10 PTs on the overrated exercises they skip and what to do instead

Morgan Fargo
·3-min read
Photo credit: undrey - Getty Images
Photo credit: undrey - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

It's National Fitness Day today and time to celebrate how much enjoyment and confidence can come out of moving more and better. From big goals like hitting PBs to more frequent achievements like exercising three times a week, the feel-good factor of fitness is unquestionable.

In the spirit of helping you find more ways to move that you love (and maybe cutting and running from those you don't) we asked 10 PTs to dish on the moves they'd like to ditch and what they'd do instead.

1. Folusha Oluwajana

Skips: Bicep curls

Does: Compound exercises

"They're an isolation move that only trains the front of your upper arm. But the biceps rarely work in isolation, so doing bigger, compound exercises that involve multiple muscles, including your biceps will give you more bang for your buck. Focus on exercises such as rows and pull ups instead."

@FITDOCFOLU

2. Dr Ailish McLaughlin

Skips: Anything unintentional

Does: Purposeful movements

"A random one – doing an exercise for the sake of it and not for a specific outcome. It's always important to know why you are doing what you're doing and what the purpose is."

@AILISHGETSBETTER

3. Eni Adeyemo

Skips: Sit ups

Does: Compound exercises

"Sit ups only work part of your rectus abdominis (your abs), whereas moves like jackknifes, planks, bird dogs and bicycle crunches work the entire muscle, and others too."

@ENICOREBLIMEY

4. Tash Lankester

Skips: Pistol squats

Does: Single-leg squats

"Pistol squats are glamourised but in actual fact they can be a high-risk movement that can cause injury. They place a lot of pressure on your knees and your ankles and lowering with speed can help you master the move without much strength. Opt for a single-leg squat instead – don’t come down as far and utilise the strength in your legs."

@TASHAFIT_PT

5. Rosie Stockley

Skips: Sit ups

Does: Functional core work

"I don’t love sit ups and see so many people execute them so poorly that they’re not getting the full benefit out of this muscular contraction. There are so many other core exercises that I love to focus on, instead."

@MAMAWELLUK

6. Tashi Skervin-Clarke

Skips: Needlessly complex exercises

Does: Simple compound movements (e.g. deadlifts)

"I actually think all exercises have their own purpose specific to each and every goal. With that being said, I think exercises like doing a squat walk, uphill on a treadmill, with a [resistance] band around your ankles are completely unnecessary."

@TASHI_SKERVINCLARKE

7. Lucy Wyndham-Read

Skips: Plank

Does: Standing core exercises

"Why spend time being static holding one position when you could be doing functional core work standing up working lots of muscles?"

@LUCYWYNDHAMREAD

8. Hollie Grant

Skips: Souped up burpees

Does: Proper burpees

"Burpees that have too much added to them (eg adding in a tuck jump, dropping the body to the floor). To do a good burpee requires control, concentration and technique.

"The reason so many people hate them is because their body is telling them it doesn’t feel right, so to add in extra challenges will make them even more uncomfortable. Instead take the time to perfect them and done properly they need no extra bells and whistles to get you working hard."

@THEPILATESPT

9. Katie Anderson

Skips: Crunches

Does: Mixes up core exercises

"If abdominal crunches aren't done properly you can create a lot of tension around the neck which we already create in our day-to-day lives. There are so many different ways to work the core, so try to mix up what core exercises you do."

@KATIEANDMOVEMENT

10. Courtney Pruce

Skips: Crunches

Does: Clean and jerks

"Abdominal crunches are an utter waste of time and energy!"

@COURTNEYPRUCE

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