I think it is sort of irresponsible to have a blanket statement calling more than 60 minutes of "cardiovasular exercise" as ineffective (for what exactly?) and unsafe. Ok, even I, endurance junkie, will admit that if you're doing 3 step aerobics classes a day or spending 2 hrs straight on the elliptical you might want to rethink it. But "cardio" can also include long walks in the woods with the family, or preparing for a bicycling vacation (my 60+ yr old parents are doing this right now). The key is appropriate intensity, rest, and nutrition. And limiting oneself to one hour of cardio is an extremely ineffective way to train for even a short distance triathlon, a half-marathon, mountain biking, or many other sports. One could argue that these type of sports are not most effective for fat loss and changing body compostion and I wouldn't necessarily disagree, but a long walk in the woods sure might be.

Anne

srmb60 04-10-2006 10:56 AM

Not only did I once have a thigh master ... I'm a bonehead too! Oi!

I wish that I had realised this ....

Iíve seen people lose well over 100 pounds and lose it very, very fast. They did everything possible to lose weight (fat and muscle), as opposed to losing only fat and sparing muscle. The result is a soft and flabby looking body. Yes, they lost the 100 pounds, but did it in the most inefficient manner possible. The key to your success is not searching for an exercise that will reduce a trouble spot. Itís finding the most efficient exercises that will strengthen the area. Then, the combination of reduced calories, cardiovascular exercise and consistency does the rest of the work.


.... about three years ago. I probably wouldn't be struggling now.

Ilene 04-10-2006 11:02 AM

Susan -- That was my favourite paragraph in the whole article too...

Tani 04-10-2006 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wndranne
I guess I think it is sort of irresponsible to have a blanket statement calling more than 60 minutes of "cardiovasular exercise" as ineffective (for what exactly?) and unsafe.

Anne, this was exactly my thought as well. Because I bike to work on a week day (1 hour cardio) and then take an hour aquacize class at night I'm unsafe?? Or take an afternoon hike after a morning fitness class on the weekend? I think lots of people safely get more than a hour of cardio in a day because they're doing things they enjoy. As long as you're eating enough I don't see a problem.

That quibble aside, it's a nice list. It's especially nice to see the potentially injuring moves listed. (Especially since I'm losing my bike commute in 2 months and will be joining a gym again)

Ready2ShedLBS 04-10-2006 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tani
Anne, this was exactly my thought as well. Because I bike to work on a week day (1 hour cardio) and then take an hour aquacize class at night I'm unsafe?? Or take an afternoon hike after a morning fitness class on the weekend? I think lots of people safely get more than a hour of cardio in a day because they're doing things they enjoy. As long as you're eating enough I don't see a problem.

That quibble aside, it's a nice list. It's especially nice to see the potentially injuring moves listed. (Especially since I'm losing my bike commute in 2 months and will be joining a gym again)


Your body has a natural cycle.. it burns Carbs first ( always), fat second, and protein ( muscle) third.

Basically, after you burn off carbs, your body goes to fat for energy and then to protein. So it has been decided that after one hour of cardio your body begins to tap into your protein (muscle) stores. This is why runners are so sleek, also this is why they eat mad carbs before a marathon, or what have you. I dont think its hour of cardio A DAY, its one hour at the time, you need to replenish yourself, and THEN do more cardio if you wish. This is also way people who eat low carb lose so much weight is because they pretty much trick their body into burning fat first. Not a good idea if you are an athlete or wanna-be athlete, you need carbs so your body wont result to protein so fast. This is my .02 and what I have read, been told, and scientifically it makes sense.

As for the seated rotation, I got some good results doing that thing. Even my doctor commented on my obliques. I dont do it anymore, but I liked it when I did. Oh well.. lol

Jasmin71 04-10-2006 04:38 PM

wow,,,,,,scary to think we been doing this at curves.....never knew....uhg!

Misti in Seattle 04-11-2006 08:05 AM

Okay... I am not questioning this since I am certainly no expert... but why is what ONE person says necessarily more "right" than what hundreds of personal trainers and gym programs teach? :) One of these happens to be very similar to an exercise I have been taught at fitness centers for years and it does certainly make me feel better and more "toned" than most others. I recently started doing it again and don't intend to stop just because some person I've never even heard of before says it. :jig: Don't intend to give up my long walks either!! I am thrilled that I am able to do it again :)

Again... not saying she is wrong; just also not glibly accepting things because she says it. :)

Meg 04-11-2006 09:19 AM

Couple of thoughts ...

I'm a certified personal trainer (so is Mel ;) ) and work in a gym with a lot of other personal trainers -- and I honestly don't know anyone who teaches that ANY of those exercises are correct or good for you. I'm sure that somewhere, someone is in favor of them, but the exercises listed are pretty accepted in the industry as being ineffective (or dangerous) exercises.

But if you're doing something that makes you feel good and isn't harming you, by all means keep doing it. :) If your exercise program includes lots of other exercises, one exercise isn't going to make all that much difference. :) Just please be sure it's not an exercise that's effective but way too risky, like behind the neck work or upright rows.

About #10 - more than 60 minutes of cardio - lots of good points! Obviously Lance Armstrong or someone who's training for a marathon is going to do more than 60 minutes of cardio a day and it's not harmful or ineffective for their purposes. I think the author of the article was focusing on cardio for fat loss and at an intensity of more than 70-80% of your max heart rate. At more than 60 minutes at that intensity, it's true that you may start burning muscle, which will sabotage your fat loss in the long run.

BUT ... if you're taking long walks or hikes, you're probably not working at that high of an intensity. There's no way that I can walk fast enough to get my heart rate nearly that high - at 4.0 MPH, I barely crack 108, so it's low intensity exercise for me. And low intensity cardio doesn't have the kind of muscle burning implications that higher intensity cardio may have. So enjoy your hikes and long walks - I don't think that's what the author is talking about in #10. ;)

Jayde 04-11-2006 04:24 PM

Thanks, Meg for explaining how the intensity of the cardio would be more than 70% of your max heart rate for the body to tap into muscle after 60 min of cardio. That makes a lot of sense.


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