Daily Dose of Coach #257: Never do these exercises again?

When you read the subject line, you were probably intrigued as I was when I got an email with an article named, "7 Exercises You Should Never Do Again."

I always look at NEVER as a powerful word. And I was interested in what seven the author chose.

Reading through it, I agreed at some level with each of his thoughts. And some, if modified, and aren't done all the time won't kill you.

I was hoping to see kipping pull-ups and Olympic lifting, but I didn't. And as I've learned in spending some time watching and learning from CrossFitters, kipping pull-ups are just an erratic cousin of the pull-up. They don't have much in common except a vertical pulling movement of the body. And if done correctly and you have the mechanical ability to perform them, they are useful for getting your chest to the bar (if that's important to you).

I still don't believe any adults should do Olympic lifting for fitness. But that's a whole other subject.

Here are the seven exercises presented by the author:

  1. Sit-Ups (knees bent) and Crunches: This is becoming more common knowledge. Repeated flexion of the spine causes compression of spinal discs this can cause bulges and herniations. Think about bending and flexing a credit card over and over; eventually it breaks.
  2. Smith Machine Exercises: Instagram trainers love showing off their squats on smith machines, but it's dumb. The bar path has no freedom, meaning you have to adjust your body to the bar. Just do barbell or dumbbell squats. I agree with the author on this one; smith machines are only good for inverted rows and a pull-up bar for short people.
  3. Seated twist machine: I honestly think anyone who has ever got in this machine, gets out of it thinking "this is dumb." There is absolutely nothing natural about this movement, and it cranks your low back into rotational positions that are no bueno.
  4. Supermans: Just forget these ever existed.
  5.  Back Extensions: I don't mind this movement for the glutes and hamstrings. But that's called a glute ham raise. But hyperextending your back, especially with a plate in your hand is not a good idea.
  6. Upright Row: Barbell upright rows are tough on the shoulders. I have people do alternating dumbbell upright rows to free up the shoulder during the movement. It's not something I'd do every workout or with anyone with shoulder issues.
  7. Behind the neck lat pulldowns and pull-ups: I still see people doing these. They were popularized by the bodybuilders of the 80's. But that was like 40 years ago; we should know better by now to keep the bar in front of us to spare our shoulders.

Saying you should NEVER do these again is a bit of an exaggeration. There are always safer options and modifications. And for these exercises, safer options are a good idea.