Home Fitness Tips Seven Things You Should Stop Doing in the Gym, Immediately

Seven Things You Should Stop Doing in the Gym, Immediately


  1. I’d love a discussion on how to develop strong abdominals without ever being horizontal or sitting on the ground. I can think of only a few effective “vertical” ab moves that work great, and limiting oneself to only a few exercises would, if I don’t miss my guess, not be the most sufficient way to build definition.

  2. Besides vertical leg crunches in any variety, um, no I’m not kidding, there are not many. EVERY professional ab workout worth doing (Insanity cardio abs, P90X Ab Ripper, ABS 10, etc) consists 95% of horizontal ab work. All I’m saying is horizontal ab exercise works great and I’d love some evidence to the contrary rather than just stating it.

  3. Hey Nate,
    I will jump here and presume to answer for Sal. What I think he means is that doing your abs lying down is a part of what for want of a better term might be called old school body building theory. You know , isolate a muscle , smash it , grow it and all the bits come together to make a stronger whole.
    Theories of functionality however say work a muscle in the way it operates in real life in conjunction with all the other muscles used in a given movement. Abs (and many other core muscles)are not dynamic , they operate as a postural stabiliser in the kinetic chain to enable dynamic movement. Big difference in practical terms. If all you want is good looking abs and to get really good at crunches and leg lifts by all means go right ahead. If however you are looking for functional strength and power and a whole lot more variety and fun in your workouts,stand up and be counted!! Heres just a short list of the top of my head , the torsonator, kettlebells, sledge hammer training, all of the strong man lifts,pretty much any form of rope training, those ball thingies with rope on them , need I go on? All of these things have been around since Noah was a lad and they all make for strong, functional abs

    • Neil
      Great job and thanks for jumping in. You are correct. There is a saying that some of the best coaches use; “All proper training is core training.” Gravity is the major factor in the effectiveness of an exercise, so performing a horizontal exercise will only improve function when the body is in the horizontal position. And there are plenty of exercises in addition to what Neil mentions, that will strengthen the abdominal region.

  4. Neil, thank you for the suggestions, and all of those exercises look very fun and appealing, although they all seem like full body workouts (which is great, but not isolating the abs as much as horizontal ab work). Kettlebells are a type of weight and not an exercise (unless I miss my guess) and the torsonator is $250 (ouch). Sledgehammer training looks very effective as a full body workout. These are all great suggestions, but I was asking more about isolated abs work.
    Sal, I think it stands to reason that doing abs work horizontally strengthens your abs in general, not just in a horizontal position. All I’m saying is, after doing millions of crunches, your abs are gonna be pretty tough whether you are horizontal, standing, running, jumping, etc. It’s not like all the work you’ve done is useless unless you lie down.

  5. Sigh!!! Ok Nate what we have here is a failure to communicate. I repeat , if isolation of a muscle is your main goal then situps etc. are as good a way as any. No argument. The question then becomes is isolation a good way to produce safe /effective/functional/ dynamic movement.
    Whenever we are physically challenged for heavy lifting or dynamic movement we instinctively know to spread the load throughout the kinetic chain. Body builders call this cheating. Every physical movement we do uses a unique combination of muscle fibres and that is controlled by the mind. Motor patterns get imprinted by simple repitition. The number, size and type of fibres recruited all affect our ability to perform at the required level.Repeatedly overemphasising one isolated muscle group means we do not get better at using the neural pathways we need for functional movement.Its called specificity and its why the guy who is strongest at the bench press or can do the most situps is rarely the guy who can produce the most power with the most precision on the sports field. Its why the guy with the best looking abs or the biggest biceps isnt necessarily the one who gets to walk out of the cage.
    Yes kettlebells are a type of weight but the vast majority of kettlebell exercises stress the core heavily in the most functional way possible.That is one of the reasons they have come back in such a big way.
    Athletes have been sticking an olympic bar in the nearest corner for aeons and swinging,twisting and thrusting for decades and it is a serious core challenge. In the last few years somebody decided to call it a torsonator and charge more for it. Thats marketing for you.
    Dont take my word for it , google Stuart Mcgill,the Canadian back rehab expert and trainer of world class power athletes. See what he has to say about isolation of muscles and core training in particular. Oh alright I will save you the bother , he says that body building theory and isolation of any group of muscles is toxic to safe and effective motor patterns.
    So why is this mindset about ab training still so predominant in the publics mind. Funny creatures human beings!!!

  6. Why would you say that we shouldn’t work with fitness trainers that starts the workout routine with some abs workout? Almost everyone I know starts either starts with abs or ends with it.


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