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You are here: Home Gentle Press 5 Weight Room Exercises You Should Ditch!

5 Weight Room Exercises You Should Ditch!

CanThere are more exercises available today than ever before.  Where 20 years ago we did basic exercises using a set of barbells and a bench, today we have choices:  dumbells, the bosu ball, the swiss ball, kettle bells, ropes, suspension training, etc.  Isn't it time then that we trimmed the fat from our exercise repertoire?

Here are 5 exercises that you might as well scrap and replace with something else.

Ditch This:  Shoulder Press:  This is a staple in the exercise world, but it has a couple of design flaws.  If you are sitting there is more pressure on the lumbar spine, and the weight you are lifting makes you more vulnerable.  It also requires you to fully twist your arm in external rotation and move it around, which can put strain on your shoulder muscles in a bad way.

Replace it with:  Standing lateral raise with a cable machine or exercise bands.  This allows you to sweep your shoulder through a larger range of motion with even resistance, allows you to stabilize your torso, and is in a friendlier standing position.



Ditch This: Upright rows The guy in this video explains it very well.  Like the military press, this forces you to twist your shoulder all the way (in the other direction) and move it around while bearing weight.  This is really dangerous if you have even a minor shoulder problem.         

Replace it with:  In addition to the cable raises (above), do bicep concentration curls and the dumbell rows (below).


Ditch This:  Seated leg curls:  this is a machine that exercises your hamstrings while in the seated position.  You start with your knees straight, and bend your knees into a resistance bar:  the problem is that you are sitting on the muscle you are exercising, and this can create scar tissue at the junction between the glute and the hamstring.

 Replace it with:  Swiss ball leg curls.  Start on the floor with your feet on the Swiss ball.  Curl your legs in while keeping the hip straight (like a plank) allowing the hips and torso to move up to the ceiling.  To make it harder, try one leg at a time.  If that is all too complicated, just use a leg curl machine where you lie on your stomach.  

Ditch This: Bent over rows:  you see these a lot in exercise classes because it is convenient.  In reality, it is hard on your low back...for no reason.  I link to a video where it is done with excellent technique, but still, the range of motion in this exercise is too short to make it useful.       

Replace it with: Unilateral dumbbell rows using a bench.  Perform with your elbows out at 90 degrees (not by your side) to exercise the muscles between your shoulders.  Do them one side at a time so you can move your shoulder in a more full range, and so you can support yourself with the other arm.  

Ditch This:  Barbell Squats :  Ugh, I hate to let this one go, since I love doing them, but applying weight to my spine just to exercise my legs and butt is a little bit unnecessary.  The movement also tends to create flexion in the lumbar spine, making you prone to injury, unless you have perfect technique (and statistically speaking, you probably don't).

Replace it with: Dumbbell Lunges.  A lunge is basically a one legged squat.  It exercises the same leg muscles as the squat, and with less than half the weight on your spine.  It also improves the flexibility of the pelvis. If you want to push some serious weight, try a leg press as well.  


Ideally you should have a professional trainer design your program for you, and in some cases they may prescribe these "ditched" exercises, and thats ok!  If you are exercising on your own, consider my recommendations to preserve your health while you gain strength.