Time is precious, and even in our modern world of every possible convenience, none of us want to burn through our spare time. So, you budget your time to ensure you get a bit of living into the daily life. This might mean setting aside time for socializing, hobbies, your “side hustle” and more. If you are like most, you probably also try to find time for daily exercise.
You go to the gym regularly and use the different machines, circuits and exercises you see others doing. You are getting a great workout, right? Maybe not. There are actually a handful of exercises that most fitness experts would describe using expressions like “waste of time”. You probably want to know what they are, so you can cut them from the routine, and we will go over the worst offenders. However, we’ll also explain what to do instead of those flawed moves or routines as you still want to visit the gym and get a lot out of it.
- Spot reducing exercises – This would include the seated thigh machine, among others, and the reason that they are a waste of your precious time is that they don’t do anything to help you eliminate fat. All that they might achieve is to bulk up the muscle beneath the fat. Instead of this sort of routine, do moves that tone and strengthen the entire body. This could include lunges in all directions as they are very functional and actually train your whole body for movements you would do in the real world.
- Crunches – Did you just shout out “Yes! No more crunches!” This might make a lot of readers happy. As one researcher noted, “the crunch is less effective at stimulating muscle fiber than exercises that require the spine to stabilize”. Maybe you can see what that means? If not, think “plank”. This move may seem easier and less stressful than crunches, but it is actually very effective at activating the core, far more than crunches.
- Leg extension machines – There is flawed thinking about these machines and instead of building strength in the quads, they actually put an immense amount of strain on the knees during the lifting and straightening process. The answer, once again, is to think of real world movements like lunges and squats. They do more than improve the strength of the muscles that support the knees and actually help with hamstrings and glutes.
- Seated chess press – When you do something in a seated position it often allows the stronger side of the body to compensate the weaker one. This gets reinforced over time and prevents you from actually gaining in strength. Instead, do push-ups. While this may make those who were happy to hear about the end of crunches a bit glum, the simple fact is that a push-up favors neither side of the body and allows for development of equally strong muscles.
- The laying leg curl machines – Disengaging the core by laying down is a big “no-no” in exercise. It is similar to spot reduction machines because it only lets you activate one muscle. If movement in exercise is unlike anything in real life, it is not good for you. Instead of doing that, try a single leg deadlift. Not only does it activate the large muscles at the back of the body, but it actually gives real world strengthening and balance.
- Standing calf machine – By putting all of the weight on the shoulder area, it pushes everything into the back and not the calves. The best alternative to this waste of time exercise is to do a flat sprint. Yes, it is very tiring, but again it engages the entire body and activates a lot more muscle fiber. This develops your speed and strength. If you are not a runner, the next best thing are calf raises using only the body weight.
There you have some ways to avoid wasting time at the gym. Some of these exercises are easily done outside of the gym and can be a good way to inject bursts of movement into the day. Not only is this good for the body but can also boost metabolism and help you see bigger gains with improved workouts.