5 Exercises That Are Actually Bad for You
Too much of a good thing...ain’t always good
You might think that the sheer act of lacing up your sneakers and moving in a way that makes your muscles burn and your brow sweat is inherently good for your body. As it turns out, though, not all exercises are created equal. Here, five to avoid (plus suggestions for alternatives, just because we love you).
The hip abductor machine
Not only is it the most awkward gym apparatus in the history of gym apparatuses, but this machine also can do more harm than good (as your inner and outer thighs were designed to support motion, not be the primary target of static pressure). Also, using these muscles while seated is a recipe for hip and lower back pain. Save yourself the pain and weird eye contact with strangers.
Instead try: Curtsy lunges. Standing with your feet hip distance apart, step one leg behind you at a diagonal and bend both knees to right angles, as if curtsying. Return to standing and repeat with the other leg.
This one’s a doozy. Some running enthusiasts say that their countless miles have strengthened their bones and joints (especially knees), while others say that it does quite the opposite, causing osteoarthritis or cartilage damage. We’d say the best bet here is to listen to your body (and your doctors). If you’re lucky enough to run without consequence, go for it, but if the track causes you pain and suffering you, heed your body and stay away.
Instead try: Spinning, swimming or rowing. Each of these activities is infinitely less high-impact than running but equally as heart-pumping. Your joints will thank you.
We get it--who doesn’t want toned, tank-top-ready arms? But tricep dips aren’t the way to achieve Michelle Obama-level limbs. This exercise puts both your shoulders and your elbows in jeopardy.
Instead try: Tricep extensions. Hold a weight of your choice overhead with both hands. Engaging your core and keeping your elbows pointed forward, lower the weight down your back and then lift up to starting position. The whole time, keep your arms glued to the sides of your head and be sure to maintain a solid posture.
The OG ab exercise, sit-ups are best left on 1980s workout tapes. They're one of the worst things you can do for your lower back and place completely unnecessary pressure on your neck. Not to mention--they're basically ineffective anyway.
Instead try: Plank variations (where you hold your core in place through a range of poses). They’re safer on your spine and actually engage much more of your midsection than sit-ups.
Too much of anything
According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers found that people who push their bodies too hard might undo the benefits of exercise. Yikes. Working out too much puts you at a greater risk for injury and makes it easier for you to hit a plateau in terms of progress.
Instead try: Giving your body a break every once in a while. Naps are awesome, y'all.