7 Worst Exercises You Should Never Do Again

Which exercises cause more harm than good? Some exercises in your workout routine are inefficient and possibly dangerous. The following list identifies the seven worst exercises you should avoid right now. You have likely been doing some of them. Be sure not to do any of these exercises again.

[ Disclaimer: All content on this site is provided solely for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice of a healthcare professional. Any activity related to exercise or diet can be dangerous, and individuals who do not seek advice from qualified medical professionals are liable for any injuries sustained. ]

The argument goes that there are no bad exercises, only bad executions. There is some truth to their claim; any exercise done with bad form can be a bad exercise. Yet, the exercises performed properly and still putting you at an elevated risk of injury are ones to avoid. We’ll go over each of them now.

1) Dumbbell Side Bends

It is an isolation exercise that targets the muscles on the side of your body-specifically the obliques. Exercises like dumbbell side bends are often considered to help tone your waist and eliminate excess fat at a person’s waistline. But, the truth is different.

Why Are Dumbbell Side Bends Bad For You?

So, where does the problem lie? Matt Cheng, CSCS, a performance specialist, says this exercise doesn’t engage the obliques at all.

According to him, the majority of the time, this involves too much lateral bending and twisting of the spine. 

Alternatives to Dumbbell Side Bends:

Hanging oblique knee raises on a bar would be better than dumbbell side bends, suggests Cheng.

”These exercises target the same oblique muscles while also relieving pressure on the spine.”

How to do Hanging Oblique Knee Raises:

Hold a pull-up bar in both hands and keep your feet together while holding your body as straight as you can. Bend your knees together without swinging and pull them toward your right arm. Return your feet to their original positions after pulling your knees together. Repeat on the other side.

2) The Superman

worst exercises

The Superman is a bodyweight floor exercise that targets the lower back by raising your arms and legs simultaneously off the ground while keeping your core engaged. As commonly known, this move will not only strengthen your back but also give you steel-like abs.

Why is The Superman exercise bad for you?

This exercise only reinforces bad patterns in our lower back, resulting in more back pain.
Superman exercises are commonly used in the military and in first responders to reduce back injuries. It involves lying on one’s stomach with arms extended overhead and lifting both legs and arms simultaneously. The procedure may serve to prevent back injuries, but in reality, it may place too much pressure on the spine, low back, and cervical region.

Alternatives to The Superman

Reverse back extensions are a better alternative that allows your back to extend fully without hyperextending it. In addition to strengthening your glutes, they also tighten your core, which aids your lower back and prevents pain.

How to do Reverse Back Extensions

Put your hands and feet on the ground, hip-distance apart, lying on your stomach on top of a stability ball. Press your legs together and raise your feet until they are parallel to the floor, then slowly lower them back to the floor while tightening your entire posterior (including your back, glutes, legs, and core).

3) Sit-Ups

A sit-up is an exercise that strengthens, tenses, and tones the abdominal muscles. Compared to crunches, sit-ups offer a more excellent range of motion and work more muscles.

Why is the Sit-up Bad For You?

The myth that countless sit-ups will get you a six-pack is widespread. It is true that this exercise will fatigue the abdominal muscles. However, you could endanger your spinal health by doing it.

A sit-up is not a functional movement of the body. How often do you bend your spine while lying down, apart from getting up from bed in the morning? You’d be even worse off if you yanked on your head to help you perform the repetitions with your hands behind your neck.

You can have a look at this article Harvard published an article about why sit-ups are bad for you.

Alternatives to Sit-Ups:

It would help if you focused on static core exercises for your abdominals. In our normal daily activities, they help us to move better and hold stronger positions. There are far more effective ways of building core strength than flexing your spine constantly instead of doing sit-ups:

• Ab Wheel Rollouts (hollow body position)
• Leg Lifts / Leg Raises
• Planks (with an open body position)

How to do Ab Wheel Rollouts:

Place your hands on the ab wheel just to the side of your body. Slowly roll the wheel forward until your body is parallel to the ground while holding your core tight and extending your arms fully. Try to roll out as far as you can, then return to the starting position.

