What Are the Worst Exercises?
What are your least favorite exercises? This is a question I recently asked viewers on my YouTube channel. Before I reveal their responses, let me explore my least favorite exercises.
Dumbbell Flyes. I know, I'm supposed to love this exercise. But I don't. Dumbbell flyes are a chest-building staple, right?
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Yup. They still feel like crap to me. Whenever I perform flyes - no matter how much I tweak the angle or positioning - they feel like they are going to tear up my shoulders.
I'll try dumbbell flyes twice a year just to see if anything has changed. But it never changes. I still hate them, and hate is a strong word - but it's the correct word to use here. For me.
Leg Curls. Ah yes, this is the king of hamstring exercises. Why do I say that? Because leg curls are - hands down - the more widely-used exercise for the body part.
Does this mean they are the best exercise for hamstrings? No, that's a debatable opinion. But they sure do win the hamstring popularity contest.
Now why do I hate them? Well, for starters they make my hamstrings feel like they're going to spork. I feel very uncomfortable getting super-powerful with leg curls, or even with doing a lot of volume.
Leg curls just don't feel good, in any way for me.
Secondly, leg curls are just flat-out hard to progress on. After 30 plus years of doing them, I'm still only using 40, 50, or 60 pounds per leg - depending on the machine.
Progression sucks, and I lose interest on leg curls. Sure, you can do more volume, but there's only so much volume you can add. I feel like I've been capped out on both volume and strength for nearly 30 years.
Goblet Squats. Goblet squats are tedious. For me. Maybe not for you.
To use a challenging amount of weight - which really isn't all that challenging to begin with, even if you use the heaviest dumbbells - you have to first maneuver that heavy sucker into position. This takes forever, and you feel half-wiped before you even start a set.
From there, and again because the weight is light, you have to perform a billion reps to get anything out of goblet squats.
Lastly, once you finish your goblet squats, an odd reality sets in. As you reflect, winded and struggling to breathe, you quickly realize that there were at least a dozen better leg exercises you could have performed.
Squats. Front squats. Leg extensions. Hack squats. Leg press. Lunges. All more effective than goblet squats. In my opinion, of course.
Are goblet squats useless? Hardly! Do they feel like cardio, and not as effective as twenty other leg exercises? Absolutely.
What Exercises Do You Dislike?
So now that you know the three exercises I really dislike, let's hear from you. I asked viewers to let me know their "most hated" movements. Here are some direct quotes.
Dropset Gorgeous. Mine would have to be...
1. Seated calf raises - I could do these from dusk till dawn. Heavy or light, until my calves feel like habanero peppers. And my calves STILL take forever and a day to grow.
2. High step ups - Any pre-made step in my gym is either made for someone two feet tall or someone six feet tall. Five-foot lives matter, okay! I want to be able to challenge myself but I’m not trying to step up on something higher than my belly button. Let me step up coach!
Amen Rabah. The bench press. It’s not the typical reason for disliking it. When I started lifting I focused mainly on squats and deadlifts, as I’ve always had long and bigger legs. I really neglected the bench and chest training overall and today my bench is way behind my squat and deadlift. Also, I don’t feel it in my chest much.
Calf raises - They’re just so damn boring.
Skullcrushers. No matter how warmed up or how strict I do them, the pain is always there?.
CTFKeith1994. Exercises I hate:
Dumbbell fly. Reason: same as you.
Leg extension. Reason: always feel some popping in my knees.
Nordic curl. Reason: extremely difficult, but I would still do it as it makes me athletic.
Xoramung. In no particular order. Getting off the couch. Picking up the gym bag. Going to the gym.
Only dislike the flat or decline bench. Everything else seems OK.?
Donald Deiwert. Cable crossovers... What's the point? Tricep kickbacks... No explanation needed?.
Fotis Rokanis. Bench press, squats, and curls. I still suck it up and do my curls. It wasn't until I substituted bench with overhead pressing and squats with lunges that I fell in love with training again?.
