The 6 Worst Exercises To Avoid At All Costs

Here Are The 6 Worst Exercises To Avoid At All Costs

So imagine if you’re exercising, torturing yourself and it’s for nothing? You might think you’re doing something good, toning your body and working toward your dream weight… when in reality, all you are doing is hurting yourself (for no benefit).

The truth is, no one actually likes spending time in the gym. I mean, I’m sure some select few people do, but most of the time you have to be some kind of fitness fanatic who legitimately enjoys the time spent in the gym, in which case – teach me your secret ways.

But for most people, the gym is a tiring chore, and one you want to knock out as quickly and effectively as possible.

Which is why these exercises suck so much.

These exercises are time wasters in the gym – they’re going to take up your time and energy without giving you anything great in return.

To put it bluntly – they’re terrible and useless. And you honestly shouldn’t waste your time, energy and patience doing them. It’d make sense if you actually got some amazing benefit out of them, but you don’t.

MORE: Fitness Myths Vs. Facts

Without further ado, here are the 6 worst exercises of all time.

1. Behind The Head Lat Pulldowns

This exercise isn’t just bad – it can seriously injure you.

When you’re doing lat pulldowns, the bar should always stay in front of your shoulders. Keeping it behind your shoulders is an injury waiting to happen.

So if you want to avoid putting insane amounts of stress on your shoulder that leads to injury, avoid this exercise.

MORE: Exercise Videos For Every Body Part

What To Do Instead:

This one is simple – just pull the bar down in front of your shoulders rather than behind them. It hugely decreases injury risk while giving you a great exercise.

These aren’t the only bad exercises out there, check out the New Big Trend In Fitness That’s Not Healthy At All

2. Supermen

Supermen – when you raise your arms and legs up off the ground while lying on your stomach and arching your back – are horrible for you. Even Superman wouldn’t do them and he’s superman.

This exercise puts a terrible amount of stress and force onto your lower vertebrae, which could lead to debilitating and excruciating injury. Stay away.

What To Do Instead:

Try planking. Clench your abs and your glutes in the pushup position and hold the plank for as long as you can. This gives you an amazing core exercise without the terrible injury risk.

3. Machine Leg Extensions

OK, imagine with me for a moment:

How many times have you ever had to sit down and push something away from you with your legs?

None? I bet the answer is none.

So why would you practice at the gym?

This exercise doesn’t give you great return on investment, plus, it’s doing something the body is specifically designed not to do. Your knees aren’t supposed to take that much weight from that angle – it could cause injury.

It’s just not worth it.

What To Do Instead:

If you want to train your quads, you should start with squats, lunges, step-ups, or deadlifts. Those are all much better exercises for you that work WITH your body, instead of against it.

Want More Exercise Ideas? Try These 5 Super Effective Exercises In The Gym

4. Triceps Dips

So this exercise actually is good for your triceps – the problem is that it’s bad for literally everything else.

It overloads the small muscles in your shoulder’s rotator cuff, you know, the thing that all the baseball pitchers keep tearing?

That’s bad. You don’t want to tear your rotator cuff. It’s bad news.

MORE: How to Prevent Injuries During Exercise

When you lift your body weight with your upper arms behind your torso, you’re risking injury to your shoulders, which will cause a lot of pain from doing even normal, everyday things.

What To Do Instead:

Just keep your upper arms in front of your body when you’re doing triceps exercises. You can do triceps pushups, cable pushdowns, and close grip-bench presses instead.

And don’t forget to check out the Best Exercise for Toned Arms.

5. Smith Machine Squats

You might think that doing squats in a smith machine is safe. After all, it looks much safer than doing a regular squat, so shouldn’t it actually be much better for you?

No. Bad. It’s bad.

The Smith machine forces your back to stay straight and at a right angle with the ground, which causes all sorts of dangerous stress to your vertebrae.

Plus, since you have to lean back against the bar, it puts a ton of stress on your knees, another area you do not want to injure.

What To Do Instead:

Literally any other type of squat. Use your body weights or use dumbbells to add weight to your squats, because they’re an awesome exercise. Just don’t use the Smith machine.

You can also try our awesome Squat Challenge to get amazing toned legs in just 4 weeks!

6. Exercise That Is Painful

I know you’re supposed to try to work through discomfort at the gym and push your limits, but there’s a difference between discomfort and pain.

If you’re doing an exercise that causes you real pain, your body is trying to tell you “Please, please STOP!”

Remember this key difference – regular gym discomfort is going to feel like burning, or aching muscles. Pain is going to be sudden, and it’s going to feel sharp. If you feel it, stop!

In summary…

The Worst Exercises To Avoid

  1. Behind the head lat pulldowns
  2. Supermen
  3. Machine leg extensions
  4. Triceps dips
  5. Smith machine squats
  6. Exercise that is painful

worst exercises to avoids

27 comments… add one
  • J. Kohls June 7, 2015, 11:24 am

    This is a great list. I never really even thought about the pressure that is going to be on the back when doing some of these.

  • T. Brightner June 7, 2015, 10:45 am

    The only reason I would skip any exercise is if there is higher risk of being hurt doing it. I think with the proper training, any exercise is a benefit. I agree with others here as well.

  • RunnerAnne June 7, 2015, 10:27 am

    Safety is number one. There is no reason to overwork yourself and get hurt. If you really hurt yourself, how are you going to be able to workout after that?

