I probably mentioned that I enjoy heavy lifting. I’ve done linear progression and Crossfit type activities most of the last year and a half and am currently on something similar with Outlaw programming (though Outlaw has more Olympic lifts – clean and jerk, snatch). While I really enjoy most of the programming and concepts of Crossfit and Outlaw, I’ve felt that both tend to employ a few exercises that are not good for our bodies. Though not included on the list below, I thought I’d include (butterfly) kipping pullups as they tend to destroy shoulders that aren’t strong enough. It’s probably a good thing if you don’t know what that is.
This post is putting the cart before the horse since I don’t think I’ve even done a fitness or weightlifting philosophy one. If I did, none of the five original exercises would even be considered and really most of what I would recommend are included below.
From T-Nation, here’s their list of Five Exercises to Avoid and some of my recommendations for alternatives:
1) Behind the neck shoulder press
Why?: shoulder joint range of motion at very edge, hard on joints
What to do instead: Do strict overhead press with barbell starting on front of shoulders like in a front squat. See below:
2) Barbell upright rows (similar to the Crossfit Sumo-Deadlift-High-Pull)
Why to avoid? Shoulder impingement. I’ve hated this exercise as it doesn’t feel “right”
What to do instead? The upright rows work traps and delts. How about some Olympic lifting (Cleans, Snatch)? Though technical, even half-assed versions of those will make towering traps and you’ll feel it in your shoulders (deltoids) as well.
3) Shrugs with a shoulder roll
Why to avoid? Doesn’t do much, you look dumb
What to do instead? Shrugs are ok, I’ve done them a few times in my life (without a shoulder roll) but again, if trying to build traps the cleaning movement is where it’s at.
4) Twisting situps
Why to avoid? Per the T-nation article, situps cause flexion putting pressure on intervertebral discs. Adding a twist to the mix pushes the nucleus pulposus (inner part of the disk) back and to the side where discs tend to herniate.
What to do instead? My abs get worked in several ways, choose your poison: Plank (either high-plank like pushup position or low-plank elbows on the ground, stiff body) hold as long as possible (and get all shaky before failing, so awesome!) Toes-to-Bar or Knees-to-Elbows: Hanging from a pullup bar, basically try and keep your legs straight and bring your toes to the bar. Alternatively, bend your legs and bring your knees to your elbows. Prepare to feel uncoordinated… and my favorite ab exercises are: Heavy Squats and Deadlifts: Your whole body gets strong doing these including powerful core and abs. I’m talking 3-5 reps where you’re really working, but build up to this over time and learn how to use good form if you haven’t done them before. Starting Strength is the best resource I’ve seen for breaking down form. Evil Wheels: These are my latest guilty pleasure. Take a barbell with bumpers or weights, get on your knees and stretch it out in front of you trying to put it as far out in front as possible, then pull it back. Ab destroyer if done correctly.
5) Stiff-legged Deadlift with a rounded back
Why? Do you want a herniated disk? These are just dumb
Instead? Not sure what the goal of this exercise even is (lower back strength?), but keep a flat back and do some light-weight good mornings or regular deadlifts if you want a strong back.
Be safe out there, learn proper technique and if it doesn’t feel right, stop.