four Overrated Workout routines You In all probability Have in Your Power Coaching Routine

We’re often sold the idea that the training game should have a list of non-negotiables within it, especially when it comes to exercise choices that absolutely belong in your program, and then there are overrated exercises that don’t really belong in any strength training program.

To be clear, in virtually any circumstance, it’s important to remember that exercises are never the thing to be contraindicated—however, people are.  Every single exercise, in theory, has something good to offer, and it comes down to whether the movement causes more risk vs reward for the individual who decides to try it. Because of this truth, many can get caught up with force-feeding certain patterns that don’t seem to work for them, because a certain study or journal told them it’s important to do, and horrible to omit from your program.

Being good at a lift doesn’t necessarily mean the lift is good for you. Force-feed lifts, and sure, you’ll likely get better at them, but there’s a big difference between your body actually benefiting from a lift, and your body just tolerating one. These are a few overrated exercises that bring risk/reward into question for many who use them.


Overrated Exercise 1/1A: Barbell Squats and Deadlifts

For some, these may be surprise inclusions on the list. For others, I may have just dropped the bodyshaping bombshell of the decade.

Squatting and deadlifting are important skills to master, but using a barbell in a conventional version of each of those lifts and expecting the same outcome regardless of your body type and size is not smart training.

Moreover, the risk/reward is arguably the highest in these lifts, simply because they possess the capacity to have the highest amount of weight being lifted.

At the beginning of a lifter’s journey, when they have a massive amount of space between their current amount of strength and their potential strength, and aren’t particularly “strong” by the numbers, they have the most benefits to gain from lifting and progressing with big compound unforgiving movements like squats and deadlifts. But as they get better and stronger, the unforgiving implement they’re moving becomes heavier and heavier. As they get closer to their potential, they invite a greater amount of risk with every successful attempt.

If, at the very least, variations of the squat and deadlift aren’t explored (let alone full on substitutions), there’s a higher chance you’ll spend more time on the sidelines than you’d like.  Spend enough time in the industry or as a lifter, and you’ll see that most older, veteran lifters have pivoted from the big lifts in some way shape or form. They may still do them, but with a few adjustments compared to the way they used to.

If the name of the game is to be able to express your strength and train well for the long haul, then there’s no need to be a hero. Grab a trap bar for deads. Pull from an elevated surface. Use a couple of kettlebells to squat. Squat to a box.  Go a phase or two doing every lower body exercise imaginable that aren’t squats and deadlifts, before returning to them. Your body will probably thank you.

Skinny guy working out with a barbell bench pressNDAB Creativity

Overrated Exercise 3: Barbell Bench Press

Probably the king of upper-body movements as far as popularity goes, the barbell bench press remains a staple in most men’s routines. But this movement has its flaws.

  • It’s not a great indicator of true upper body strength
  • It’s not the healthiest movement for your shoulders
  • It’s not the greatest developer of the chest or triceps

Let’s go through these one by one.

First, laying flat on a bench to press weight away from the body is a standard procedure, but not too real-world applicable. Since we’re usually unsupported when it comes to upper body strength, whether that’s at work, in sport, or during basically any other mundane task you can think of, this isn’t a great indicator or expression of upper body strength compared to, say, a standing overhead press.

Second, an important thing to note is that the shoulder’s heath will be heavily reliant on both the stability and mobility of the shoulder blade (scapula). Although good bench press form asks the shoulder blades to be pinned to the bench and immovable, true shoulder health comes from something called scapulohumeral rhythm—which is the shoulder blade’s ability to move as the upper arm moves. Since this capability is being blocked by a typical bench press setup, it makes the lift less than healthy for the shoulder if practiced often. This is what makes patterns like pushups a better go-to.

Thirdly, since your hands are glued to a preselected, fixed position on a bar, this disallows your elbows and wrists to move freely to find the best angles to activate the chest and triceps, while avoiding angles that don’t agree with your shoulder construction. Plus, since the bar contacts the chest, you can’t get any deeper for a better quality stretch to the pectoralis muscles. For this reason, for hypertrophy purposes, opting for dumbbells to bench press would be the smarter call.

Fitness model working out his lower body and legs with a box jump exerciseArsenii Palivoda

Overrated Exercise 4: Advanced Plyometric Exercises

To be clear, this doesn’t mean your basic box jumps, hops, or bounds.

This means an elaborate mishmash of multi-phase explosive patterns that challenge multiple facets of a lifter’s athleticism, that are no doubt, too advanced for the lifter at their core. Beyond this, it’s important to know that most athletes aren’t doing these kinds of lifts either, especially not as major parts of their programming.

The fact of the matter is this: when it comes to being athletic and powerful, the overwhelming majority of us need to continue practicing the simplistic choices, because a) they work, and b) we probably don’t even have them in normal rotation for high frequency.

Before you do a band resisted, reactive depth jump-box jump—lateral hop—10m sprint combo, just focus on some foundational plyos and train your high-threshold units and energy systems well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *