More exercises I don’t do with clients and what to do instead
Exercise #4 That I Don’t Do…
Barbell Squats are not the only barbell exercise that I refuse to do. I’m also not a fan of barbell bench press.
barbell bench press is really like the exercise that everyone starts at when they start with fitness. Especially if you’re a dude, everybody starts with the benchpress. And that sucks, because it’s not a good exercise. I don’t like the barbell bench press because of the position that puts your shoulder in. Now you can test this out if you stand up right now and shake your arms a little bit to relax, shake out the arms, relax the arms a little bit, and then lift your arms up in front of your body so that they’re even with your chest. And if you’re relaxed, if you’re really relaxed, when you do this, you’ll probably find that your hands not flat, your thumb probably comes up a little bit higher than your pinky does. Your thumb comes up a little higher than your pinky finger.
That means your wrist is slightly twisted your wrist is slightly rotated and that’s your natural comfortable position on your shoulder. However, with a barbell bench, the barbell is a straight line. So you have to rotate your shoulders out of its natural position. And then from that compromised position from that non anatomical position. We put 100 200 pounds extra on top of it. We put a lot of weight on your shoulders in a compromised position. And I think ultimately, that’s an unwise decision.
Instead of jacking up the shoulders by doing a barbell bench, the alternative that I recommend is gonna be a dumbbell bench press
The dumbbell has a couple advantages over the barbell. Yes, you’re not going to be able to lift as much weight because the barbell is a lot more stable. But with the dumbbell, you get a couple advantages.
One, like I mentioned, you can adjust the wrist angle a lot better with the dumbbells, right? Remember, the barbell locks you into that straight line. Usually, when I have clients doing dumbbell bench press, I recommend that they have their wrist angled in almost an A shape. So there’s a natural position on that shoulder. Your hands also have more freedom of movement at the top of the exercise, your hands and your wrist are going to be pretty close together. And then if you’re able to keep the forearms perpendicular to the ground, what you’re going to end up doing is as you go down, your wrists are going to come apart apart a little bit, that’s going to allow your your shoulder to stay in a very neutral position throughout the entire motion.
With the barbell bench press, what ends up happening is you get a lot of shearing force, because you can’t move your shoulders in the right position as you go through, you’re going to cause a lot of shear, it’s going to cause some stress on the joint. And overall I don’t think that’s a good idea. I don’t think it’s worth wild. And so the barbell bench, super common, super overrated.
Exercise #5 That I don’t Do….
Another exercise that I’ve seen kind of growing in popularity lately, is what’s called a GHD situp or glute ham developer situp.
^^^ Fucking Stupid…
This is really popular in a particular fitness competition. It’s is a difficult ab exercise, and it’s a large range of motion. And the reason why I hate this exercise is not that it’s a really fast motion on your spine, although that’s a really bad idea overall. But it’s actually the positioning of your legs.
You see with the glute ham developer with the GHD, your legs are in a very extended straight leg position. And that’s gonna stretch your hamstrings to its most during this exercise, your hamstrings are going to be tugged on and stretched the most that they can during this exercise. And that’s going to compromise the stability of the low back.
A lot of low back injuries occur in the home, not necessarily picking up an object. But a lot of low back injuries happen when people are moving their curtains reaching over their couch with their legs straight, their hamstring stretched, and then you stretch the low back and there’s no slack in the chain left. In fact, deep in the blog, I have an article I will post it in the show notes. But it talks about strength training strategies for low back health.
And in that article, we talk about the posterior chain. The reality is the muscles in the back of your body, they all work together to extend the body. And when one of those muscles loses any slack, the rest of the muscles have to pick up the slack. And when you extend in the in the straight leg position on a GHD setup, your hamstrings have no slack to offer the low back. So when you move quickly, you’re putting your low back at risk of slipping and sliding and possibly having a herniated disk. It’s a it’s a lot of risk with that straight leg. And I think that’s an unnecessary, there’s a couple alternatives that I recommend.
First, if you can position the legs in a bent leg position and you have enough strength to do a large range of motion setup, then that’s the first adjustment I would make is just to ensure that your knees are bent so that you’re not doing a straight leg setup. But that’s a tough adjustment to make, the better adjustment to make. What I usually have people do is I’ll just have a traditional situp or crunch motion, where we’re controlling the positioning of the low back preventing hyperextension in the lumbar spine.
My favorite demonstration of this is probably a jackknife setup.
