Want to Lose Inches? 7 Bodybuilding Exercises to Avoid
There’s some confusion in the workout world when it comes to losing inches. This goal requires lots of cardio and resistance training, but all too often, we end up doing inch-increasing bodybuilding exercises instead. When this happens, you end up building up muscle instead — a counter to the inch-losing goal you previously set. Like, if you start doing crunches to trim down your waistline, only to find that crunches can actually add to your midsection. (More on that in just a second.)
The best way to remedy this is to steer clear of some muscle-building exercises that are going make you bulk up. Here are seven exercises you should avoid if your goal is to lose inches.
1. Squats with weights
This all-encompassing lower body workout is great for targeting every muscle from your backside down to your calves. Squats are not, however, an ideal workout if you want to lose inches, especially if you do them with a barbell. As Chron.com explains, losing weight in the glute or thigh region isn’t possible without a healthy meal plan and a cardio-centric workout. If you want to implement lower body exercises into your workout a couple times a week to stay strong, consider a cardio workout with lunges, or weight-free squats.
2. Tricep dips
Streamlining your arms takes a mix of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training. But you have to be cautious of doing too much strength training if you don’t want super-human arms. And tricep dips, while a fantastic exercise, are tailored to build muscle. If your goal is to make your arms more slender, focus on more aerobic exercises that target fat loss. Livestrong.com breaks down the perfect arm-slimming regimen, which includes cutting empty calories out of your diet — so you burn more calories than you consume — as well as using light dumbbells and yoga poses to get your arms into shape.
3. Standing rows
Rowing is one of the most misunderstood exercises out there. On one hand, it’s an upper body exercise that works every muscle from your arms to your core and burns calories. However, not every rendition of this exercise is created equal. The standing row, in particular, is more of a muscle-building exercise than a calorie-burner. If you’re looking to lose inches but stay toned, try actual rowing, which is more aerobic.
There aren’t many well-known back exercises out there. So when looking up exercises to zap back flab, deadlifts will probably pop up. But in addition to having a high injury rate, this exercise isn’t the best choice for losing inches. In fact, the work that deadlifts do on your core and lower back region is more likely to add inches. Long story short: If losing inches is your goal, avoid this exercise altogether.
This one is a bit tricky, as cycling can be a weight loss tool. It all depends on the kind of riding you are doing. A long ride with just a bit of resistance, mixed with a healthy diet, can definitely make you more trim. But, as Chron.com points out, extensive training will make you build quad and calf muscles that will feel restricted in a tight pair of jeans. Plus, beginning cyclists have a tendency to overeat, which is going to add bulk to your midsection.
If trimming down is your goal, focus on riding on flat roads — instead of uphill — and cross-training with another exercise like swimming.
6. Using the lat machine
Many people turn to this one as a way to target back and arm flab. But, as you might have guessed, your gym’s lat pull-down contraption isn’t a good tool for losing inches. It is an exercise for building upper-body strength after all. What’s worse is this is one of the most misused pieces of gym equipment out there, and it often leads to injury. “The lat pull-down places a lot of stress on the anterior joint capsule of the shoulder, and can eventually lead to impingement or even rotator cuff tears,” physical therapist Jessica Malpelli told Life by Daily Burn. The better option here is to hit the rowing machine or take an aerobics class for a full-body session.
There are plenty of people with the misconception that crunches will trim down their midsection. But this just isn’t true. For starters, crunches strengthen your core muscles, which isn’t solely responsible for making your waistline shrink. Plus, toning your abs and obliques will make the muscles stick out a bit more, adding to your waistline. The only way to target your midsection is to do plenty of cardio to burn fat, and then do a couple core-strengthening exercises to keep the muscles toned. Chron.com suggests forgoing crunches and trying planks or wood chops instead.