Here are the top 5 exercises to remove from your program right now.

1. Anything done with a rounded back
It doesn’t matter if you’re squatting, deadlifting, straight-leg deadlifting, rowing, or even doing triceps kickbacks, you must STOP doing these exercises with a rounded lower back.

That’s a one-way ticket to a herniated disc. And you do not want to go there.

So make sure that you brace your abs, and keep your back in the neutral position – and even with a slight arch in your low back – as you do dumbbell rows, deadlifts, squats, and Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs).

If you don’t know what I mean, or you still aren’t comfortable with those exercises, by all means DROP them and just ask for a substitute exercise. There are plenty of other movements I can recommend.

And one more thing…I see a lot of people (including my clients) who use great form in all exercises and then pick up dumbbells off the floor with a rounded back.

That’s another no-no.

You can just as easily hurt your back doing that as you can in an “official” exercise. So always, always, ALWAYS pick stuff up by bending at the knees and keeping the object close to your body – but NEVER by rounding your back (even when tying your shoes!).

2. Behind the Neck pulldowns or presses
I’m a real conservative guy. To me, dressing up means a clean white t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans. I hold the door open for lil’ old ladies. I don’t gamble or smoke. And I don’t curse around my mom.

And because of my conservative nature, that’s why I’m putting all “behind the neck” exercises on the no-fly list for your workout.

Some coaches say they are fine, and other coaches say it depends on the individual. And while I agree that some folks can do these without a problem, I look at it this way:
There’s NO good reason to risk your shoulder with these exercises when you get equal results from modified, safer versions of these exercises or simply by using other movements.

So be conservative and do your shoulders a favor by dropping all behind the neck movements.

3. The Olympic Bar Bench Press
I did this exercise for years between the ages of 16-20 hoping my chest would grow, the only thing I noticed getting bigger was my shoulders, so I went and spoke to a few experts, got the books out (yes we used to use books to find things out!).

Then armed with my new found information I hit the gym again. I started seeing results within 4-5 weeks, my chest started to fill out, finally.

The information I found out was that I did not need flat bench to build a good chest!

There are plenty of other “shoulder-safe” exercises like dumbbell chest presses that work just fine.

But the Bodybuilder Bench Press – where you have a wide grip on the bar and your elbows pointed out to the sides – is the most damaging to your shoulders.

To make the exercise safer for your shoulder joint and rotator cuff muscles, simply tuck your elbows to your body – so they point more towards your feet – and bring in your grip by 1-2 inches. That will save your shoulders.

4. Crunches
I know some people are getting real upset with me every time I tell you to stop doing crunches, but if you won’t believe me, then at least believe Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove, whose new book, “The New Rules of Lifting for Abs” just hit #2 on Amazon’s best sellers.

They recommend dropping crunches, and so does Mike Robertson, Men’s Health fitness expert, who recently wrote this about the crunch debate:

“I can’t believe we’re still arguing this stuff. I would’ve hoped by now that we’ve all thrown crunches and sit-ups by the wayside…think about the body-wide effects of crunching – a crunch trains the rectus abdominus by pulling the rib cage down.

“When we pull the rib cage down, we increase the thoracic kyphosis. This sets off a cascade of events – we increase the kyphosis, thus losing t-spine extension. This consistently puts our scapulae in a poor position, not to mention putting our gleno-humeral joint at an increased risk for impingement as well.”

Let me translate Mike’s science…
Basically he said, STOP doing crunches!

5. Plyometrics to Failure
Hey, I appreciate the fact that people are putting more athletic movements into their fat loss programs. After all, you will get more results with athletic training than slow cardio.

But…you must be smart with your training. Doing “explosive” exercises to the point of muscle failure – and therefore, to the point of improper form – is simply wrong.

That’s what causes injury. And that causes people to drop out of their fat loss program.

So listen…be conservative. YES, you can use jump training in your fat loss program…after all, some of the advanced TT programs do.

But you can’t be doing plyometrics to failure. You can’t be doing plyometrics with sloppy form. And you can’t be getting hurt.

Train hard, but train safe.

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