8 Worst Exercises For Muscle Building

Are the most popular lifts the best builders? Absolutely not! Find out why exercises like squats, bench press and even rows are not good choices when it comes to packing on lean mass.

It is common knowledge that the biggest bodybuilders don't always make the best trainers. After all, they are the genetic elite and didn't have to work very hard to build the muscle they have.

The same can be said for muscle building exercises. Just because a movement is popular doesn't mean it's the best lift for packing on pounds of beef.

The following 8 exercises might be popular, but are actually the 8 worst exercises for long term muscle building, health and fitness. Let's take a look at why.

1. Worst Exercise - The Bench Press

The bench press is like the atomic bomb of the muscle building world. It has destroyed an immeasurable number of shoulder girdles. Even when using perfect form, you are compromising your elbows, wrists and rotator cuffs.

Avoid the bench press at all costs.

Curls2. Worst Exercise - Bicept Curls

Big bicepts are built with rows and pull ups, period, end of story. Anyone that tells you differently is living in a bro fantasy land.

All forms of bicepts curls are good for one thing, and one thing only - giving you elbow tendonitis.

3. Worst Exercise - Squats

Everyone knows that squats destroy the knees. The further down you squat, the more risk you incur. The only sane alternative is to use half-squats or quarter-squats, both of which require a ridiculous amount of weight. This makes them a dangerous choice as well.

Stick to leg extensions or Smith machine squats. Both of these movements are very knee friendly.

4. Worst Exercise - Deadlifts

This choice is a no brainer. Just as squats are bad for the knees, deadlifts are twice as bad for your lower back. Heavy deadlifts are rarely safe, except for the very small percentage of lifters born with a Herculean-strong posterior chain. 

Strongman Jón Páll Sigmarsson once said: "There is no reason to be alive if you can't do the deadlift." A more truthful quote would have been: "There is no intelligent reason to do the deadlift." If you keep deadlifting you'll end up hunched over, walking with a cane.

5. Worst Exercise - Overhead Press

Shoulder work is...well...idiotic. The human shoulder girdle is as fragile as glass. We are not designed as human beings to press heavy objects over our heads.

Unless you desire several shoulder surgeries before the age of 50, stick with side and rear lateral raises.

6. Worst Exercise - Bent Over Rows

Let's see, where do we start with this movement? Does bending over at the waist and lifting a heavy barbell sound like a sane, back-friendly choice to you? Absolutely not. Save your lower back and use machine rows and lat pull downs instead.

Squats

7. Worst Exercise - Dumbbell Flyes

Just like the bench press, the dumbbell flye places your shoulders in a precarious position. Spend a number of years performing dumbbell flyes and you are sure to pick up a shoulder impingement or two.

8. Worst Exercise - Any Abdominal Movement

And we stress - ALL abdominal exercises are inherently dangerous. ALL OF THEM. Abdominal work and lower back work requires training balance. Because of this even a minimal amount of lower back work is dangerous, not to mention bad for your spinal column. For this reason all abdominal work should be avoided as well.

Even the most trivial amount of abdominal work creates a muscular imbalance in the core, weakening the lower back and increasing incidences of spine-related issues

Conclusion - Which Exercises Are Best?

Stick with machine exercises. They provide the most overall stability, increasing rewards while reducing risk of injury. Avoid barbell and dumbbell exercises when possible, along with all bicepts and abdominal exercises.

If you do this while focusing on keeping the weight the same, you will shock your body to new levels of muscle confusion.

In fact, your will be so confused that you might not realize....

APRIL FOOLS!!!! LOL!!!!!

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About The Author
M&S writers is a collection of all the other writers that have published content on Muscle and Strength.

152 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:23
Dylan

I hope everyone knows this is an April Fools joke

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Posted Tue, 04/23/2013 - 15:12
bill

I do now. Its the 23rd and I saw this and was like wtf!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:24
Justin Child

Damn!!!!!! Your the only ones to get me today!! I was like, wtf are they talkin about!?!?!? Lol nice one!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:24
Blake

I was legit getting upset because this goes against everything that is a staple in the lifting world lol. It especially floored me when you said to stick to machines...was like wtf?! lol

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:25
Brandon

hahaha thanks for reminding me it's april 1st

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:25
Adrian Sanchez

Just LOL.
"Any abdominal movement"

This article is basically telling you not to work out at all.

You gotta be kidding me here.

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:26
Adrian Sanchez

OMG you got me!!!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:26
karl

1 april

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:26
MarZ

This article must be a April's fools day joke...if not the author and the publisher are idiots.

