1. Behind the neck pull-downs vs Traditional pull-downs
Stop doing. Generally speaking, pulldown exercises target the back muscles, which are a large muscle group that normally requires relatively heavy weight. The problem starts when you pull the weight behind the neck.
In this instance, you have no option but to crank your neck forward, putting lots of tension on it. Plus your shoulders get into a very awkward position. The reality is, behind the neck pull-downs have no particular advantages compared to traditional pull-downs, where you pull the weight down to your chest instead.
Start doing. Traditional pull-downs are a great exercise for your upper body strength, targeting the back and bicep muscles using the body’s natural position and moves that are more natural.
2. Tricep dips with hands behind you on the bench vs Tricep extensions
- Start by standing up with one dumbbell held in both hands and your feet shoulder-width apart;
- Lift the dumbbell over your head with your arms extended and elbows kept close to your head;
- Lower your forearms behind your head;
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
3. Tuck jumps vs Traditional jumps
Stop doing. This is where you do squats or burpees, then jump and tuck your knees up toward your chest. It may look cool, but it puts so much unnecessary stress on your knees and ankles without any real benefits.
Start doing. Jumping raises your heart rate and it’s beneficial for weight loss. If that’s what you are working on and you really like jumping at the end of squats or burpees, avoid tucking your knees. This way you still increase your heart rate, but don’t put too much pressure to your ankles and knees.
4. Crunches vs Plank
Start doing. We all love doing plank to different degrees. It’s one of the most beneficial exercises and you can always adjust it to your own level.
Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Lower your forearms to the floor and place your elbows directly under your shoulders;
There are a few variations of this exercise, so you can always adjust it to your personal comfort level.
- Standard Plank: stay on your hands instead of your elbows, keeping the arms straight
- Single-Leg Plank: lift one foot to hover off the floor
- Knee Plank: stay on your knees instead of your toes