5 Useless Workouts You Should Stop Doing Now

Dwight Schrute demonstrates an old-timey, and likely useless workout

Dwight Schrute demonstrates an old-timey, and likely useless, workout. | NBC

If you take a walk around the gym, you’re likely to see lifters, runners, and interlopers, many doing exercises that are nearly useless when it comes to losing weight or building muscle. Even grizzled fitness veterans sometimes expend time and energy (although, sometimes expending energy is the point) doing exercises, or following workout regimens that are poorly designed or don’t deliver results.

For many people, simply mustering up the will power to get to the gym is tough enough. But to get there and ultimately waste your time doing things that aren’t going to help you reach your goals? That’s a recipe for injury or frustration.

With that in mind, you’ll want to know what you’re doing, or at least have some direction, before you hit the gym. Read up on the exercises you should avoid, and ways to dodge common injuries. Skip the machines and lifts that won’t help you reach your goals and, instead, focus on and build workouts that incorporate compound lifts and proven techniques.

Above all else, you’ll want to be extremely skeptical of anyone or anything telling you they know shortcuts to six-pack abs or miraculous weight loss. As an example, the following “workouts” aren’t really workouts at all, but empty promises delivered through clever marketing techniques. Though the progenitors swear by the results, dig a little deeper and you’ll find a lot to be desired. Instead, stick to the basics and come to terms with the fact that you’re likely in for a long, hard journey.

1. Ab or bun-focused workouts

Fitness female model torso with her hands on hips

Millions of sit-ups won’t give you abs of steel. | iStock.com/jacoblund

Remember “8 Minute Abs” and “8 Minute Buns”? If those worked, we’d be seeing a lot more people walking around looking like Channing Tatum. But we don’t, because these types of workouts — those that are solely concentrated on helping you get washboard abs or a tight butt — don’t work.

You can’t spot-burn fat, which means you’re not going to see any definition in your abs until you’ve lowered your body fat percentage by a significant amount. If you’re overweight, all the crunches in the world won’t help your abs shine through.

There are other products out there, too. Ab rollers, the Ab Lounge, Ab Circle, etc. If any of these actually worked, don’t you think you’d see trainers and gyms spreading their gospel? Nobody uses these things, or 8-minute miracle workouts, because they don’t work. Save your time and money, and focus on real, verifiable workout plans that (unfortuantely) require discipline and hard work.

2. Workouts using ‘fitness’ fashion accessories

sport asian woman use smartwatch check pulse rate listening

Fancy gear still isn’t going to do the work for you. | iStock.com/PRImageFactory

If you think wearing ridiculous shoes or wearing a “power bracelet” is going to be a viable way to get in shape, you’re in for a rude awakening. For a while, these types of products were pretty popular, though people have seemingly caught on by now. Of course, the next one is just around the corner — so be sure to approach with a healthy amount of skepticism.

If you need further convincing, just take “toning shoes” as an example. Several companies, including Sketchers, sold these shoes, which were found to do absolutely nothing in terms of helping you get in shape. There was no toning going on at all. And “power bracelets”? No, there’s nothing to those either. They’re not giving you additional strength or stamina, just broadcasting to those around you that you’ve been duped.

The FTC even had to step in to stop the deceptive marketing of these products.

3. Informercial workouts

If you’ve ever found yourself in front of the TV during the middle of the day, or perhaps late at night, you’ve witnessed the barrage of infomercials that promise all types of results with the use of their innovative products or workouts. Don’t believe them, and don’t buy into it. Take the Shake Weight, for example (you can see a demonstration above). You’re not going to get in shape by standing or sitting around, shaking an oversized pepper grinder.

There are some exceptions — programs like P90X or Insanity have loyal followings, and they will deliver results for the people who actually follow through with the workouts and dietary guidelines. But in terms of “miracle workouts” and products that seem too good to be true? They are — so don’t waste your time with them.

4. Anything involving a sauna suit

orange garbage bag

They’re basically just the clothing equivalent of garbage bags. | Pixabay

They might not be as popular as they once were, but these sweat-inducing suits are still a thing. For anyone unfamiliar, sauna suits are effectively the exact opposite of today’s performance attire made with moisture-wicking fabric. Often made with vinyl, these outfits don’t breathe at all, meaning you start sweating up a storm in hardly any time. Clever marketers promised astounding weight loss, but they left out the most important detail: It’s all water weight.

Since you need to to expend more calories than you consume to actually lose weight, the whole concept really doesn’t make sense. Plus, trying to drop pounds using a sauna suit can actually be pretty dangerous. Livestrong.com notes sweat evaporation is what allows your body to cool off, so trapping your sweat with a waterproof fabric could lead to heatstroke. Temporarily losing a few pounds hardly seems worth the risk.

5. Workouts that promise huge weight loss in a week

female feet on a weighing scale

You won’t see a substantial change in just one week. | iStock.com

We’ve all heard of special workout plans that will help you drop an astounding amount of weight in just seven days, but these claims are exaggerations at best. And isn’t it always interesting to hear it was a friend of a friend who had such amazing results? It’s never someone you actually know. This isn’t to say you can’t lose weight in one week, you just can’t expect it to be dramatic. Women’s Health explains, “In general, when you’re pulling out all the stops, you’re probably not going to be able to lose more than three or four pounds in a week.”

Besides, no routine is going to work wonders for your body if your eating isn’t on track. There’s a reason no one has ever seen success with a doughnut-based diet.

Additional reporting by Christine Skopec