There’s nothing worse than seeing people using really terrible form whilst training.

That’s one thing.

But another thing that I see a lot, is people doing exercises that are a complete waste of time effort and energy.

Not to mention, some of these exercises even put you at greater risk of injury!

To prevent you from unnecessary injuries, and wasting time doing energy wasting pointless exercises, I’ve decided to put this list together…

So this way, when you take the time to work out, you will be getting the most out of the time and effort you put into it.

The better your training is, and the faster you see results, the more likely that you will start to enjoy your workouts and stick to them for life.

So here are the exercises you should avoid if you don’t want to waste your time, energy and injure yourself.

1. Sit Ups.




A lot of people get into the habit of doing hundreds if not thousands of sit ups with the theory behind it being that doing hundreds or even thousands of sit ups will give them a flat stomach, or even 6 pack abs. The reality is, they are just a complete waste of time. Flattening your stomach has little to do with exercise, and everything to do with nutrition, sleep and stress first and foremost. Not to mention, Sit ups do not even work your entire core. Sit ups only actually work your rectus abdominis (aka abs) which only makes up about 10% of your entire core. And another thing is, once you get to a certain point during a sit up, you actually begin to use your hip flexors instead of your abs. Doing a lot of sit ups can cause posture problems, which can lead to an increased risk of injury.

Use planks/bridges to work your entire core more effectively.

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2. Bicep Curls

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One of the most common exercises you will see done in a gym, and one of the most useless too.

To work your bicep, there’s no need to play around with curls. Why put all that time, effort and energy into an exercise that will only target one small muscle? Work your biceps in their natural movement pattern by doing rows, pulldowns and pull ups to work your lats and shoulders, and your biceps will get enough work from this alone! The bigger exercises give you more bang for your buck and enable you to get stronger, and lose weight quicker.

Ditch the curls, do a real exercise, like a Barbell row (pictured below)

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3. Shoulder Shrugs


A female fitness instructor demonstrates the finishing position of the dumbbell shrug
A female fitness instructor demonstrates the finishing position of the dumbbell shrug



I’ve lost count of the amount of times that someone has told me that they have injured their shoulder during this silly exercise.

It’s just useless.

Like the bicep, the traps are a small muscle, that can be worked more effectively whilst doing other bigger compound multi joint exercises like deadlifts, rows and overhead presses that will also work bigger main muscles like your lats and deltoids.

Generally speaking, the more muscle you are working in a exercise, the better.

If you have posture problems like rounded shoulders, then doing this exercise will likely only make it worse than it already is which can cause headaches, neck pain and shoulder pain.


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4. Treadmills

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If you want to run, that’s fine, but go outside and run!

Get some fresh air, and sun while you are at it.

If you are like most people, you probably don’t get outside enough as it is.

Running on a natural surface like a smooth grassy area will be much easier on your joints, and will minimize your risk of injury.



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Or this?

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I dont know about you, but I know what I’d prefer…

5. Smith Machine Squats

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The thing I don’t like about smith machine squats, is that they don’t replicate a regular squat, and to be honest, barbell squats are the best exercise you can do, so there’s just no need to use smith machine squats in place of regular squats.

The term ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it’ comes to mind when I think about smith machine squats. In other words, why change something that is already awesome like barbell squats?

Regular squats will engage your glutes, hamstrings and quads much better than smith machine squats ever will.


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6. Tricep Kickbacks

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A lot of people, women in particular, think that because this exercise burns the triceps, it will get rid of the “tuck shop lady arms.”

The reality is, this exercise will do little to nothing toward toning your arms. Like the bicep curls we spoke about earlier, it’s better to work your triceps by using bigger, multi joint compound exercises like push ups, bench presses, or even over head barbell presses.

This way, you will also work your pecs, deltoids and many more smaller muscles. The more muscle you work per exercise, the more energy you will burn, and the greater your fat loss will be.


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7. Anything with light dumbbells
(especially the cute lil pretty pink or purple ones)

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There’s a reason you can do hundreds of reps with these cute little weights, and that’s because they are of no use to you.

If it does not challenge you, it will not change you.

It’s as simple as that.

The idea behind lifting small weights for high reps is that it will build tone and definition. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Light weights will simply not put enough strain on your muscles, seriously limiting fat loss or strength gains.

The other reason a lot of women opt for the pretty pinks is because they are scared of ending up like the big buff bodybuilder chicks.

There’s 2 reasons that some women look this way.

1 – Steroids.
2 – Steroids.

Ditch the cute little hand weights, and lift something that will challenge you. Find a weight that you can do 8-12 reps with, of good form. And make sure that your muscles are fatigued before you rest.


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Now come on, time to get serious, ditch the pretty pinks (or purples) and let’s get serious!

8. Chest Fly’s

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If you are a bodybuilder, you may have some use for this over rated exercise.

However, for general health, strength, fitness and fat loss, these are just a waste of good time effort and energy.

Put your time into a compound multi joint pressing exercise like bench press, push up and even chest presses. These exercises will work your pecs as fly’s do, buuuut, they will also work your deltoids, triceps and other smaller muscles making them much more effective than fly’s.


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9. Alternating Crunch




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Just looking at this pic makes my neck hurt.

Look, these are just terrible.

For one, they put way to much strain on your neck and upper back. Secondly, if you have poor posture, these will only make them worse. The theory behind this exercise is that it will help you to tone up your sides (obliques) but the reality is, they are horseshit and will do nothing at all except waste your time, energy and increase your risk of injury.


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10. Adductor/abductor machine


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Despite what the fitness magazines say, this exercise is useless.

The first thing that makes this a useless exercise is the fact that it does not replicate any normal and natural human movement pattern.

The muscles used in this exercise are not even supposed to be worked in isolation. Instead of wasting time and energy using this over rated exercise, spend your time on exercises like squats, lunges, leg presses and hip thrusters. They will work your muscles in a more natural way which will help you to be stronger and burn more fat.


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So, there you have it, the 10 most useless exercises ever invented.

There’s a lot more I could add to this list purely because there are so many other time and energy wasting exercises out there..

Always remember – At the end of the day, nothing beats the tried, tested and proven exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, pull downs, overhead presses and chin ups.

For those of you women who need extra help with your training for weight loss, we have a great opportunity just for you!

Because I’m feeling generous, I’ve decided to give away 5 Fat Loss Strategy sessions to the first 5 ladies only who respond to this article.

The only catch is – You MUST act NOW, or you will miss out!

So what are you waiting for?

Act now before it’s too late!

Simply click on the link below, fill in the form, and we will contact you ASAP!

Thanks for reading, I really hope you found this useful.
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Did you find is useful?

Then please let us know by commenting below!

Feel free to keep the conversation going by telling us about any exercises that you consider to be time and energy wasting 🙂

Talk soon,

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Clint Ashton
Clint Ashton

Clint Ashton is a Founder, CEO, Nutritionist & Personal Trainer of Absolute Health & Fitness. He is passionate about helping women to escape the dieting trap so that they can be happy, healthy, energetic and confident. Clint is a devoted dad to his twins Eli & Indi and shares his passion for nutrition, training, coaching, family, travel, food, experiences and culture with his wife, Simone. Together they have helped thousands of women to let go of the obsession with numbers and stepping on the scale so they can finally live a life of balance. Clint is now also a respected published author. Clint also enjoys a good bowl of flavoursome broth and relaxing with a can of rum 😉😉

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