According To A Personal Trainer These 5 Exercises Don’t Really Do Anything

Wanna get lean? We found out which exercises are a total waste of your time and what moves you should do instead.

Woman working out

Making it to the gym on the regularly isn’t always easy. In fact, it takes real determination to make exercise a regular habit, so when you do get your sweat on you wanna make sure that all that hard slog isn’t going to waste and is instead bringing you one step closer to that toned, lean body that you’ve been dreaming off.

That’s why we spoke to Katriona Fox, a personal trainer at The Irish Strength Institute about what moves aren’t really all that effective, and what exercises you can do instead, meaning no time wasted during your next session.


“Commercial gyms have one thing in common,” says Katriona. “The overweight members occupy the treadmills, while the leaner gym goers fight for the squat rack. Jogging is not and never has been optimal for fat loss and it can be really demanding on your joints too.” Add to that, lots of jogging will cause muscle loss and can promote weight gain around your tummy, Katriona tells us.

The fix? Opt for sprints instead. They’ll fire up your metabolism and kick fat-burning into high gear.

Abductor machines

“This machine involves squeezing two pads together with your thighs while trying to avoid making eye contact with anybody else in the gym,” laughs Katriona. “Firstly the machines do not allow you to move adequate enough weight to really stress the muscle causing it to ‘tone’ or make it any stronger. Just because it hurts the area you want to change does not mean it is working.”

Instead, if you wanna target your inner thighs, Katriona recommends split squats.

Cable kick backs

You’ll certainly feel the burn with this butt-firming move, but that doesn’t mean it’s effective. Why so? “Your bum is the biggest muscle in your body, it needs a heavy weight to really challenge the muscle so that it will grow. Cable kickbacks cannot be done with a particularly heavy load,” Katriona explains.

The alternative? Give walking lunges a go for a denser derrière.

Bench tricep dips

Katriona’s really not a fan of this move. “Bench dips are a really good way of getting a shoulder injury,” she says. “Immediately your shoulder is put in a compromised position (internally rotating the humerus) and as you dip the strain only increases. A quick way of stopping your fat loss journey and completely demotivating yourself is with an injury. You should pick exercises that are not only going to help with fat loss, gain muscle and strength but ones that are also going to improve your posture and keep you injury free.”

Instead she recommends dips on v-shaped bars or close grip push ups.


It might be your fave-o class down the gym, but Katriona reckons it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. “Having sat at a desk all day with rounded backs, hip flexors shortening, hamstrings and glutes deactivating the best thing would be to get in the gym and try undo all of this. Unfortunately spinning only encourages it. The body is placed in a position that is pretty much identical to that at a desk.”

As a result, your legs hold on to fat in order to fuel your recovery, which means that spinning could very well be the reason that your legs aren’t lean.

“From a fat loss perspective it really is not that beneficial,” Katriona explains. “It might burn calories but it won’t help build muscle and it won’t do much to increase your metabolic rate in the same way that interval training does.”

Want something a little more effective? Try intervals on a prowler instead.


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