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Least Effective Exercises Revealed: Part One

A little while back we went through the seven most effective exercises from WebMD, and so I thought it would be interesting to counter it with their least effective exercises.

Here are highlights:

  • Lat pull-down behind the head. This exercise is done sitting on a machine with a weighted, cabled bar overhead. You reach for the bar, then pull it down behind your head and neck. Only people with very mobile shoulder joints can keep their spines straight enough to do this exercise properly.
  • Military press behind the head. In this exercise, you lift the weights or barbell starting from behind the head at shoulder level, and press up and down behind the head. It can cause the same problems the behind-the-head lat pull does and should be avoided, says Warpeha. It's also wiser to choose an exercise that targets several muscle groups at once, rather than putting all the strain on the shoulders.

There are more you may be doing so


  • Upright row. Pulling weights, a barbell, or a weighted cabled bar up under your chin is a big no-no, says Saremi, a podiatrist and editorial staff member of the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America's American Fitness magazine. "When people pull their hands (carrying the weight) up to their chin, they are going to compress the nerves in the shoulder area, impinging the shoulder," Saremi says.
  • Lying leg press with knees bent too deeply. Lying on your back with your feet on a weighted plate, you push the plate up and bring it down, with the aim of working the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. The problem with this exercise comes when you bend your legs too far. Your spine cannot maintain proper alignment when your legs come back too far, so the pelvis tilts and the lower back begins to take over. And the weight used is usually heavy enough to injure the back, causing strain to muscles or damage to disks. In addition, says exercise physiologist and fitness consultant, Joseph Warpeha, bending your knees too deeply can injure or damage your knees.

Luckily I don't do any of these. What about you guys?


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