How useful are planks for advanced lifters
5 Mostly Overrated Exercises
Some exercises become so common that few people take the time to question their validity. Perhaps they started as specialized exercises to be used in specific contexts - for example, by patients in rehabilitation or by advanced bodybuilders who need the most difficult variations of certain movements. Some trainers noticed that the exercises for these specific trainees were being done in those specific situations and started moving the workouts towards the center so that they could be used by all. Over time, the exercises become a little too popular and ultimately end up being grossly overrated.(Image: baranq / AdobeStock)
Remember, however, that "overrated" does not mean "bad". It simply means that there are better choices than what are currently popular.
The ab-plank and the side plank(Image: WavebreakMediaMicro / AdobeStock)
The plank makes sense in yoga if you hold the plank pose for a few seconds and then move on to another pose. In rehab, too, it makes sense to create awareness of optimal body alignment in a static position.
And when the trainers started using it for beginners, it seemed like a great idea. Finally, people who play sports should be able to hold a plank with their body weight on their forearms and toes in the classic push-ups for at least 30 seconds.
However, the reason for this exercise is overrated because too often trainers recommend the beginner version without ever showing advanced and more useful exercises. Once you know what it feels like to have a properly aligned torso, and once you have basic stability, you need to move on to exercises that dynamically challenge your stability. That's what matters. Maintaining alignment while moving is the difference between injuring yourself and staying in the game.
Two examples of how to move planks and side planks from static to dynamic exercises are the pushups and the leash.
If you can hold a push-up position for 30 seconds, you might as well advance at a rate of 1010 up to 15 pushups. There are still 30 seconds in the plank position, but now you've added a dynamic challenge.
When you can do this, do 15 pushups with one foot off the floor and at the same pace. Then switch feet and do 15 more.
If these variations are easy to do, do 15 pushups at the same pace, lifting one hand off the floor after each rep. Then switch hands and do 15 more.
And when those are no longer challenging, start doing t-roll pushups like those included in the "Resources" section. T-roll pushups cover your front, side and rotary controls - all in one exercise. In addition, they build up a dynamic control that always has more sportiness than static variations.
The side plank is more demanding than the front plank and fewer people can hold it for 30 seconds on each side. However, when you get to a point where it's easy, the same principle applies: you have to learn to use this lateral stability in dynamic movements.
An excellent exercise is the leash with an unbalanced load. If you can walk at 35-lb. Dumbbells in each hand, try a 70-lb. Dumbbell in one hand.
It takes tremendous lateral stability to stay upright when the challenge comes from one direction. And as a bonus, you'll train your entire lower body as well as your entire body - and the gripping muscles in your hands and forearms aren't just there for the ride.
Hanging knee elevationHanging knee raises won't affect the entire area of your abs. (Image: Syda Productions / AdobeStock)
In some cases, advanced and advanced lifters get stuck on beginner exercises, but knee hanging is an example of the opposite situation: an advanced exercise that has become popular with intermediates.
The hanging knee riser is a good choice if your abs are strong enough to tilt your pelvis up from this position. In other words, you don't want to just raise your legs in the air. While this is a great way to exercise your hip flexors, it doesn't move your abs with all of the movement. To do this, you need to be able to lift your legs and tilt your pelvis upward.
It is extremely difficult. Therefore, only a few people who hang you by elbow straps and raise their legs in the air can complete the exercise. You could say the same for the knee lift from the captain's chair, which can be an even worse choice as you will be urged to stop the movement before you finish with the pelvic tilt.
First, try to do the hardest version of the reverse crunch exercise. If you can't do this, then you have no problem increasing leg raises because you are certainly not doing them well.
Lie on your back and hold a broomstick or something straight, firm, and light just above your chin. Your feet are bent from the floor with your knees at an angle of approximately 90 degrees. Roll your hips up and pull your knees towards your chest without lifting your head off the floor or moving the bar from the starting position.
If you are strong enough to do that, you are likely strong enough to hang knee raises. If not, reverse the crunches on the floor - or on a lowerable bench with your head higher than your hips - and focus on developing the strength to tilt the pelvis.
Grippy seat rope row
It is clear why lifters prefer to make narrow rows with the triangular attachment: They can use more weight and the contraction feels more intense in their entire shoulder girdle. This is because the shoulders are turned more inward, which includes the chest and shoulder muscles along with the lats. As you do the exercise, it will feel like you are using more muscle - because you are. Thanks to the neutral grip, you can also bring the elbow flexors into a stronger position.
But because you are giving up the last 2-3 inches of all your range of motion on a rowing exercise, your lats and traps won't be completely contracted.
If you want a better alternative, try a slightly wider row with a neutral grip if your gym has this attachment. If not, just use the PVC handles attached to the straps. What you can sacrifice in either of these two grip options, you will make up for in greater range of motion - and possibly more involvement of your middle traps and rhomboids in conjunction with your lats.
The leg press(Image: Minerva Studio / iStock / Getty Images)
Some bodybuilding trainers offer a passionate leg press defense, arguing that in some situations it is a good choice for some lifters. And that's actually true. However, the reverse is also true: In most situations, this is a poor choice for most lifters. Because when you do the leg press, you become part of a machine that resembles a giant accordion - with you in the middle. This is absolutely the wrong position when dealing with heavy weights. The higher you place your feet on the platform, the more hip flexion you will create. And the greater the hip flexion, the faster you lose the natural lordotic curve of the lower back. Just like you wouldn't deadlift with a rounded back, you also don't want to put a heavy weight on the leg press from this position.
If you feel like the back squats aren't hitting your quads hard enough, try the front squats. When these get boring, try split squats. These options are much safer for your back and have more impact on real and athletic activities.
There's no doubt about it: tire flips are one of the coolest exercises you can do. It's also one of the most dangerous moves, and a perfect example of a competition-specific exercise designed for advanced strength athletes who were just getting too popular.
Florida-based personal trainer Rob Simonelli agrees. "Tire flips are best for people who have to flip tires in some kind of power competition," he said.
Plus, hardly anyone has the hip mobility to get it right. Almost everyone, including strongman competitors, goes into lumbar kyphosis - a rounded lower back - when they bend over to grab the hoop.
World-renowned Boston-based strength coach Mike Boyle said, "Most people don't have bad backs. They have poor hip mobility that causes their backs to bend back."
When used as a training exercise, the goal is to train the chain muscles like the lower back and hamstrings. This is something that deadlifts are very good at.
The only real benefit to tire flips is the fact that they are often done outside where other people can see you doing these amazing badass exercises. But "because it's bad" isn't necessarily a good reason for it.
Always remember that the reason you exercise in the first place is to improve your health, strength, body, or posture. So focus on exercises that will help you achieve this goal and skip the ones that don't.
Bad exercises vs. bad applications
The catalog of overrated exercises covers a large area. The workouts, which were created for specific populations and specific contexts, but are now too widespread, are generally a disadvantage for most users. However, they are not harmful because they are bad workouts per se. There are simply better ways to practice. An exercise that you have outgrown, or that was not designed for people in your situation - or just because it looks cool - does not make for an effective workout.
On the other hand, there is no rule that you have to do the absolute best exercise for every muscle group or movement pattern every time you workout. Perhaps right now, at your current stage in training, one or all of these exercises are actually good choices for you. The secret is to assess yourself and your individual situation and then decide which exercises are best for you and which ones can be thrown out like an old tire.
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