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Fitness & Health

10th Aug 2020

The most overrated (and underrated) gym exercises of all time

Alex Roberts

Take a second look at that workout programme.

You aren’t blessed with an infinite amount of time to train. So it’s essential you pick the gym exercises that get results while minimising the risk of injury.

We asked the UK’s number one ranked CrossFit athlete Zack George to outline the most overrated and underrated exercises of all time.

The most overrated gym exercises

1. Lat pulldown

“I’d say any sort of back machine should be on here.

“You could use a lat pulldown for as long as you want, but still not be able to do a pull-up. There’s just very little crossover for that sort of scenario.”

2. Fixed squat rack or Smith machine

“Any sort of fixed squat or Smith machine. It’s just horrendous, such a false movement.

“It’s just so different to a free, barbell back squat. You could spend a year doing squats in a Smith machine and be no closer to nailing a proper squat than when you started.”

3. Rebounding box jump

A standard box jump is fine, but with a rebounding one, you immediately jump backwards to the start position. And then repeat, without rest.

“There’s a high level of risk with this,” says George.

“I’ve seen or know a lot of people who’ve snapped their Achilles doing that movement. Thankfully, you don’t see it much more in CrossFit due to the risk element.”

The most underrated gym exercises

Now the negative stuff is out of the way, it’s time to consider the most underrated gym exercises. According to George, these three moves provide the biggest bang-for-your-buck:

Burpees Ab Workout

1. Burpees

Most seasoned gym goers have a love-hate relationship with burpees. While you might shy away from including them in your routine, George says they should take centre stage.

“You can do them anywhere, you don’t need any kit.

“They are great for cardiovascular gains but also work your chest and triceps, and it’s a full body movement.”

2. Thrusters

“I love thrusters. They’re extremely painful.

“You can do them with 30 kilos for high reps and it’s absolutely horrendous, or you can do it with 110 kilos and develop raw strength. They are great for legs, shoulders and triceps.”

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3. Assault bike

“Brutal piece of kit, great cardio in interval form and blasts the quads. I just love it.”

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