Zujostix. Well since you asked. Number one most hated exercise for me is the leg press. I've had an inguinal hernia before and some complications because of it.
The leg press causes a lot of pressure in that exact region. I don't even want to risk another surgery, having to spend another six weeks on strict bed rest and who knows how many months after that being limited to under 1kg/2.2lbs of weight I can lift while rehabbing the area.
Number two is the lying hamstring curl. They just feel very strange and every time I give them a go I end up with severe tendinitis which limits squatting and pulls/deadlift. On the other hand, GHD and Nordic ham curls are a non-issue.
Number three is the paused pull/deadlift. Doesn't matter if it is a pull for some Olympic lift or a deadlift, the paused variations are extremely beneficial for me and they feel like death. Actually, the snatch pull with three pauses feels worse even though it does wonders to teach the correct positions and strengthen them.?
Coolkidontheblock. 1. Wide-grip lat pulldowns. I had a SLAP tear in my right shoulder early in high school. Later on, when I'd be in the gym with my wrestling team, we'd do wide-grip lat pulldowns on back day. I'd try to use a narrow grip, since the wide grip kept making my shoulder crack and pop, but following the push-through-pain mentality, the team insisted I do them anyway. It did not do me any favors.
2. Incline dumbbell flyes - tried them once in college. I thought my shoulders were going to explode in the worst way possible. Never again.
3. Dumbbell shoulder press - I used to never have a problem with these, but now when I try them, they always make my shoulders crack. It's ironic, because I like to do behind-the-neck presses, which is supposed to be more damaging. I can't say I truly hate dumbbell presses, but I much prefer other exercises.
4. Dips - like the last one, I don't dislike these as much as I do the first two on this list, but given my previously-mentioned shoulder injury, as well as a partial pec tear I experienced later, I have a lot of trouble with these, so I stick with benching exercises to target my chest.?
Bumsipupsi. I hate crunches. It's the most boring exercise.?
Rex Erection. Pendlay Rows. Puts me in an awkward position and I'm not that tall. But I saw an Athlean-X video on reasons why not to do it, so gave me a good reason to stop them.?
Ken J. Haha great video, I agree on number one: dumbbell flys. I grind them out but hate 'em.
Number two, the front squat. They just feel awkward. I have poor range of motion through my shoulders from years of abuse from physical work. Number three, dumbbell rows. Just can never seem to feel it in the right spot and can never find that happy medium weight.?
Elhady Modather. 1. Dumbbell concentration curl, because it has a low functionality to the overall body. I always believed in training the whole body as one piece - no half reps, no focused Isolation, and avoiding any exercise that adversely affects muscle flexibility like crunches.
2. Romanian deadlift. You cannot overload it because it turns into a back exercise. There is no better than natural movement than the conventional barbell deadlift.
3. Otis-up. It's a good exercise, but there are more benefits included in push presses, bench presses, and front squats.?
Atius8. Front raises/OHP - make my shoulders click. Upright rows - useless, inferior to shrugs or static holds. Bicep curls/ab/calf exercises - boring as hell?.
Tavinder Kumar. Nice video and the topic is very good. The first exercise I hate is the skull crusher. Second is barbell curls. When is do these two exercises I feel like all I'm doing is wasting time. Third exercise is dumbbell flys.
I always make excuses to avoid these exercises. I feel like I have nothing to gain with these exercises.
Joe Stoat. Deadlift. I kind of love it when it's over, but if it's going up slowly, I have time to think, "I could just let go of this thing and stop feeling like I'm going to snap."
Why do I even do it? I've kind of forgotten.
With you on the leg curls too, they just feel wrong and the only time I move my leg like that is doing the tap-flick-stamp part of the chacha, which really doesn't need a lot of strength.?
LaughingManRa. Three exercises I hate:
1) Barbell rows - They just fry my lower back after a while and hurt my squat and deadlift performance. I make do with dumbbell rows and various machine rows.
2) Front squats - I just find them awkward. I think my forearms are too long and I don't quite have the wrist flexibility needed to hold the bar in place. The bar presses against my throat and I hate it.
