Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Worthless" movements

I asked a question on the LRB facebook page what everyone thought a "dumb" exercise was.

I gave my response to some of the ones listed.  Here it is.......

First off, I think a movement is only "worthless" based on a few things.

1. If you don't know WHY you're doing it. Doing it because "I saw some jacked/strong dude doing it" is not a reason.

That's really it. So that's not a "few" that's one.

Any movement can be useful, IF you know why you are doing it, i.e. have a specific reason. In other words, to rehab something, bring up a weak bodypart, or to help another movement. That's what all movements really do.

Now this doesn't mean that every movement is "good". There can be movements that would help you more than the one you are doing, even if you know why you are doing it.

So here is my opinion on some of the answers given.

1. Smith machine squats - Bodybuilders have used these for years to bring up weak quads. Dorian Yates stuck with barbell squats for years, and found they never did anything for his quad development. John Meadows also likes smith machine squats for the same reason. If you get your feet out in front of you, you can actually use this movement to really target the quads very effectively. Remember guys, not everyone in the gym is trying to become a youtube champion on squats, deadlifts, and benches. There's a whole other group of people out there that lift weights that compete in you know....bodybuilding.

2. Tricep kickbacks - If you have wrecked elbows you can use these pain free. The drawback with them, as I've mentioned before, is that there is only tension in the very last part of the movement. Nevertheless, if you have great bad elbows, these can at least be an option for tricep work.

3. Throwing punches in the cable crossover machine - Yes, pretty stupid. Punching power actually comes from the torque in your hips. Not from your arms.

4. Weighted side bends holding weight on both sides - Uh yeah, pretty stupid. The whole point is to strengthen the obliques. When you hold weight in both hands, one hand is counteracting the weight in the other hand. So basically, you're not really doing anything.

5. Decline bench - It's just a press. Incline, decline, flat, etc can all be used as pressing alternatives. It's possible that someone can decline bench without pec or shoulder pain if it was sustained in another pressing movement. So it may be an option in that regard. I actually feel more pec contraction in decline pressing, however I don't use it because.....well, I don't.

6. Skull crushers - Will def wreck your elbows over time. I bought into the whole "won't happen to me" thing for a long time. Happened to me too.

7. Leg Press on the smith machine - Can't really get into this or make a case for it. If you don't have a leg press and want to leg press, find a gym with a leg press.

8. Lying cable curls - The only case I can make for this is variety.

9. Rotator cuff exercises - These are great. Everyone should do cuff work.

10. Accommodating resistance for RAW lifters - I know a lot of raw guys do use accommodating resistance but I personally don't see a need for it. Especially bands or reverse band work. In raw lifting, the strength curve is hard at the bottom, and easier at the top. When you add bands you're not making the bottom harder. I can see chains being used more effectively for raw guys. But not bands.

11. Calf machines - Definitely useful for the bodybuilder. If you want to make them "work better", hold the stretch position at the bottom for 5 seconds, and THEN come up. Talk to me after. That's how I built my calves into cows.

12. Dumbbell flyes - Very good movement if used properly. It makes the pec actually perform its primary motion. Which is to bring the humerus across the chest.

13. The good girl bad girl machine at the gym, for inner and outer thighs - Very good machines if used properly. I used the good girl machine to rehab a torn adductor, and stayed with it long enough so that I stopped straining my adductor. The bad girl machine is great at teaching people how to fire their glute medius. It's a similar motion that you perform descending into a squat. For people with knee cave, it means they aren't pushing out and getting the glutes involved enough.

14. Sissy squats - Great at recruiting the VMO. Can be hard on some peoples knees, but if you are lacking in the VMO they will put some teardrop muscle on you quickly. Hard as fuck too.

15. Heavy good mornings - Horrible and stupid. Great way to fuck up your back. And I've never seen a good morning as part of a powerlifting meet or strongman comp. Light good mornings done with an emphasis on stretching the glutes and hams are fantastic. Heavy good morning where there is too much of a hip drop and knee bend are fairly dumb. Just my opinion.

16. Sumo Deadlift High Pulls - Dumb.

17. Kipping pullups - Beyond dumb.


  1. How about "Turkish Get-Ups"? I've never been able to figure out the point of this exercise. Also, has anyone ever actually had any positive results from "jelqing"?

    1. LMAO OMG jelqing! I wish I would have included that!

  2. hahaha "17. Kipping pullups - Beyond dumb." My favorite. Best part.