Even though we may find inspiration from professional or Olympic athletes, often the way they train is very sport specific. Meaning they are performing exercises designed to improve their athletic performance or to improve a specific skill set. Their training programmes are also designed for top athletes who generally would have a great range of mobility, explosive power, good co-ordination and many years of high level training.
For the majority of the public, who’s primary goal is either weight loss or increased strength and energy, a lot of the “fancy” exercises may look good, but are probably not going to be the most effective way to reach your goal.
Here are four examples of fancy exercises best saved for elite athletes.
1. Wood chops on a Bosu ball
I see this all the time in gyms. PT’s will get their clients balancing on top of a Bosu ball, whilst trying to perform cable wood chops. This may look very creative and if improving your balance is one of your goals then it’s possibly more relevant, but most people would get more core stimulation if they were to ditch the Bosu and just do a standard wood chop, primarily as they don’t have to worry about falling off, and can increase resistance and mind muscle connection to the core and abs.
2. Leg Kickbacks
This is an exercise I see mainly woman performing in the hope that it will build and shape their glutes. In reality, it is the good old-fashioned exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts or machines such as the leg press that are going to really make a difference. In order to make a change in your body you do need a load! Kickbacks would be better placed as a superset or finisher exercise or to stimulate glute activation prior to heavy weighted legs exercises.
3. Dumbbell chest press on a swiss ball
Let me stress. Not a bad exercise, but doing the same movement with the stability and support of bench will allow you to press heavier weights, resulting in a greater metabolic effect as well as more muscle stimulation for the chest.
4. Superman planks
This is fine to do if you have the core strength and stability, however most people will do these whilst rocking their hips side to side and letting their lower back dip down in the process, resulting in very little core muscle activation and therefore a standard plank would be a simpler way of actually feeling the abs working.
The take away from this blog is that although all exercises have a place, think about what your end goal is and remember that sometimes the most effective exercise is the simpler one that you can perform with correct technique.