And I’ll put a link and I’ll put a video demonstration again on the blog. So you can see what that looks like. It’s a smaller range of motion, we’re going the opposite direction of the GHD setup. But what it does is it puts you in a position where it’s incredibly difficult to put the lowback at risk.
It’s a smaller range of motion, so you’re not going to be twisting the spine very much. And it’s going to be really targeting those ads in a much more effective indirect way than a very fast spazzy movement.
Exercise #6 That I Don’t Do…
And in the same competitions, there’s another really popular exercise that I don’t think anybody should ever do. And that’s going to be the overhead kettlebell swing
An overhead kettlebell swing is a kettlebell swing, where you take the weight from behind your body through your legs up and over your head, so that your arms are even with your ears. This is a really common exercise to see in competition. Because with that ear, an arm standard, it’s easy to see what a complete rep is, and what an incomplete rep is, when you’re scoring and counting reps in the competition, it’s an effective way to prevent people from cheating.
Unfortunately, it’s a very bad idea for training, it’s an awful idea for training because it puts your shoulder into a subluxed, compromised position. Subluxed just means that the shoulder came a little bit out of the joint to allow for more range of motion. With an effective kettlebell swing, your shoulders should be packed, they should be pulled back and down. And they should be fairly tight. In a strong, stable packed position, the shoulder really shouldn’t be able to allow movement that lets your hand go above your chin.
If your hand can go above your chin, that means that you have to relax the shoulder a little bit, put it into a compromised position. And then that puts up some different risks. Without getting into a lot of the physics or biomechanics. A kettlebell swing has the most torsion the most stress on the shoulder joint. When it’s about shoulder level, when it’s furthest away from the body, the moment arm is largest, the torque is greatest. And that’s the same place in which you need to compromise the shoulder stability.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to loosen up your shoulders and to create more joint instability in the same position of an exercise where it’s at the greatest force on the shoulder, the shoulder is an amazing joint can do incredible range of motions. But structurally, it’s not very sound. There’s a lot of sacrifice of structural integrity to get you that mobility. And throwing weight on top of that instability is just really unwise.
So instead of this, what I usually recommend people do is just to do a hardstyle kettlebell swing,
a hardstyle kettlebell swing, the kettlebell is never gonna go above your shoulders, it’s never going to get to a position where you need to compromise your shoulder integrity. You know, as I look at this list, I’m seeing that shoulders come up quite a bit, and shoulders are going to come up again on this next exercise.
Exercise #7 That I Don’t Do…
Again, we can compromise a lot of joints stability and integrity to get mobility to get more range of motion. And to do this next exercise exercise number seven, the bench dip.
The bench dip requires you to go through a lot of range of motion to reach your hands behind your body. And then you put a lot of body weight on that joint in a compromised, rotated, compressed position. And you’re putting a lot of weight on that and just rubbing into the connective tissues in the joint.
Bench dips are super common their body weight, they’re very user friendly. They’re very accessible, you can do them in so many locations, but they cause a lot of damage to the shoulder. And just because they’re easy and convenient to do. I don’t think that makes them a good idea to do them. What I recommend instead of bench dips, if you’re looking to work on your triceps, doing a tricep push up or kind of like a yoga style, vinyasa, push up where your elbows are tight to the body, that puts a little bit more force on the triceps than the chest or shoulders when you’re doing a push up.
Doing a tricep push up is a simple bodyweight alternative to the bench tip. I’m also okay with people doing parallel bar dips. But you have to be very intentional about that movement so that you’re not just dropping into the joint. Most people drop into the joint on parallel bar dips. So ultimately, I’d recommend just either the, the tricep push ups, or a cable tricep exercise instead.
Exercise #8 That I don’t do….
All right, we’re done with the shoulders. Now we’re gonna get into the knees and maybe even the shins. Another really popular tough exercise that looks really cool. Looks really productive. feels hard, feels like you’re doing a lot. But you probably shouldn’t be doing is box jumps, especially box jumps for repetition.
This is something that we see people do often they’re jumping up on a box and jumping down. And when you’re doing this for kind of a cardio move where you’re testing endurance where you’re testing stamina, you create a lot of We have a lot of danger, there’s a great amount of impact on the knees a great amount of impact on that fast motion where you’re going up and down.
But you’re also putting a risk of missing, as you fatigue, you’re going to lose some jumping power, it’s going to get harder and harder to get safely on top of that box. And I’ve seen far too many times, people get tired, and then they miss the box.