  • G. Itchman June 3, 2015, 11:30 am

    I never really thought about the pressure an exercise might put on my back, even without weights involved. Great information and could save an injury.

  • Ashley P. June 2, 2015, 10:54 am

    I really hate to leave out an exercise, but I can see how these might be very hurtful if they are done incorrectly. The last thing that you want to do is hurt yourself exercising and giving you a reason to stop working out, right?

  • Kim Jensama June 2, 2015, 10:39 am

    If you can find your happy place while at the gym, it is a great thing to do. You can work off some steam, build some great muscles and feel good about your body :)

  • Rebecca Smithen June 1, 2015, 11:44 am

    Well, I hate to cut exercises out, but I can understand the reasons here. Any time that you are adding stress to your body, it is NOT good. A workout IS work, but you should not be stressing body parts more than they are intended, right?

  • K. Jimms June 1, 2015, 11:28 am

    I have always heard that you can injured if you are not careful exercising, but I never really thought about things like what you talk about here. I am going to be more careful moving forward with my workouts.

  • Kingley May 24, 2015, 11:27 am

    Man! Tricep dips are bad? My trainer has me doing those in order to build some more tone into my arm muscles. I am going to have to question him on that.

  • Val Campbell May 24, 2015, 11:12 am

    I think that as long as you are working out, you are getting the benefits. I understand that during a major workout, you want to do the right thing all of the time to avoid injury, but that is not the case for all the workouts you do, right?

  • Koral May 24, 2015, 10:56 am

    I tend to do just the exercises that I know well. I do not want to injure myself working out. When I workout, however, I do the first one that is listed here. Does this mean I should stop doing it and move on to something else?

    • Conney June 3, 2015, 11:44 am

      Maybe if you consult a trainer to make sure you are doing them the right way, you can continue them. But honestly, there are so many workouts that you can do, why can’t you toss one or two out once in a while?

  • Jeffery Skittles May 24, 2015, 10:37 am

    Avoid them if you want, but I feel like they are beneficial when they are done the right way. Make sure that you consult a trainer if you are not sure and get the technique down before you start doing more and more reps.

  • N. Neeme May 24, 2015, 10:19 am

    I always heard that if you are going to do a major workout that you should be taking breaks throughout the week. If you follow that routine, is there still a chance that you might be injured doing these types of workouts?

    • Brenda Kempman June 7, 2015, 11:10 am

      Of course there is always that chance. That is why it is important to pay attention to what you are doing and try not to get distracted.

  • G. Christian May 24, 2015, 10:05 am

    I hate to tell people to avoid exercises, especially if they really want to do them. Instead, I help them learn how to do them properly and that way they can avoid injury that way.

  • GymRay May 24, 2015, 9:49 am

    If you are going to do anything that hurts while you are doing it, I would recommend that you leave that part of the workout out of your routine for a week or two. There is no point of rushing the workout when you are hurt. I agree that you could avoid these exercises and injury at the same time.

  • Krushed May 22, 2015, 9:36 pm

    I am not sure that I would have to avoid these, but you should really work on your technique. Doing any exercise where you can get the best results, even if they are tough to do, is going to be better for you when doing it the right way.

  • Jensonsgym May 22, 2015, 6:42 pm

    For the most part, when I run it can be such a great workout, but at the end of the day, that is what makes me the most sore. These are good tips, but don’t you think that it has more to do with technique.

  • WorkoutMeat8 May 21, 2015, 10:44 pm

    I am not sure that I agree, however, I can see if these exercises are done incorrectly they can cause injury. From my experience, the injured person is trying to do what they can, but using the wrong technique.

  • J. Gruble May 18, 2015, 10:50 am

    It is things like this that scare me into keeping it simple. Just the wrong tweak and you can really mess up your back. I guess it would come down to the amount of weight you have on your back as well.

  • G. Hill May 18, 2015, 10:28 am

    I never really thought about leg presses like you mentioned. That is a great point and even when I did do them, it seemed like my back was more sore for no reason. Not worth the possible injury.

  • J. Weber May 18, 2015, 10:11 am

    When it comes to working out, it would be nice to know if there were exercises that can easily injure you. Thank you for pointing them out and adding the others that you can replace them with. Great post!

  • Heaven Preston May 18, 2015, 9:36 am

    Great tips! I would hate to get injured by doing an exercise incorrectly. Thank you for sharing the better option with us.

  • Adam Schuler May 18, 2015, 9:19 am

    I hate to avoid an exercise, but you are making great points. I just figured that if my technique was right, the benefit would be there. I am going to switch it up a little based on what you have here.

    • Yang July 2, 2015, 1:03 am

      Eat health, cmusnoe more vegetables and protein foods. You can get two bags, fill with sand and you have two dumbbells ready to work out. Push ups on the floor, 3 sets of 10 reps.Sit ups on the bed, 3 sets, 25 reps. Start slow do what you can without pain. It may take a few weeks for your body to accustom to weight exercise. Most exercise will be 3 sets of 10 reps. Stay away from sugar foods, sugar drinks, and fast foods for three weeks. Set small goals, week by week. The can be as little as lose half kilo each week. Three weeks = one and half kilo. Keep at it, you can do it.

  • Carol May 18, 2015, 9:02 am

    I never really thought that a specific exercise was bad for me, just that your technique might be bad. Great tips, thanks for sharing these!

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