You're a busy person, right? You want your time at the gym to be well spent, not wasted on exercises that won't get you anywhere in terms of fitness or strength. Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation out there, and that's resulted in many of us using precious gym time doing things that are either totally useless or not as result-spurring as other options. Read on to find out which five overrated exercises you can cut from your gym routine.
Abdominal and Side Plank-
These core-focused exercises certainly have their uses for beginners: abdominal and side planks help strengthen core muscles and improve overall stability.
But because these are static bodyweight exercise (as in, you're holding one position rather than flexing and unflexing your muscles), they quickly lose their potency once you reach a certain strength level, and then you're pretty much just hanging out.
If you can already hold the plank for 30-60 seconds and you're not looking to set a Guinness world record then try switching to exercises that challenge your stability dynamically, like a set of push-ups or more difficult variations of the plank.
Ultimately, once you can hold the plank or any other variation for 60 seconds or more it's time to change. Continuously doing the plank over and over again will only slow down your progress.
Challenge your body's ability to maintain a stable core while moving in a controlled manner and you will not only be able to improve faster but you'll also help prevent injuries in the long run.
Lie on your back with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle in the air with a rolled-up towel between your knees. Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your head. Bring your lower and upper body in toward each other and crunch. Be sure you're pulling in your abs. Complete as many as you can in one minute.
The Rolling Pike-
"The rolling pike is another great abdominal exercise because it works your central abs, as well as your shoulders, and your glutes," says Sean.
For this exercise, all you'll need is an exercise ball. Start in a plank position with the ball under your thighs, with your hands directly under your shoulders.
Lift your hips, and roll back under your shins without bending your knees. Hold in this position for a few seconds, then slowly return to your starting position. Do this exercise for about 6-8 reps. (This is exercise is bit more difficult to perform. If you think you may hurt yourself, use caution, or consult with your physician.)
Note that in our dynamic exercise suggestion we did not mention crunches. While many people think that doing a hundred crunches a day will get them rock solid abs, it simply isn't the case. Crunches only target one small abdominal muscle group, and can also place an undue amount of strain on the back and neck.
Think about adding some balance ball exercises to your routine instead, which tend to offer more variation and require more muscle action to stabilize your body with each movement.