Exercise is a good thing, but not all exercises are good for you. When you work out, you want to get the full benefit of the exercise, and you certainly don’t want to do damage to your body. Unfortunately, some popular exercises just aren’t that great for you! Here are a few you should avoid, and why.

The Elliptical Machine

Don’t get me wrong, I love the elliptical, and when used properly is a great workout tool. The problem comes when people let themselves fall into a rut. Doing the same exercise day after day, at a slow steady pace will not provide the fat-burning workout you’re looking for. Instead, try to vary it up. Do the elliptical once or twice a week, but also include High Interval Intensity Training and some weight lifting. Your body will thank you!

Ab Crunch Machine

Sure, everyone wants defined abs, and the crunch machine sure feels like it helps. But the limited motion can cause lower back injury, including herniated discs in your spine! Instead of the machine, try traditional crunches, core-strengthening exercises like Pilates, or even work on a stability ball. Believe me, spend 10 minutes on one of those balls and you’ll feel the burn!

Leg Extension Machine

The guys using it might have big beefy leg muscles, but they may also be damaging their backs to get there. Instead, try doing squats, lunges, and hanging out in Chair Pose for a few minutes. You’ll work your leg muscles without risking injury.

Lat Pulldowns

Specifically, behind-the-neck lateral pulldowns. Using the machine in this manner can result in compressed nerves, which then leads to upper back and neck pain. You can still use the machine! Just be sure to pull the bar down to the front of your chest instead.

There you have it! A few workouts to switch out for some more effective and safer alternatives. What are the workouts you avoid, and what do you do instead?

Image Credit: Local Fitness