4) Tricep Kick Backs

An isolated exercise, tricep kickback, emphasizes the lateral, medial, and long heads of the triceps brachii muscle at the back of your arm performed by bending forward and lifting your arms behind you.

Why is the Tricep Kickback bad for you?

We consider the tricep kickback to be a useless exercise. A full range of motion requires quite a bit of flexibility, and it is pretty easy to do it with incorrect form.

Secondly, this exercise severely limits your weight capacity. Due to the awkward position of your shoulders, using significant resistance is difficult. Consequently, you need to train each arm individually since it is tough to train both at the same time. In this particular exercise, performing each arm separately increases the duration of your workout while providing little to no benefit.

Thirdly, the kickbacks do not provide a significant stretch for the triceps. Instead, it does the opposite. Kickbacks emphasize the contraction of the triceps because the elbow is lined up with your body and is ineffective at stretching them when you’re resisting.

Last but not least, improper form puts a lot of stress on the shoulder and elbow joints.

Tricep KickBack Alternatives:

There are more effective & alternative ways than tricep kickback:

• Lying Tricep Extensions
• Close Grip Push-ups
• Close Grip Bench Presses

How to do Lying Tricep Extensions:

Use a weight that you can control for two to three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions when performing lying triceps extensions. Make sure you select a weight that will allow you to maintain good technique throughout all sets and repetitions. You should start with lighter weights while learning the exercise.

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells on either side of your head as you lie face up on a bench or exercise mat. Ensure that your feet are on the ground. Focus on maintaining a strong core throughout the exercise.
  • By Pushing the dumbbells up to the ceiling, rotate your shoulders so that your inner elbows point towards your face and your outer elbows point away from you. Keeping your lats tight will aid in maintaining the proper positioning of your shoulders and arms. As if holding an egg under your chin, keep your chin tucked throughout the movement. Begin each repetition from this position.
  • Keep your elbows bent while moving the dumbbells towards your head.
  • Lower the dumbbells to the sides of your head with control.
  • Pause for a moment at the bottom.
  • You can finish the repetition by squeezing your triceps and straightening your elbows until you return to the starting position. After the repetition, keep your elbows slightly bent to keep tension on your triceps.

5) Behind-the-Neck Presses

A behind-the-neck press is an exercise that targets your shoulders, a variation of the shoulder press, commonly referred to as an overhead press. Furthermore, it is also one of the most controversial exercises in the fitness industry since it can put undue stress on your neck and shoulders.

Why Are Behind-the-Neck Presses Bad?

Exercises that put a strain on your neck and shoulders are not considered effective for building upper body strength. This exercise also depends on upright posture, so if your shoulders and upper back are rounded, you risk injury.
This exercise is ineffective because most of us have limited shoulder mobility because of our jobs or the use of our phones on a daily basis.

Behind-the-Neck Presses Alternatives:

We recommend the dumbbell Arnold press as a much safer and more effective exercise. Besides the triceps, this exercise targets both the front and rear deltoids.

How to do the Arnold press:

Hold two dumbbells at chest height with your palms facing your body while standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. This is similar to the bicep curl position at the top. When you lift the dumbbells overhead, face the palms of your hands forward and extend your arms fully until your biceps are at your ears. Your shoulders should be kept back and down, and your back should not be arched. Reduce the weights to where they were when you started.

6) Barbell Jump Squats

The barbell jump squat is a weighted plyometric exercise like the barbell back squat, but you start with the barbell on your shoulders.

Why are Barbell Jump Squats bad for you?

When it comes to toning glutes and legs, the barbell jump squat might be the first thing that comes to mind. However, using a barbell in these types of exercises can cause your back and joints to be strained.

Barbell Jump Squats Alternatives:

We recommend doing bodyweight squat jumps, box jumps, and dumbbell jump squats instead of Barbell Jump Squats to strengthen the same muscles. If you master the bodyweight jump squat or you change the weight placement, it will make a big difference in your movements, saving you from pain in the long run.

How to do jump squats:

  1. Start with your feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Push your butt back and down as you keep your chest up, tightening your glutes and quads.
  3. Jump up while firmly planting your feet on the ground, swinging your arms back, and gently land on your feet.

