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Four Waste-of-Time Workouts

By Brittany Gatson

A useless exercise is like clutter in your fitness toolbox. An exercise that is not getting you where you want is a waste of time and space, and sometimes their potential benefit isn’t worth their risk.

Ditch these time-consuming moves out of your workout:

1. Ditch It: Crunches

They’re overrated and useless because we have four sets of abdominal muscles and crunches work only one set, and not through full range of motion. You’ll need to do tens of thousands of them to even begin to burn some of the fat that covers them.

Switch It: Planks

For a more effective ab exercise, face down on a mat, prop up onto your elbows and knees, if you are beginner, or on your toes for more of a challenge. Keep your neck, back and legs straight and hover for 10 to 60 seconds, 1 to 3 times.

2. Ditch It: Inner-Thigh Squeezes

In addition to looking and feeling like stirrups in an OB/GYN’s office, the thigh adduction machine really serves no purpose. They isolate little muscles. To save time, work big and small leg muscles together.

Switch It: Walking Lunges

Do your inner-thigh work while standing. Start off standing with your feet about hip-width apart with your back straight, navel pulled in gently toward your spine and eyes gazing straight ahead. Take a big step forward, avoiding a tight-rope balance. Dip your back knee toward the floor, touching it lightly if you can. Your back heel will come off the floor. Keep your back straight. Press through your front heel to straighten your front leg and return to standing. Alternate as you walk across a room, repeating 10 to 20 times on each leg. Do 1 to 5 sets.

3. Ditch It: Walking With Hand Weights

Stop it. You may get negligible caloric burn gains, but you risk jacking up your gait, your shoulders and your back. Not worth it.

Switch It: Walk Faster, Farther or on Hills

Or include some stairs on your route. If you want to carry weight, get a backpack or a weight vest. Carrying weight closer to your center of gravity is safer, but you should carry weight with care, especially if you have back problems.

4. Ditch It: Biceps Curls

Another little muscle working in isolation.

Switch It: Ease Downs

It’s half a pushup, and it’ll help get your arms into better shape if your form is tight. Face down on a mat, place your hands directly under your shoulders and straighten your arms. Extend your legs and plant your feet about hip-width behind you. Keep your back straight as you hold in the “up” position. Then, slowly lower your chest toward the mat. The slower the better. Do 3 to 10 times.

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