5 Exercises That Don't Work

By Desta Cullen
10th Mar 2016

“Work, work, work, work, work, work.”

Our girl RhiRhi says it best while she’s grinding up on ol’ mate Drake in her new steamy vid’, and we couldn’t agree more.

It’s exactly what we want in a good exercise: one that works. If you’ve managed to resist all the temptation (cleaning, ironing, paying bills; anything, just anything) to drag your butt from couch to gym, the least your workout could do is, well, WORK. Ha, if life could be so simple.

So in the next installment of Shit That’s Really Annoying, we have to break it to you that not all exercises are created equal. Here are five exercises that just don’t work.


If you want abs then crunches aren’t really your friend, according to a lot of experts. Go figure. Of course, expert opinions on the web are like a certain part of your anatomy: everyone’s got one, but most agree that they are definitely not the most effective way to lose fat and tone up. Not only are crunches an ineffective way to lose fat (and make muscles pop) but the potential for neck and spinal injury is high, particularly if you are starting from a pretty unfit base. Plank, bridge, weighted torso twists, and exercises like kettle bell swings are far more effective for burning fat and promoting muscle.

Treadmill running

Kudos to you, you are doing something. And running on a treadmill is nothing to be sneezed at. But (isn’t there always a but?), just jumping on a treadmill and running your heart out for an hour does little if weight loss is your goal. Combining high intensity cardio with weights is the best way to drop the pounds. If you’re training for a marathon though, then run on, friend.

Adductor for thighs

The thighs are a target area for most people, whether it’s strengthening or slimming (remember when thigh gap was a thing?), so the adductor and abductor machines are popular at most gyms. The problem is, the inner and outer thigh muscles aren’t designed to work in isolation, which is exactly what these machines do. You’d be much better off spending your precious time doing weighted squats or lunges to strengthen and tone all the interconnected muscles together.

Behind-the-head lateral pull downs

Two words: neck strain. The action of pulling a weighted bar down behind your head and neck looks and feels unnatural, because it is. If you are trying to build muscle, stick to pulling the bar down in front of you—more effective without the risk.

Upright rows

Upright rows provide little benefit (that couldn’t be found doing other types of weighted-arm workouts) for a fairly hefty price. The action of bringing weights up to shoulder height can compress the nerves in your shoulder, impinging and pinching, which can lead to long term problems.


Photo Credit: PopSugar and

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