Knowing When An Exercise Is Actually Worth Doing

August 12, 2020

I've decided to spend less time bashing exercises that I hate (ladder training and burpees especially), and instead focus on decided when an exercise is actually worth doing (except burpees).

Exercise selection is all about putting a string of exercises together that accomplish a task, such as:

- Helping tone a muscle
- Burning calories
- Improving general fitness
- Recover from injury

These are all quite common reasons why you might want to perform an exercise. Another reason is to improve your confidence.

However, in life, we come across some exercise which, even the most untrained individual might look at and think, what in the flying frog monster is that?

I've compiled a list of these exercise for you to look at. Some of them you may know and love, and the others, well, you can let me know. Cool? Cool.

First up is the burpee. The burpee is that exercise that everybody hates, and for good reason too.

Now you might be thinking, 'But a burpee is awesome, it wears me out! and I love it!'

Yes, I get that, but wouldn't you rather an exercise helped you get fitter or stronger, as opposed to just wear you out?

You don't take driving lessons hoping to get as close to 30mph as you drive through a speed camera do you? No, you drive sensibly so you avoid getting points.

With burpees, if you perform 10 burpees as a finisher at the end of every session, with little to no improvement in your fitness, do you really think it's helping you?

Let's look at the burpee in more detail.

It is essentially a push up to standing position, into a vertical jump.

Can you actually do a full range of motion push up?

If you can't, that should tell you whether or not you should do a burpee.

Let's say you do 10 burpees, or at least you aim to do 10 burpees. There needs to be some quality in a set of reps of an exercise, regardless of the exercise.

With burpees, you will probably get very tired very quickly, and you form will deteriorate

You've gone from performing 1-2 high quality reps, into performing another 5-6 absolutely shoddy reps.

What's worse is that not only will you probably end up feeling crappy about yourself, but you are also more likely to injure yourself.

Burpees are considered a great method for burning calories, but really, there isn't a whole lot of movement going to to constitute a huge calorie burn. A push up, into a jump, that's all it is.

You are burning the muscle out sure, but at what cost?

I would suggest you try the following exercises instead.

Push Ups (and if you can't, incline push ups)
Single Leg Jump Squats
Two Legged Jumps

Next Up

This one is aimed that general people with a desire to use exercise to get fitter and healthier and stronger.

Any lower body work with a BoSU Ball

Unless you are training to rehab your ankle with a physiotherapist and using a BoSU ball that way, or 'training your core', a BoSU ball really isn't doing a whole lot.

So you might hear that BoSU ball training is great for balance and proprioception because of the requirement for the brain to fire more motor units and recruit more muscle fibres to stabilise a joint?

Well, you know what also does this?

Lower body weights, such as Bulgarian Split Squats, or barbell squat, or walking lunges, or hip thrusts, or trap bar deadlifts.

The different is, that not only are they good at involving the core to protect the back, but they also tone your muscles up.

Last But Not Least

Drum roll please.........................

Kettlebell swings into front raise.

A kettlebell swing is designed to train your glutes, not your lower back, not your shoulders, not your quads, your glutes.

An Actual Kettlebell Swing

 

 

Crossfit or American KB Swing

 

 

How So?

If you notice anybody doing a kettlebell swing properly, and you have a basic understanding of bio-mechanics, you will notice that the kettlebell constantly moves into the direction of an arc, from between the thighs and just below the groin, to about chest height.

This is because when you hold a kettlebell in your arms, they are restricted to the rotation of the shoulders, since that is where the origin of the movement of the kettlebell swing comes from.


I mean, if you had a detachable arm and it came off as the kettlebell was heading up as you swung up, where would the kettlebell end up?

That's right, somewhere in front of you.

In order to get the kettlebell from just under your groin, to out in front of your chest, you need to push your hips forward, and to do that, you need to extend the hips.

Hip extension is caused by the glutes, which is not to be confused by back extension, which is the lumbar spine.

So why not just do normal kettlebell swings, build the glutes up by going heavier every week, and at the same time REALLY improve your fitness?  

Please Note that I'm not bashing these exercise, or at the very least trying to, you have every right to do an exercise to your hearts content, but it's important to really look into what exercises you are doing so that the quality is always there.



 

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