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:27
Thomas

This article is absoloute garbage. Not only does it attempt to dispute scientifically proven exercises that are beneficial to not only muscle gain but also exercises that are beneficial to health! Next thing itl say 'don't do pull-ups because your shoulders aren't built for it'. All exercises are bad if you do them with bad form!

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:36
Steven

It's an April Fool's joke.

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:37
Jeff

LOOOOOOOOOOL....April Fools

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Posted Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:24
John

you noob lol... READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE PLEASE??? At the very end it says "DO NOT FORGET IT IS 1st APRIL FOOL", you fool *laughing even harder now

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:28
Jason Folkers

That was a good one. Here i was reading this thinking i am screwing my bofy and and then BAM! You throw that last part in there! Thanks for all the articles and afvicr. It has helped me tremendoysly!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:30
Ryan

I have to admit. That was a good one. Lol

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:32
Sam

This is so full of bulls*it! One day you post an article promoting how these exercises are extra-ordinary, and then post this. It's not easy to rely on the website when articles vs others are so incoherent one another. Watch out for credibility. This is alot confusing..

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:35
Steven

It's an April Fool's joke.

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:38
Jeff

Fooled....lol

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:32
Jason

I have been lifting weights for 26 years now w/ varying degrees of intensity. I have read numerous articles throughout those 26 years about muscle building do's and dont's and it get's to be very frustrating when most articles contradict each other, so I just stick w/ what has worked for me (injury free!!!) for all these years.

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:33
Torrey

lol...WOW. Even though I've been fully aware this ENTIRE day that it's April Fools...you got me good. Real good. In fact, that's probably the most had I've ever been. Kudos.

I was 100% baffled and confused. Halfway through the Ab section it finally clicked.

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:34
Frank

Lmao!!! I was like "Whatt The ___!!!" as I read this whole article. Stick to Squats in the smith machine and leg extensions!!! Too funny!!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:34
liam lentas

Hahahaha my mate camr to me anf was telling me we had been doing all the wrong things. Then he sent me this article and i was like. Bro read the whole thing.

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:35
Jason Lay

Wow, I was reading this and thinking to myself....what have I been doing!!!! You guys had me going.

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:36
Justin

hhah, got me...I was like wtf!!!!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:36
Matt

After a long time of eating lean, regularly going to the gym, and sleeping for over eight hours a day, I finally decided I needed a change. So, I took to online gaming, I'm having pre and post-dinner beers, and I'm carefully monitoring my vegetable intake, and I'll be honest, I've never felt better! I'm getting so round now, fattening up for summer! Look out ladies!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:38
Dee

___ You!! ____ got me lol nice one guys

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:44
Davis Holt

Alright you got me !!!!!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:45
Duy

hahahaha! This is good one!!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:47
alves

dam man, you guys got me so bad!!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:54
anthony scarpaci

now what??? i didnt read to end first time and cancelled my gym membership

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 17:59
bb

I was like, WTF have I been doing all this time??

Think I believed it for too long.... HAPPY APRIL FOOLS :-)

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:00
Dana Mattos

OK, OK, you got me good. I had steam coming from my ears nearing the end of the article, and was developing my retort till I saw April Fools , thanks for the chuckle.

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:01
rovac

OMG I was getting so pissed and felt so damn happy when I saw it was a joke lol!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:03
Suzie

Hahahahaha!! Almost had me going! I was like...what are you talking about?

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:07
Robert Kaminsky

This was not the best day to visit this site for the first time. I was looking for a site to recommend to my clients via my recovery website and then realized this site is full of BS. I may have a hard time convincing myself you are now legitimate.

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:09
Steven

It's an April Fool's joke.

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:14
Matt

What's the date? lol

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:08
Cody

Man, I was thinking what the hell is he talking about!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:14
j

i lost at BICEPYS

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:17
Gregory Miller

LOL good one I was getting mad for a minute

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:25
kent

I really hope some people read this all the way through and don't take it seriously lol

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:33
Rick

Damn, got me!!!!!!!!!!! I was getting more and more pissed off the more I kept reading. Best joke ever

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:37
Marley

LOL reading................thinking this goes against all of my building philosophies! Good April Fools!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:44
Mark

The one exercise this article motivated me to do is the face palm

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:45
Dana

I was like...wtf!?! And then I saw that it was for April Fool's Day. Good one, Muscle & Strength!

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:46
Mark

The one exercise that this article motivated me to do is the face palm

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 18:53
Buff Blogger

Lol at stick to leg extensions instead of squats

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 19:14
ANDERSON Muñoz

lol jajaj i was scare, dman im a colombian who also talks english, but wha a joke i was so confused, Thanks God tha t was an April fools day

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 19:26
armaaz

>7/10 would read again

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Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 19:27
Scott

DOH!

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