When it comes to constructing the ultimate weight training program to build muscle, exercise selection is a very important component. You build muscle fastest with compound weight training exercises. Any bodybuilding program that focuses on machines and isolation weight training exercises is a complete waste of time.
Below are the worst weight training exercises on the planet and should be avoided at all costs if you want to build muscle fast.
1) Smith Machine Squats- Squats are one of the best weight training exercise you can do in order to build muscle fast. Doing them on a Smith machine however, is a huge mistake. Squatting in a Smith machine is very hard on the knees and causes the lifter to develop what is known as a pattern overload syndrome. The smith machine isolates the legs while taking the trunk out of the movement. In a normal free weight squat your lower back and abs must stabilize the weight and every muscle group must work in unison. This is how the body functions, as a unit, never in isolation. This can lead to severe imbalances and injuries.
2) Leg Extensions- Compound weight training exercises are the best muscle building exercises there are. Leg extensions are an isolation movement which do very little to build muscle. This movement also creates shearing forces on the knee and should be avoided at all costs.
3) Abduction/ Adduction machines- This is the one where you sit with your legs spread and strapped into the machine. You perform this weight training exercise by opening up or spreading your legs and then closing them. This is another isolation movement which will do nothing to build muscle. On top of that, you will look like a girl if you do it.
4) Abdominal Crunch Machines- The abs never work in isolation in the real world. In fact, the abs do not ever contract consciously. They contract unconsciously as a way to protect the spine. The abdominal muscles never work without the use of the hip flexors yet these isolation crunch machines are specifically designed to take the hip flexors out of the movement. For these reasons, this is a very ineffective weight training exercise for building muscle.
5) Ab Roller Devices- This apparatus is a version of the aforementioned crunch machines and is another useless piece of equipment. This device takes the neck completely out of the movement which is exactly what you don't want to do. Contracting and or flexing the muscles of the neck during an abdominal crunch is exactly what you want to be doing and is physiologically correct. Another waste of time in the quest to build muscle fast.
6) Smith Machine Bench Press- The bench press is a great muscle building exercise but doing it in the Smith machine is not a good idea. Much like the Smith Machine Squat, this exercise will cause you to develop a pattern overload and will lead to injury. Pressing on the Smith Machine isolates the pressing muscles and completely eliminates the use of the stabilizer muscles, such as the rotator cuff. This will lead to imbalances that can transfer to serious shoulder injuries. You can't build muscle when you are injured.
7) Bench Dips- This is another weight training exercise that I did for many years and now regret. I routinely did this exercise with four 45 pound plates on my lap. Little did I realize at the time that bench dips put your shoulder in a very dangerous position and can eventually lead to serious problems. While this exercise is useful in building muscle it is also dangerous. If shoulder safety is a concern I recommend that you avoid this exercise and stick with parallel bar dips for building muscle.
Concentration Curls- When it comes to weight training and building muscle, everybody's favorite bodypart is biceps. Chin ups and barbell curls are the best weigth training exercises for building huge biceps. Concentration curls are not. This is a pure isolation movement which supposedly puts a "peak" on your biceps. The only problem with that is the fact that it is physiologically impossible to peak your biceps. Muscles grow evenly along the entire length of the tissue from origin to insertion. When looking at the effectiveness of an exercise one of the key determinants in the results that it may produce is the amount of weight that can be lifted. In a concentration curl it is very difficult to lift a great deal of weight and thus it renders the movement ineffective. If you want to build huge biceps, avoid concentration calls.
9) Bench Press to the Neck- This was a big favorite muscle building exercise of Larry Scott and Vince Gironda. It was supposedly a great muscle building exercise for the upper or clavicular pectoral muscles. The problem with this movement is that it will absolutely destroy the shoulders and can easily lead to a pec tear. This is one movement that you should stay very far away from in your quest to build muscle fast.
10) Old School Pec Dec-This is the supposed muscle building exercise machine which has you bend your arms ninety degrees while externally rotating. You place your arms on the pads and then proceed to bring the pads together in front of your body. This is not only dangerous for the shoulder but is absolutely useless and will not build muscle at all.
11) Knee Break Squats- As mentioned earlier, the squat is the best weight training exercise there is for building muscle. Some trainers and coaches have advocated initiating a squat by first breaking at the knees rather than the hips in an effort to put more stress on the quadriceps muscles. The problem is that this also puts unnecessary stress on the knees and severely limits the amount of weight that can be lifted. Squats should be initiated by first breaking at the hips and sitting back and down, not by breaking at the knees and pushing your knees forward as you descend.
These weight training exercises are listed in no particular order. Unfortunately there are many other weight training exercises that are performed on a routine basis by many lifters that are also useless and dangerous. Those listed above just so happen to be the worst. If a weight training exercise causes pain, you should always avoid it. If a weight training exercise is supposed to target a certain muscle group in isolation and requires you to use extremely light weights it is usually best avoided. The exception to this rule would be prehab and rehab type exercises such as external rotation exercises for the rotator cuff.
Train hard, train smart and focus on the big, basic, compound weight training exercises and you will build muscle fast.
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