CrunchesMany people with muffin tops folding over their jeans have bought into the myth that doing hundreds of crunches will tighten their tummy. After all, it makes your stomach muscles burn like crazy, so it must be doing something. However, crunches are perhaps the most overrated form of exercise that actually do very little for your figure. If you want to lose the fat, you need to do cardio to burn the calories. And if you want muscle tone and definition, activities like swimming, dancing, and tennis are better for you. Not only are they safer and less likely to cause back and neck problems, but they more effectively work your core as well. Crunches don't do a lot because they isolate your abs instead of working your core as a whole. Crunches are a waste of time - swap them out for something else.
Running StairsFirst of all, you need to find a large stairwell for it to be effective. It's not worth finding one because running stairs is hard on your lower body and is terrible for your back and knees. Plus, you get the same benefits from normal running.
The SupermanThis is the move where you lay flat on your tummy and lift your arms and legs off the ground. Any benefits that this move promises are of microscopic proportions since the range of motion is so small. You are more likely to throw out your back than accomplish anything meaningful with this move.
Wall-SitsThis exercise from purgatory should be removed from your workout regiment. They won't help you lose weight, and the muscular gains are miniscule. The only thing this move is good for is time-outs for naughty kids.
Seated Leg ExtensionsYour knees were never meant to handle the strain of raising heavy weights around your ankles. The risk of injuring your knees with this exercise is so high that it is simply not worth doing. If you want to strengthen your legs, lunges and squats are better and safer choices.
Not all exercises are created equal. Some are downright dangerous. If you want a workout that is safe and effective, nothing beats good old-fashioned walking or jogging. If you want a little more muscle resistance, you could try swimming or biking. As a basic rule-of-thumb, natural movements are generally safe while clumsy, forced movements can cause more problems than they are worth. The problem with these five exercises is that they are so commonly used that people automatically assume that they are good. When it comes to your health, don't buy into urban legends. Do what is right for your body.
This post was written by Brian S., writer for the National Council on Strength and Fitness. As a graduate from Rollins College, Brian's resourceful nature and diverse interests make him an excellent writer.