Smith Machine Exercises

You will find a Smith machine at most gyms in the U.S. They are commonly used to do barbell exercises such as back squats and deadlifts.

Why are Smith Machine Exercises bad for you?

Quite honestly, the Smith machine is the worst piece of gym equipment. You’re limited to a guided bar path on the Smith machine, so the muscles you’re trying to target are not worked out. As a result, the quads and hamstrings become less active.

Injuries can occur from using a fixed bar because it overloads the joints by forcing you to move in an unnatural way. Furthermore, the Smith machine takes away one of the major advantages of free weights: the need to stabilize yourself while supporting weights.

Alternatives to Smith Machine Exercises:

If you want to do functional movements like presses, pulls, squats, and lunges, it is best to use dumbbells, resistance bands, or kettlebells.

How to do a Dumbbell Squat:

Keep both dumbbells in your hands, hip-distance apart. Keeping your chest lifted, sit back into your heels, tightening your glutes and quads. When you stand back up, firmly plant your feet on the ground.


What are the worst exercises to do while pregnant?

  1. High impact exercises.
  2. Any exercise that puts extreme pressure on your pelvic floor.
  3. Push-ups and planks.
  4. Exercises where you lie on your back (particularly late in pregnancy).
  5. Exercises that require you to lie on your right side for a long time.
  6. Traditional exercises, such as sit-ups and crunches.
  7. Holding your breathing exercises.

What are the worst exercises to do with sciatica?

If you have sciatica, avoid these exercises:

• Bending over rows
• Excessive hamstring stretching
• Stretching the abdomen
• Straight legged sit-ups
• Heavy dead-lifts
• Full body squats
• Leg exercises
• Weightlifting

What are the worst exercises for your knees?

Squatting is considered one of the worst exercises for your knees. How would we poop if that were the case? We all should be able to do full squats naturally, as they are a very natural movement pattern. Squats can cause knee pain due to improper form. With that in mind, what are the worst exercises for your knees? It’s very heavy leg extensions.
What are the worst exercises for your back?

The worst exercises for your back are:

• When you hyperextend (aka arch) your low back while carrying heavy loads.
• When your spine repeatedly flexes under heavy loads.
Three of the most popular exercises that place significant pressure on your low back are:
• Poorly executed deadlifts (hyper-extending at the top)
• Sit-ups
• Loaded Back Hyper-extensions (going past neutral)

What are the worst exercises for your shoulders?

The worst exercises for your shoulders include:

• Behind The Neck Pulldowns
• Upright Rows
• Chair Dips (with your hands facing forward)
• Behind The Neck Pulldowns

The shoulder is forced into a highly internally rotating position during all of these exercises. The risk involved in this position is excessive.

What are the worst exercises for lower back pain?

The Worst Exercises for your lower Back Pain include:

• High-impact activities
• Crunches
• Biking off-road
• Running

What exercises should you avoid with scoliosis?

• Lifting heavy objects.
• Long swimming sessions.
• Backbends, gymnastics, high jumps, ballet, and certain yoga positions engage the torso to extend.
• Lunges and squats.
• Riding a horse.
• Sports like football.
• Exercises that involve twisting.
• Playing on a trampoline.

What are the worst exercises for hip bursitis?

Sitting for a long period of time, lying down, or walking distances can put pressure on the hip bursa, causing it to irritate and cause pain. Avoid the below exercises:

• Bicycling
• Running
• Leg Lifts
• Deep Squats
• Sideways Exercises
• Cardio Machines

What is the worst exercise for the rotator cuff?

The same exercises that hurt your shoulders also hurt your rotator cuff.

What are the worst exercises for diastasis recti?

Don’t do any activities or exercises that may exacerbate diastasis recti. Crunches, twists, planks, backward bends that stretch the abdominal area, yoga poses that stretch out the stomach, or any heavy lifting activity that bulges out the stomach are some examples.
Final Words
There are many worst exercises to do in the gym and at home. We covered a few of them. We always recommend consulting your personal doctor or trainer for more precise suggestions. Health is wealth & one should never compromise where there is risk involved with exercise that can cause harm.


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