Let’s be honest, for many of us, working out is kind of a chore that we can’t wait to get over and done with.

We do it because we know it’s good for us and in conjunction with tracking macros, exercise helps move us closer to our larger goal.

With that in mind, it’s important to make sure that when we’re in the gym or training at home, every single moment counts!

There are many exercises that are actually a complete waste of time that you might not even realize.

We’ve compiled a list of 5 exercises you should totally avoid, and what to do instead.

1. Sit-ups/Crunches

Sit-ups/Crunches are one of the worst core-focused exercises ever created. They exert strain on your back with every rep and are hugely inefficient at working out your abs.

Crunches are not a functional movement of the human body. If you’ve been doing crunches every week and wondering why you don’t have a 6 pack of abs (but you sure do have a sore back and neck), it’s time to say goodbye.

Instead, try a plank. This is a core-building exercise that not only strengthens your abdominals but gives your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles a workout too. This translates across to improved press-ups and other shoulder movements too.

2. Behind the neck pulldown

photo of woman performing lat pulldown

How this ever came to be a thing, we’ll never know. People wrongly assume they’ll get a better activation of the lat muscles but in actual fact, you can do some real damage.

Performing a lat pulldown behind your head is terrible for 3 main reasons:

  • It gives a far more limited workout than the correct method
  • Your shoulders are forced in an unnatural, externally rotated position
  • Your neck is craned forward

Instead, perform the lat pulldown in the correct form with the bar in front of you. You’ll receive all of the gain and none of the pain!

3. Bench Dips

This is a classic tricep toning go-to, but it’s actually incredibly unsafe. This move puts your shoulders in an unnatural position and most of us don’t have the flexibility and range of motion to perform this safely.

Choose overhead presses with dumbbells instead.

4. Smith Machine Squats

woman lifting barbell

The Smith Machine was created as a “safer” alternative to free weights because the barbell is fixed in place. However, this fixed position can be even more damaging as it forces your body into unnatural positions.

When you lower into a weighted squat with the smith machine, your back stays straight and almost perfectly perpendicular to the ground, which compresses and stresses the vertebrae.

It also removes the need to stabilize yourself which is an important part of weight training.

Instead, use free weight to perform any exercises you normally would with the Smith Machine.

5. Adductor and Abductor Machines

Your adductor and abductor muscles are accessory muscles. AKA, they’re smaller and support the larger leg muscles. Using the adductor and abductor machine to target them not only means you can actually strain them when they’re worked outside of a compound movement, but it’s a generally inefficient way to train when there are other moves that will work multiple muscles at once.

Side lunges and squats are a better alternative for training your adductor and abductor muscles. A squat performed with proper form engages more muscles and is a functional movement, meaning it’ll better prepare your muscles for real-life challenges, like walking up the stairs and picking things up.

So, which of these exercises will you be ditching from your routine?

Have you tried any of these? Let us know in the comments!

Also, don’t forget that your IIFYM Meal Plan comes with a workout program designed specifically for YOU so any and all movements you do and don’t want to include will be taken into account.