And what ends up happening is, best case scenario is you scrape your shin, and you’ve got a massive bloody shin and a scar that lasts for the rest of your life. But worst case scenario, is you twist a knee, you fall in hit your chin, you chip a tooth, I’ve seen someone knock a tooth out on a missed box jump before in the gym. It’s just not necessary, it’s a lot of risk. And you’re not getting a lot from that exercise.
If you’re looking for a jumping exercise to test your endurance to test your stamina, a better option is simply just doing the old school jump rope. Right, a jump rope is going to test your coordination, it’s going to test your endurance, it’s going to test your stamina, it’s going to work on your jumping power. But it’s not going to put you at risk of injuring yourself on a box. Worst case scenario is you smack yourself with a rope in the shin and you say out for two seconds.
Another alternative for Box Jumps if you’re trying to work on that explosive jump potential if you’re trying to work on that plyometric strength. And that explosive pop, doing a simple broad jump is a much better, much safer option. And it develops that power in that force development just as effectively, if not even more, because now you’re landing with a little bit more force. So you’re having to get a little bit more of what we call the amortization phase.
It’s, it’s just a much smarter option, it takes a little bit more space, because you’re doing a broad jump over distance. But you’re never going to hurt yourself on it like you will with a box jump.
Exercise(s) #9 That I Don’t Do…
And then finally, the last exercise that I’ve seen growing popularity lately that I think is just dumb and people shouldn’t do is the Olympic lifts. Now I’m cheating because this includes three lifts, it’s the clean, the jerk and the snatch. But these are really popular, especially in more athletic and fitness competitions. They’re really popular and the really common. The problem with Olympic lifts, is they are so vastly incredibly technical. A Olympic weightlifters people that compete on the Olympic levels will focus on these three exercises four hours a day, and it will take them years to feel like they can master it or do it comfortably. It is a very technical, very difficult exercise to perform safely. And with proficiency. What unfortunately happens when we put this into the fitness realm is people who do the exercise incorrectly run the risk of injury, and they’re just not getting as much out of the exercise. Right? So instead of a Olympic lifts, what I usually recommend instead is if you’re looking for that type of power development, that that strength there is to do a traditional deadlift, a traditional deadlift is going to work the same muscles as a clean, and a lot of the same muscles as a snatch in different ways. But it’s really easy to get there. And if you’re looking for a big strength exercise, you can load up a deadlift pretty easily. And not really take a lot of time to figure out the exercise and, and kind of master it or do it to a high level of proficiency. It’s not as complex, it’s not as fast, it’s not as risky. Another power exercise, if you are looking for the power would be medicine, ball slams, that would be a great way to kind of get some explosive power. And you can do that for repetitions with a lot less effort on your central nervous system. Right? So ultimately, Olympic lifts, not something I’m going to recommend they’re just way too technical, takes way too much time to master it. And when you’re just looking to exercise for fitness and for health, you don’t need to become an expert on one or two exercises that take people years to figure out. It’s just a lot of wasted effort and learning time when you can just get to work with simpler exercises and get the same benefits. So ultimately, nine exercises that I don’t do and what I do instead,
I don’t do burpees I don’t do upright rows. I don’t do barbell squats, barbell bench. The GHD setups, I don’t do overhead kettlebell swings. I don’t do bench dips. I’ll never do box jumps, and I don’t do a Olympic lifts. And if you see people in the gym doing these things, maybe share this podcast with them, maybe explain why that exercise isn’t good. And if you’ve been doing this exercise, I challenge you. Why are you doing that exercise? And is it actually a good idea for you? I know these are super common super common exercises.
But you know, the central theme of the Health REBELs oath is to break free from common standards. We want to do things that are effective for our health in our vitality, that serve our body. We don’t need to do what everyone else does just for the sake of doing what everyone else does. So that’s one of the ways that you can break free from common standards. And until I see again for another episode of the Health REBELs podcast, you know what to do REBEL, keep the oath. I hope that episode helps give you some steps you can take to break free from common standards so that you can live a happier, healthier life. I’d love to continue to support you on that path to redefining healthy living. So I want to invite you to join my free Facebook group, the Health REBELs community. There we post daily content to redefine what healthy living means by following the holistic wheel and the REBEL of you’ll also get community support with like minded Health REBELs. If you’re not already a member, search for the Health REBELs community on Facebook or go to facebook.com/groups/health REBELs. I look forward to seeing you in there REBEL