Okay, let’s make one thing clear. One third of Americans are obese and more than two thirds have never even heard of SoulCycle. Basically, if you’re exercising, you’re already doing something right. Getting to the gym is actually the hardest thing in the world, and so even if you’re literally walking on a broken treadmill, you can congratulate yourself on beating the odds. With that being said, there is so much bullshit information out there, whether you’re getting ideas from online workout plans or health magazines with Khloe Kardashian on the cover. If you’re in the gym for like, 30 minutes, you want to maximize the amount of time you’re there, so you should know if your go-to workout moves are wasting your time. Here are six popular exercises that you should skip:
This is probably a shock, but it’s true- your 100 bodyweight crunches are totally wasting your time. There are so many good ab workouts you can be doing, and crunches are probably the worst. First of all, when you do a crunch, you’re lifting your shoulders off the ground and flexing the top part of your abdomen, without getting your obliques or bottom parts of your abs involved. This could create a muscle imbalance and even cause you to hurt your back in the long run. Doing moves like planks or leg raises, where your whole core is engaged, will give you more bang for your buck because you’ll be using your entire core in every movement, not just the top half.
2. Donkey Kicks
There’s nothing necessarily bad about donkey kicks,but if you’re short on time, this isn’t the best move you should be doing. Donkey kicks are supposed to tone your butt while getting your heart rate up, but there are better moves that do these two things more effectively. Exercises like squat jumps and jumping lunges, for example, work your legs while burning calories, and they’re much more effective than donkey kicks. I mean, there’s a reason you can do like, 80 donkey kicks but only 12 squat jumps. They’re harder but they’re so much better for your body.
3. Fast Bicycle Crunches
The bicycle crunch is an amazing ab burner, but a lot of fitness classes and online workouts tell you to do them fast, and you just end up screwing up your form and missing the point of the exercise. The idea behind the bicycle crunch is to twist your entire torso to one side, eventually touching your elbow to your opposite knee while engaging your obliques. By doing them fast, you completely skip the core engagement and you end up just kicking your legs around. Slow these down or skip them completely so you can stop kidding yourself.
4. Butt Kicks
Butt kicks are similar to donkey kicks. There’s nothing wrong with them, but there are so many moves that hit the same muscle groups in a stronger way. By kicking your heels toward your butt, you’re technically getting a lower body cardio workout, but there are several moves that are even stronger cardio, and get your whole body involved in the movement. For example, squat thrusts and burpees are both movements where you’ll burn calories while toning the upper and lower parts of your body. Don’t believe me? Try doing 30 seconds of butt kicks and then 30 seconds of burpees and tell me which one felt like a better workout.
5. Elliptical Machine
The elliptical is honestly so fucking sad, and the fact that so many girls just go to the gym to prance around on that machine is pathetic. But then again, they probably don’t know better so we’re not gonna call them out. The elliptical is basically an easier version of other cardio equipment at the gym. People like it because it’s easier on your knees than the treadmill, but if you’re really trying to burn calories in a short amount of time, there are so many other machines that are so much more useful. For example, the rowing machine and the Stairmaster probably burn like, twice as many calories as the elliptical does, and they activate more muscles in your body. It might seem scary to try out machines you’re not used to, but if you can get a better workout in a shorter amount of time, it’s worth it. Step away from the elliptical.
6. Tuck Jumps
Tuck jumps are included in a lot of HIIT workouts because they blast calories super fast and make you like, really exhausted after only a few jumps. While we’re not arguing against tuck jumps being an effective workout, they’re super tough on your joints, so you could end up with a major knee injury. I mean, think about it. The idea behind the move is to jump your knees up to chest height and then hit your feet down on the floor. It’s just a lot of pressure on your knees and it’s not worth the joint pain you’ll end up dealing with. Try doing other HIIT moves like skaters, burpees, or mountain climbers. They’re just as effective and they’re so much easier on your joints. Like, no workout is worth legit hurting yourself. Being too sore to sit down the next day is bad enough.