Weight Training Exercises To Avoid
to Build Muscle Fast
If you want to build muscle and get big and strong you are going to have to lift weights. Strength training, working out and lifting wights is one of the safest sports you can do. Sure injuries do occur but at much lower rates than you would expect, and much lower than things like golf, tennis, or even running.
But there are some strength training exercises that are not so safe.
When putting together a weight training program to build muscle, exercise selection is a very important. You build muscle fastest with compound weight training exercises. Any bodybuilding program that focuses on machines and isolation weight training exercises is a complete waste of time. It is fine to have a few in your program, but they are not to be the focus.
My buddy and killer strength coach Jason Ferruggia put together a list of what he considers to be the worst weight training exercises on the planet. Exercises that you are to avoid at all costs, that is, if you want to build muscle fast.
Don’t Do These 11 Strength Training Exercises
1. Smith Machine Squats
Squats are one of the best weight training exercise you can do in order to build muscle fast. Doing them on a Smith machine however, is a huge mistake.
Squatting in a Smith machine is very hard on the knees and causes the lifter to develop what is known as a pattern overload syndrome. The smith machine isolates the legs while taking the trunk out of the movement. In a normal free weight squat your lower back and abs must stabilize the weight and every muscle group must work in unison. This is how the body functions, as a unit, never in isolation. This can lead to severe imbalances and injuries.
2. Leg Extensions
Without question, you can’t beat compound weight training exercises when it comes to muscle building. Leg extensions are an isolation movement which do very little to build muscle or functional strength.
To make matters worse the leg extension exercise creates shearing forces on the knee. It gives a pump but you still need to avoid this machine..
3. Abduction Adduction machines
This is the one where you sit with your legs spread and strapped into the machine. You perform this weight training exercise by opening up or spreading your legs and then closing them.
This is another isolation movement which will do nothing to build muscle. On top of that, you will look like a girl if you do it.
After all do you want to look the the guy on the right!
4. Abdominal Crunch Machines
This goes for every as seen on TV ab exercises. The abs never work in isolation in the real world. In fact, the abs do not ever contract consciously. They contract unconsciously as a way to protect the spine. The abdominal muscles never work without the use of the hip flexors yet these isolation crunch machines are specifically designed to try and take the hip flexors out of the exercise. These are a very ineffective weight training exercise for building muscle. Some of these machines are dangerous too.
5. Ab Roller Devices
This apparatus is a version of the aforementioned crunch machines and is another useless piece of equipment. This device takes the neck completely out of the movement which is exactly what you don’t want to do. Contracting and or flexing the muscles of the neck during an abdominal crunch is exactly what you want to be doing and is physiologically correct. Another waste of time in the quest to build muscle fast.
6. Smith Machine Bench Press
This is just one of the many bench press errors people make when trying to build a big chest. The bench press is a great muscle building exercise but doing it in the Smith machine is not a good idea. Much like the Smith Machine Squat, this exercise will cause you to develop a pattern overload and will lead to injury. Pressing on the Smith Machine isolates the pressing muscles and completely eliminates the use of the stabilizer muscles, such as the rotator cuff. This will lead to imbalances that can transfer to serious shoulder injuries.
7. Bench Dips
This is a weight training, mass building exercise I did for years, but now regret. I routinely did this exercise with four 45 pound plates on my lap. Little did I realize at the time that bench dips put your shoulder in a very dangerous position and can eventually lead to serious problems.
While this exercise is useful in building triceps muscle mass, it is also dangerous. Leave this exercise to the ladies in group fitness class, go with parallel bar dips for building muscle mass in the arms.
8. Concentration Curls
When it comes to weight training and building muscle particularly big arms, everybody’s favorite bodypart is biceps. Chin ups and barbell curls are the best weigth training exercises for building huge biceps. Concentration curls are not.
This is a pure isolation movement which supposedly puts a “peak” on your biceps. The only problem with that is the fact that it is physiologically impossible to peak your biceps. Muscles grow evenly along the entire length of the tissue from origin to insertion.
When looking at the effectiveness of an exercise one of the key determinants in the results that it may produce is the amount of weight that can be lifted. In a concentration curl it is very difficult to lift a great deal of weight and thus it renders the movement ineffective. If you want to build huge biceps, avoid concentration calls.
9. Bench Press to the Neck
This was a big favorite muscle building exercise of Larry Scott and Vince Gironda. It was supposedly a great muscle building exercise for the upper or clavicular pectoral muscles. The problem with this movement is that it will absolutely destroy the shoulders and can easily lead to a pec tear. This is one movement that you should stay very far away from in your quest to build muscle fast.
10. Old School Pec Dec
This is the supposed muscle building exercise machine which has you bend your arms ninety degrees while externally rotating. You place your arms on the pads and then proceed to bring the pads together in front of your body. This is not only dangerous for the shoulder but is absolutely useless and will not build muscle at all.
11. Knee Break Squats
As mentioned earlier, the squat is the best weight training exercise there is for building muscle. Some trainers and coaches have advocated initiating a squat by first breaking at the knees rather than the hips in an effort to put more stress on the quadriceps muscles. The problem is that this also puts unnecessary stress on the knees and severely limits the amount of weight that can be lifted.
Squats should be initiated by first breaking at the hips and sitting back and down, not by breaking at the knees and pushing your knees forward as you descend.
That is only a list of 11 muscle building exercises that you are to never do. Unfortunately this is not a complete list. I see people do stupid stuff, useless and dangerous exercises everyday, but these are some of the more common ones.
They were not in any particular order so don’t think that because your go to muscle building exercise is low on the list that it’s ok to do.
When planning your weight training program keep these simple rules in mind:
- if the weight training exercise causes any pain, don’t do it
- if the weight training exercise is an isolation exercise that requires extremely light weights, don’t do it. That is unless it is some kind of rehab or prehab exercises
- focus on the big, basic, compound weight training exercises these will build muscle fast
- train hard, but train smart!