Let’s face it, over the last decade or so, it’s pretty safe to say that basic training principles have started to steadily decline, with more and more people starting to follow slightly less convention exercises and training routines. That isn’t to say that these unique, and at some times, even bizarre training principles aren’t effective, it’s just that, well, some of them aren’t and some of them are just pointless or downright dangerous. We all know just how beneficial exercise can be, and we all train based upon our different goals and objectives. For example, a sprinter will not be training in the same way as a powerlifter, just as a bodybuilder will not be training in the same way as a marathon runner. Despite this however, by taking certain principles from each activity, moulding them and shaping them into our own, we can create some pretty interesting, enjoyable, and effective training principles and exercises. Just look at CrossFit for example. A decade ago there was very little known about CrossFit, nowadays however, there are CrossFit centres opening up all over the world, and many athletes are crediting it, or rather the training principles and exercises, with saving, prolonging, and improving their careers. The basic idea behind these principles is to take different variations of each exercise, and combine them together to improve strength, stamina, endurance, flexibility, and more. The problem however, is that like all things in life, some people have tried to be too clever, or have just acted irresponsibly, and have created exercises that are not only pointless and ineffective, but are also in some cases, extremely dangerous too. Here’s a look at just five examples of what we’re talking about.
Rebound box jumps
Box jumps in general are a fantastic exercise when it comes to generating explosive speed, power, and technique, whilst simultaneously working on flexibility in the process. Rebound box jumps however, are pretty pointless as they not only offer no further benefits of improvements upon box jumps in general, but in reality they’ve been shown to be less practical, and more seriously than that, far more dangerous as well. With basic box jumps, you will go from a stationary position and will basically jump onto a box, before repeating the process to get back down, but in reverse, I.E jumping backwards. You will then take a few seconds, compose yourself, and go again. With rebounding box jumps however, you will jump up, jump back down backwards, but this time as soon as your feet hit the ground, you will jump right back up, as if you were bouncing back up. The problem with this exercise is that it puts an enormous amount of strain and pressure on your Achilles tendon, making it highly vulnerable and putting you at risk of suffering a torn Achilles as a result. There have been countless injuries to the Achilles tendon caused thanks to rebound box jumps, so the best advice we can give is to stick with basic box jumps.
Exercise ball squats
You know exercise balls, right? Those large, often grey or red, inflatable balls you see in gyms that people can lay down on and use to perform various exercises such as sit ups or push ups. Exercise balls are very beneficial and effective pieces of equipment when used correctly, but the problem is that some people simply don’t use them correctly. For example, there are personal trainers across the globe that actually teach their clients to squat whilst being stood on these balls. Some people even take things further and will squat on these balls whilst holding dumbbells, or kettlebells, or having a barbell with heavy weight across their necks. Some trainers will swear by these exercises and will use fancy words and technical terms to try to justify them, but in reality, these exercises are incredibly dangerous. Squats in general are fantastic exercises, which you can perform using your own bodyweight, or with dumbbells, barbells, or even kettlebells. Imagine balancing on an exercise ball however, with a 135 lb barbell on your shoulders. All it would take is one slip and you could potentially lose your life. Even balancing on the balls with no weights is hard enough, and in reality you should basically stick with regular squats as the risks far, far, outweigh the pros.
Jumping jack presses
Jumping jack presses are pretty much exactly as they sound. An individual will grasp a dumbbell in each hand, will get into a standard standing dumbbell shoulder press position, but as they press the dumbbells up into the air, they will extend their legs outwards and perform a jumping jack whilst pressing the weight. Why!? There is absolutely no additional benefit to these exercises at all, and in fact, they’re considered a total waste of time and very dangerous. Some trainers will convince you that they’re the perfect combination of cardio and resistance training simultaneously, but in reality they’re far, far too dangerous. Not only is your lower body at risk, so too is your upper body. When pressing any weight, or simply when using any weights for that matter, perfect form and technique is vital, but how on earth can you practice perfect form if your jumping into the air at the same time as pressing the weights? If you want to shoulder press, shoulder press, and if you want to perform jumping jacks, then perform jumping jacks, heck, you could even super-set shoulder presses with jumping jacks, but don’t combine the two into one exercise as it is far too dangerous.
Assisted pull ups
Pull ups are fantastic compound exercises that add mass, tone muscles, build strength, and work multiple muscle groups at once. The problem is that they are pretty difficult, especially if you’re slightly heavier, or simply aren’t that great at performing them. To get around this, people will either use special machines that they rest their knees on which help them to perform the exercise, or they’ll have a spotter help lift their knees during the exercise. If you’ve ever had help performing a pull up, you’ll know just how easy they become, and that’s the problem, they’re too easy and you basically do not get any benefit from them at all. If you can’t perform unassisted pull ups, the best advice we can give is to find suitable alternatives and try to focus on getting stronger so that you can one day perform them, because assisted variations are total wastes of time.