3) Power cleans - A couple of times in the past I've read articles about how awesome power cleans are, so I'll incorporate them into my routine, then work up to around bodyweight and end up jacking up my wrist. The last time it happened, I had to stop all barbell pressing for a while because my wrists hurt so much. Never again.
If these movements work for you, that's fine, but personally I dislike them and won't put them in my routines.?
Christian Rose. Front lateral. Don't feel them where I should feel them and when I used to do them they didn't give me ***. Chest flyes also applies to this, by the way.
Wide dumbbell shoulder presses. They always put a ton of pressure on the joint instead of the muscle. I rather do military press and Arnold press.
Leg extensions. It feels like putting my knees through a meat grinder. It's painful. Doesn't build *** and I rather do leg presses and squats.?
Marlin Abogo. Great video. I agree with flys, not really experienced with leg curls, goblet squats are nice for beginners like me but become redundant after a point.
Leg press - because I hate how its abused for ego lifting by people that "cannot" squat.
Upright row - is likely to mess up a rotator cuff, nearly happened to me.
Triceps kickback - because there's more effective was to hit the long head although probably good for a pump.?
Luke Ataera. There isn't really too many exercises I don't like but I will have to say my three are:
1. Lying leg curl. Like yourself, I never felt like I could actually add weight to it. It always felt like I was gonna tear my hammies.
2. Bulgarian split squats. Don't get me wrong, I actually like them but as soon as I added weight I gave myself a minor tear which put me out for three weeks. I wish I could do them cause I can see where the benefit would come in but I can't trust it won't put me out again.
3. All Olympic lifts. I'm not flexible in my wrists or triceps so I find front squats painful which rules out clean and jerk. Also, I never really mastered the snatch. Last time I tried a snatch with pretend weights I ended up on my ass. Never tried either of them again.?
BitsAndGlory.3. Dumbbell Fly - Feels like I'm going to tear something every time I do this.?
2. Croc Rows - I like them for what they do, but I HATE doing them because I always get winded, haha.?
1. Skullcrushers - My elbows hurt thinking about them.??
Captain Oblivious. Any kind of squat. Because at the bottom of the squat, I feel like one of those rubbery stress reliever doll things that you squeeze and the head gets big and the eyes pop out.?
Grandpa's Powerlifting. I've been working out since 1960, 16 years old. I hate barbell curls. I cant find the right-hand spacing so my wrist joints don't feel like they're twisting off my arm.
Leg extensions. Just can't get the old, mind-muscle connection. Forearm work. After doing forearms I feel like I just did five, fifty-yard sprints in a row.
But I still do them all, why? Because I love working out.?
Pa Jenn. 1. Bodyweight movements - I'm a big guy so I suck at them, and then some skinny a-hole always follows and does twice as many of whatever I was doing.
2. Weighted planks and side planks for more than 30 seconds - waiting for those seconds to tick away is torture. But I still do them.
3. High rep squats, deadlifts, and single leg exercises (not including machines) - they just kill me, I'm always out of breath and sweating from them.
Fitter Guy. Believe it or not, it's squats! I think because I have a long torso and short legs it throws me off a bit. Heavy or light it doesn't matter. Box squats do help a bit but it stinks that the "king of leg exercises" is so difficult for me to do with good form!?
Grave Overkill. Barbell back squats, front barbell squats... Stiff legged deadlifts. Why? Cause It's leg day. But only gym bros don't have a leg day, embrace that pain!?
Gabriel Martins. Here are my top two disgusting exercises. First, the standard barbell or dumbbell curl. It's the most known bro exercise but honestly, it's boring! It's ok to have a pump but it's not worth it; your arms don't even look that much bigger after the pump!
Second has to be lunges. Not super high intensity because the balance is annoying but especially when you do dumbbell high volume walking lunges. I don't know why I used to do that they're annoying and I hate! Walking around shaking and sweating almost falling every single step!?
