Yea, this one might upset some people but keep in mind that this is my personal opinion. This in no way means my opinion is the law on the matter. I have just noticed over the years that there are a few exercises that pretty much suck. And by suck, I mean the risk of injury is high, the return on one's investment (i.e. building muscle and getting you stronger) is low, and the general all around suck/stupid factor is off the charts. There are plenty of exercises to choose from out there, and it's easy to get confused on which ones are the best and which ones are the worst. I myself am old fashion and tend to stick to the basics. Don't fix it if it ain't broken, right? But if you're the type to love tons and tons of variety and also loves the feeling of crawling around on the floor, then you may not want to read any further.
DUMB USELESS EXERCISE #1
BURPEE (AKA FALL DOWN THEN STAND UP)
This is arguably the most loved/hated/feared exercise on the face of this earth. The name sends chills down people's necks and creates a nauseating feeling in a person's stomach before even doing one of them. And at the same time it has become the NEW "How much can you bench?" of bragging rights ("How many burpees can you get in a min?") It's also the go-to punishment choice for most trainers and coaches due to the fact that they suck really, really bad. The "claimed" benefits of this exercise are: Full-body muscle development, shoulder builder, core blaster, leg toner and the be all end all of all exercises and possibly the second coming. Now in my humble opinion, I will list what a burpee's PROS AND CONS ARE:
1. Teaches you how to get up quickly when you fall face down from drinking too much. Or to get up from being knocked down at a concert and are embarrasd so you play it off by jumping up fast like you meant to.
2. If you can't sleep because you are not tired, do some of these and you should go right to sleep due to extreme fatigue.
3. If you naturally are not strong and bench press doesn't seem to be your thing you can convince your "strong" friends this is the ultimate exercise and only "in shape" people can do them without throwing up. All the while you are tricking them to throw up. (This option is my favorite)
1. Really quick way to throw your back out, hurt your knees and possibly destroy your shoulder (due to the fact that not one person in the world performs burpees the same way so there isn't really a "correct" form).
2. There is absolutely no way to look cool doing them. You can't even put this in slow motion with epic music tracked on to help with the stupid factor.
3. Just don't do them any more. It's like most of the music in the 80's... let's just pretend most of it never happened and just move on.
1. PUSH UPS - One of the single best exercises for developing the upper body and midline stabilization.
2. PLANKS - nothing gets the core stronger than these bad boys. Tons of variations: perform them on rings, TRX Straps, side planks.
3. HILL SPRINTS, ROWING SPRINTS OR SLED SPRINTS - This is for the people that enjoy throwing up.
The burpee has a "cult-like" following. Understand if you do them that you are only doing them for this nostalgic feeling. There are plenty of other exercises that build more muscle, stamina, and core strength. I personally believe it is one of the most ineffective exercises out there for building actual muscle and burning fat. But people are going to believe what they want.
DUMB USLESS EXERCISE #2
BEAR CRAWLS AND CRAB WALKS (AKA BEING AN INFANT AGAIN)
I have never understood either one of these. I have voluntarily done tons of both of these, and I can tell you that I didn't gain anything other than an aching back, neck, wrist, and I hyper-extended my elbows. This is probably the 2nd most used exercise for "professional bootcamp" instructors to use due to the fact that it requires no equipment and crawling around a floor is exhausting (there is a reason why we walk everywhere). The "claimed" benefits to this exercise are similar to the burpee. It supposedly is a whole body toner, calorie burner, and I even read that it works on "hand eye coordination" (what the hell does that mean?). The funniest thing about these two exercises is even though they are one of the most popular ass kickers to choose from, the "bootcamp instructors" do not perform themselves. Huh? Well either way here is the list of pros and cons:
1. Learn to be a child again
2. You might be able to audition for Spiderman or Night Crawler
3. Learn to sneak up on your spouse behind the couch and scare the living crap out of them. (Voted FRANKLIN STRENGTH'S Personal Favorite)
1. Every single thing about these exercises
2. Stop doing them please.
1. PUSH UP VARIATIONS - Close Grips, Spider Push Ups, Wide Push Ups, TRX Push Ups, Ring Push Ups
2. Sled Push - Any form of pushing for lower body development
3. Inverted Rows - On rings or trx straps
4. Renegade Rows
5. Pretty much anything else
There is a really good quote I was once told by a very wise man.. "Just because something is hard doesn't make it optimal." Stop fooling yourself that crawling around on the ground is the BEST way to build muscle and burn fat. Most of the times the only reason to choose this exercise is to SPICE things ups and make you tired. Forget spice! Master the basics and once you perform like Bruce Lee then we can start your damn ninja training. But til that day comes... leave the crawling to the babies.
DUMB USELESS EXERCISE #3
BOX JUMPS (AKA ACHILLES HEAL)
**PLEASE READ ENTIRELY BEFORE YOU LOSE YOUR MIND**
Box Jumps are the holy grail to see who is a better impersonation of a spider monkey (or a lemur). It technically doesn't have a lot to do with how high you can jump (not a vertical test) but rather how high you can bring your knees up. And now in today's exercise world, people are using these as a calorie burning and cardiovascular test. They are actually jumping on to the box, jumping off, and then jumping on again (hence why we call it "Achilles heal", because you will pop it). There is not much aesthetic development, unless you're looking to sculpt your calves and feet (great for hobbits). This exercise, if implemented and taught correctly, can be somewhat useful in creating hip explosion for various sports. But we aren't really talking about sports. Because let's face it... most of us are has-beens, never-was, maybe in a different life, washed up ex-weekend warriors looking to fit into some nice clothes and look good naked. So I don't want you to think we should completely retire this movement. With that said here are the pros and cons:
1. Mandatory movement for anyone performing or learning Parkour.
2. Possibly the only exercise on the planet that will burn more calories due to increase of heart rate from fear of slicing your shins wide open (the people with scars know what I'm talking about).
3. Great Exercise to throw into a really tough "workout" to remind us how tired we are. EXAMPLE: 100 yard bear crawl 100x burpees and 100xBox Jumps As many rounds as possible in 1 hour.
1. You will eventually slice your shin wide open.
2. We really aren't spider monkey or lemurs.
3. If you jump off and jump back on a lot you will hurt you achilles.
4. See number 1.
1. Jump Rope - One of the best conditioning tools on the planet. And no I'm not talking about doing tricks with the damn thing. I mean simple old school jumping rope.
2. Broad Jump - Much better at creating explosive hips for athletes.
3. Jumping on a trampoline - for the people that just like to jump around and you won't have to fear busting your shins open.
"THE JUICE IS NOT WORTH THE SQUEEZE". This exercise really isn't worth the risk. Save yourself, your shins, your embarrassing stories of why and how you popped your Achilles tendon and just do not do this one. Do yourself a favor and buy a jump rope or a trampoline (get a short one so you don't jump too high and fall off. I know you "extreme exercisers" will find a way to ruin that for everyone also.)
For the people that are outraged about this article because you are a person that performs these exercises and love them or you are a trainer/fitness instructor/elite exerciser and teach others how to perform these, please send your complaints to our complaint department. We will do our best to get back you as soon as possible. But in the mean time... just keep doing them. We are not law makers nor are we geniuses (Coach Rick might be). We are Observers that test EVERYTHING on ourselves and our clients. We keep what works the best for a specific goal. Whatever you do... never believe everything you read. Just go out and test it for yourselves.