In reality, there are no bad exercises, but some need to be used judiciously. If I don’t know the client can already do these movements, I won’t slip them in, as they can easily cause injury.
Skullcrushers, behind the neck presses, deficit deadlifts, wide grip bench presses, Olympic lifting, low bar back squat, upright row, dumbbell flys, behind the neck pulldown, running, Rubish rows and good morning are all good movements for some,. but they also cause a higher risk of injury for enough people that I don’t blindly ever write them in a plan. There are better options.
00:00 Geoff Says Hello
02:40 BTN Press
03:55 Deficit Deadlift
05:40 Wide Grip Bench Press
06:40 Olympic Lifting
07:50 Low Bar Back Squat
09:55 Upright Row
10:45 Dumbbell Flys
11:38 Behind the Neck Pulldowns
14:00 Rubish Row
14:40 Good Mornings
These cause elbow pain for a lot of people, and there are dozens of ways to work the triceps that are much easier-check my book (below) for details. Skullcrusher, elbow f*cker.
2. BEHIND THE NECK PRESS
This bothers some shoulders, no matter how perfect of technique. They aren’t going to be wildly better than pressing in front of the head, so I don’t bother risking anyone’s health.
3. DEFICIT DEADLIFT
I LOVE this movement, but admittedly it’s not for everyone. If you can’t get in the right position, or you don’t have very strong spinal erectors, it’s better to stick with traditional deadlifts.
4. WIDE GRIP BENCH PRESS
These get quite a bit of chest activation, but they also can rip up the shoulders. A more moderate grip or even a close grip is going to be more comfortable for most people.
5. OLYMPIC LIFTING
Great for power, but can be hard on the joints, and have a very lengthy learning curve. Again, not bad. But I’m not going to write in a clean and jerk unless they specifically tell me that they have Olympic lifting goals. Even for athletes, there are better options for explosiveness.
6. LOW BAR BACK SQUAT
If you aren’t a powerlifter, honestly this movement isn’t worth it. High bar is easier on the joints for most people, and is better for leg development as well. If you are squatting for hamstrings you’re an idiot anyway so don’t even say it!
7. UPRIGHT ROW
“Is it biceps? Is it traps? Is it shoulders? What is it? A nothing exercise, get rid of it” -Dorian Yates
Plus, it also puts a ton of stress on the shoulder joint. Not worth it. Do lateral raises, do high pulls, both look similar and work similar muscles, but are way easier to recover from.
8. DUMBBELL FLYS
You are not Arnold. It’s entirely possible that these will rip your shoulders and rotator cuffs to shreds. Switch for cables, floor flys, pec dec.
9. BEHIND THE NECK PULLDOWNS
Not horrible, but also can cause issues for enough people that I don’t use them. Just pull in front, you can use more weight AND it’s safer.
Yes, running. I don’t just write in a weekly 5k for people unless they really WANT to run. Especially for larger people, running is not a good risk/reward scenario.
11. RUBISH ROW
Did these a few days ago. That doesn’t mean you should. You really can overload the back, but the more dynamic motion means that the risk of injury is inherently higher.
12. GOOD MORNING
Perhaps I’ll write it in for powerlifters, but not beginners, and not even those who have lifting experience. it’s just a riskier version of the RDL and I think for most people it’s worth avoiding.
Again, none of these are bad, and I actually do the majority of these at certain points. But, you need to make sure that they are suitable for you-or you are suitable for them-before using them.
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