Your Favorite Exercises Aren’t Working (And What To Do Instead)

To get fit, are you invested in reps of crunches or challenging your friends to wall sits? If so, you aren’t actually doing that much good for your body. While common, these exercises aren’t the most effective, and you’re better off trying something else. Let’s break it down:

Crunches < planking 

Crunches are a pretty common exercise because they don’t require equipment, but most people are doing them wrong. Crunches with a bad form can do more harm than good, and there are way more effective ways to work out your core. That’s what the military thinks, anyway, and they spent six years creating a new fitness test that eliminated crunches and sit-ups. Instead of crunches, you should try planking exercises. Planking uses more muscles evenly, and you’re less likely to hurt your back. 

A standard plank

Russian twist < side plank 

The Russian twist is basically a take on a sit-up, so it makes sense it isn’t the best choice. It comes with all the lower-back risks that regular sit-ups do. Instead of a normal twist, do a side plank. Bring your arm that’s in the air down and under your body, so your upper body is parallel to the ground, and your arm is just under your chest. Rotate back to your original side plank position. You get the twist motion for your abs, but it’s much better on your lower back.

Wall sit < dumbbell squat press 

Wall sits are all about how long you can sit against a wall, but there aren’t a lot of benefits. First off, they don’t mimic any movement you naturally make. Sure, they might require endurance, but so does the dumbbell squat press, which is a better choice according to at least one trainer. Holding one dumbbell with both hands close to your chest, squat down, and then stand straight again. Lift the weight above your head.