4 Exercises a Professional Trainer Would Never Do

woman doing situps in a field

While we know the difference between a push-up and a pull-up, we’re definitely not pros when it comes to working out. So we checked in with Will Torres, a movement coach and founder of New York City’s Will Space, for four exercises he avoids at all costs.

1. Lower-body exercises while holding onto straps. 

“Any tool that is used [in working out] should help the mover become better at the movement,” Torres tells us. “You should be able to take the ‘training wheels’ off and still do the movement.” Holding onto something while doing squats or lunges won’t help you in the long run, since you’re using them less as a guide than a crutch. “When you hold the straps and perform squats or lunges, you’re relying on the strap to keep you from falling back," he says. "If we were to take the strap away, you haven’t become a better squatter because the strap doesn’t help mimic the correct movement pattern.” 

2. Machines—in general.

Considering his commitment to functional movement, it’s not shocking that Torres stays away from machines. “One of the things my team and I look for when selecting a movement is if there is carryover to other domains,” he told us. “In most instances, if there’s no carry over, we tend to stay away from this apparatus.” Instead, stick to bodyweight exercises, which Torres says are more effective, since they mimic things your body actually does.

3. Squats or deadlifts using a BOSU ball.

A BOSU ball, for those unfamiliar, is that thing at the gym that looks like half of a yoga ball with a plastic surface on one side. The issue, Torres says, is that they’re hard to use safely and without a ton of practice. “This is one movement that looks cool, but the yield is not worth the investment in time [to complete the movements safely].”

4. Ab exercises.

OK, so Torres isn’t suggesting you neglect your abs entirely, he just wants you to reconsider the way you’re working your core. “The core includes the abdominals, but also the obliques and the lower back muscles. People spend too much time dedicated to the front of the core, while neglecting the other areas.” 

The Best Exercises for a Bad Back

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...