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Popular exercises from the past that should be laid to rest

We have all seen those weird old-school machines at the gym and people working out that those machines and we wonder, how is that movement even useful? Some of the exercises people do are so outdated and retro that most personal trainers and fitness buffs stay far away from them. We’ve put together a list of old-school workouts and exercises that the modern personal trainers would never recommend to their clients.

Bicep curlsBicep curls have very little effectiveness as an overall arm workout

1. Abdominal crunches

You will never see a good personal trainer doing crunches. Crunches gained popularity decades ago and while they are one of the oblique exercises that have widespread familiarity, most trainers avoid adding this workout to their routines. The reason is that it is difficult to get the form right for this exercise and that ends up putting unnecessary stress on your back. Many people who do crunches, end up doing them wrong and end up developing a bigger belly than when they started.

2. Abductor machines

If you don’t know what these are, they are the weird looking machines that look like a dentist’s chair with straps. Also known as adductor machines, this machine is meant to tone your hips and thighs. However, after years of trying to figure out whether these exercise machines do anything, it has been assessed that they really don’t produce any great results.

3. Bicep Curls

Doing bicep curls is another outdated retro workout move, so it is best that we give it a rest. While curls definitely can help you sculpt your arms, they have very little effectiveness as an overall arm workout. Proper pushup forms, doing rows and other weighted exercises have far superior results than simple bicep curls. 

4. Strictly cardio workouts

Workouts that rely on you specifically doing cardio are a thing of the past. No self-respecting trainer will ask you to run on the treadmill and call it a day. It is common knowledge that a mixed workout that uses both cardio and weight training, in addition to a healthy diet is the best technique to lose weight and sculpt your body. A good trainer will advise a workout plan that is mixed with cardio and resistance training.

5. Leg extension/curl machines

Doing leg extensions can be really tough on your joints. The curling machine which supposedly strengthens your hamstrings, actually contorts your body into an unnatural sitting position. Similarly the extension machine is a known cause of knee pain. It is far more preferable to use lunges, squats, calisthenics and step-ups for developing leg strength.

5. Pulling down bar behind neck

Honestly, you can cause your body more harm than good by pulling the bar down behind your head. Seriously, just DON’T. The lateral pull-down machine is often found in gyms all over the world. But as it is also one of the most improperly used machines, with people using it by pulling the bar behind their heads, many trainers do not recommend its use. Pulling down the bar behind your neck causes major stress on your anterior shoulder joint capsule and can result in impingement or rotator cuff damage. It is far better to do free weight exercises that work the same muscles but do not risk your shoulders.

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Fitness is the key to success in sport. Following basic principles, you can develop fitness components such as strength, speed and endurance. See our colection of exercises and fitness equipment. Ensure you warm-up and stretch before any workout.

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