5 exercises that are a waste of time

17 March 2015 by
First published: 25 March 2015

If you’re a busy person, you’ll want your workouts to be as efficient as possible. Avoid these 5 exercises that are a waste of time.

Even with a decent warm-up and cool-down, you can be in and out of the gym in under an hour – so there’s no time for pointless exercises! Check out Jamie Lloyd’s top offenders.

1. Loads of abdominal crunches

The goal of this exercise is to strengthen the mid-section and most people do them because they’re under the false assumption that doing them will give you a flat tummy – this is almost always not the case. Most people will also need to lose some belly fat in order to achieve this, so make sure you keep a close eye on your nutrition, too.

2. Bicep curls

You rarely ever pull anything with just your biceps. Most of the time, the larger and stronger muscles of your back are doing the majority of the work. The biceps just provide a little extra pump! In terms of performance, they don’t help much at all and in most cases, people use their backs to jerk the weight up.

3. Walking on a treadmill

This is not strictly a total waste of time but I don’t understand why people pay out for expensive gym memberships just to walk on a treadmill when they could do the same outside. The time passes twice as slowly, there’s no fresh air to breath – plus, it’s boring! Unless the weather is horrible you should be walking outside as close to nature as possible along a beach or a canal.

4. Smith machine squats

In theory this seems like a great idea: the fixed path of the machine allows you to move more weight and removes the need for a spotter as you can lock the bar at any point. Unfortunately the fixed path doesn’t allow for a natural plane of movement in the squat. This coupled with the fact that you’ll be tempted to use more weight than normal (because it feels easier) means that the smith machine is pretty terrible for your joints and carries a high risk of injury to the shoulders and lower back. Most people load the plates onto the bar and can’t even squat below 90 degrees – it doesn’t make sense!

5. Overly complicated combinations

If your main goal is fat loss, try some HIIT training. If it’s strength, do multi-joint exercises late afternoon when cortisol levels are at their lowest, and growth hormone levels are at their highest. Basically, there is no reason to try an overly complicated combination of moves – like a kettlebell swing on a BOSU, for example – just for the sake of it. You could get injured, then your training will be hindered in the long-term.