B Minus. Any bicep move with a bar (two-handed bicep moves). I've always been told they're the best for arm growth, and you need them for big biceps, but they always seem to strain the wrists.
I always feel a lot of pressure on the elbows. For whatever reason, any bicep move with a bar just feels awkward and stiff, I need that freedom using dumbbells gives you.?
Samuel Kron. Exercises I hate.
Leg Press. Yes, I hate the leg press machine. I don't like the position it puts me in, strength increases in the leg press are not necessarily going to transfer to other lifts but the main reason is this. When I train legs I would FAR rather be doing squats, it can be a box squat, close-stance squat, Olympic squat, wide-stance squat I don't care what squat it is.
I want a barbell ON MY BACK with 315+ lbs on it. Additionally, the leg press does not challenge you in the same way squats do a heavy leg press is still very doable in full range of motion. A heavy squat, on the other hand, is a completely different beast. Heavy squats require a lot of mental focus and toughness to still achieve proper depth on.
Dumbbell Lateral Raise. This exercise I do not like having to do. The main reason why is that it's not necessarily going to help raise your presses, there are very few if any activities or sports where a flailing motion of the arms like that is done or needed.
Another reason is I would rather be raising my presses than my lateral raise strength, dumbbell press, barbell press, rear delt row etc. I especially dislike it when I can work the lateral head of the deltoid by doing a pressing exercise like the Arnold shoulder press.
Leg Curl. Every time I do this exercise it feels like my legs are in a vulnerable position; vulnerable as in susceptible to injury more so than the likeliness of injury for the majority of exercises. But ultimately I don't see how doing leg curls is going to increase our hamstring strength for other exercises.
You will get stronger in the leg curl but that strength may not transfer very well to say lunges for instance where you may not see an increase in your lunge performance. And when I can do exercises that both work the hamstrings and the strength gains DO transfer to other lifts like doing good mornings, deficit deadlifts, lunges, etc., there is little motivation for me to use this exercise.
Triceps Kickback. This exercise does not transfer to life activities that I am aware of, sports performance, nor does the strength gained add to improved pressing movements such as one's bench or triceps extension. You can work the triceps and gain strength that will transfer to other lifts such as skull crushers, triceps extension, dips, floor press, close grip bench press, etc.
When these lifts exist, they work the same muscle group, and you are moving more weight when doing them I do not have any incentive to perform the triceps kickback.
Lying Leg Kickback Machine. Again the first thing I do not like about this exercise is the position it puts you in. When are you EVER going to be lying on your stomach and kicking back at something or someone?
Again other exercises exist that work the glutes just as well if not better such as pull-throughs, kettlebell swings, barbell glute bridges, and hip thrusters.Some exercises recruit the glutes quite well even if it's not the targeted muscle group like sumo deadlifts and deep squats.
Additionally, these exercises strengthen the glutes for other lifts, while the lying leg kick back machine will only get you stronger in that lift.
Ok, I've said enough sorry if this is a little long at least it's not 10 exercises.?
Leonidas. 1. Standard barbell shrugs. Hits my junk every goddamn time! But I really want those monster traps so snatch grip shrugs are my new best friend.
2. Dumbell flye. Feels like my shoulder is being twisted out of its socket.
3. Leg press. I may get some hate for this. Never able to get a good quad stretch without my hips rotating off the seat, which hurts my lower back. It's okay for partials but I'd prefer to do squats off pins or boxes for that.?
Elizabeth Borkland. Bench press. I am getting better at it but it’s scary and if something goes wrong YOU CAN DIE! That’s a bad consequence; HEY, I did this exercise wrong and BOOM DEAD.
That’s a bad way to go...
Next, any exercise with chains. I feel some kind of way when chains are involved... CHAINS just aren’t a “gym tool.” Enough said. I not against using chains but not in a public setting. Anywho!
Planks and burpees. I’m fat. That’s self-explanatory. I do them and hate myself.
Lunges, why?! Why would I need to do this in real life? I don’t. Plain and simple.
That’s all I can think of it’s still early in the morning.