Just a quick post today to outline some of the main time wasting offenders that can be found being performed in gyms across the land. If you’re a busy person (even if you’re not) you’ll want your workouts to be as efficient as possible, with a warm up and cool down you should be in and out of the gym in an hour maximum so there shouldn’t be time for pointless exercises.

See if any of the following make an appearance in any of your training sessions, if they do try swapping them for our alternatives to get better results in less time.

5 exercises that are a waste of time: Are you doing any of these exercises? Stop wasting your time in the gym and try our alternatives instead

1. The abdominal crunch: Why it’s a waste of your time

The goal of this exercise is to strengthen the abdominals, most people do them because they’re under the false assumption that enough of them will result in the elusive six pack, this is almost always not the case. For most of the population you’ll need to lose some fat if you want to see some abs go here to find out how. If you are looking to strengthen your abdominals there are far more effective exercises out there with much lower potential for injury.

Alternative exercise

Ab wheel roll outs are excellent, also check this article for my top 3 ab exercises.

2. Bosu or stability ball squats: why it’s a waste of your time

I believe the idea here is to increase difficulty through reducing the stability of the surface you’re standing on. I can’t argue with that but who really wants to be standing on something that moves unpredictably with a barbell on their back – what could possibly go wrong?

 Alternative exercise

The good old fashioned squat varieties with barbells, dumbbells or just your own body weight with your feet on solid, reliable ground. If you need more of a challenge just increase the weight or the amount of reps you do on each set.

3. Smith machine squats, bench press and deadlifts: why it’s a waste of your time

In theory this seems like a great idea, the fixed path of the machine allows you to move more weight and removes the need for a spotter as you can lock the bar at any point. Unfortunately the fixed path doesn’t allow for a natural plane of movement in the squat, bench or deadlift. This coupled with the fact that you’ll be tempted to use more weight than normal (because it feels easier) means that the smith machine is pretty terrible for your joints and carries a high risk of injury to shoulders and lower back.

Alternative exercise

Alternate between free barbell and dumbbell exercises to make sure your joints can move naturally and your stabilising muscles are getting worked too, the humble bodyweight press up and squat are also a good option if you’re sans gym.

4. Assisted pull ups and dips : why it’s a waste of your time

Like the smith machine this machine makes the normally quite challenging pull up and dip much more achievable by counter balancing your weight with weight selection on the machine, again you’d think this is a good thing but the fixed path nature of the machine can force your shoulder joints into positions they don’t want to be in which again can lead to a nasty shoulder injury.

Alternative exercise

Building up to full pull ups and dips by following our ‘how to guide to pull ups’

 5. Walking on a treadmill.

This is on a more personal note as it’s not strictly a total waste of time but I do not understand why people go to the gym to walk on a treadmill. The time passes twice as slowly, no fresh air to breath, nothing to look at. Unless the weather is horrible you should be walking outside!


No brainer. Go for a walk.

6. This


Literally anything else.