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!!!!!

4.8 STARS
44 VOTES
RATE THIS
About The Author
M&S writers is a collection of all the other writers that have published content on Muscle and Strength.

157 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 06/05/2015 - 08:44
Alessandro

Are u kiddin' or what??

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 06/05/2015 - 00:00
RogerClarke

Wasted Time. This article is Bull$h!t .

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 06/04/2015 - 20:54
dondematias

not funny enough, plus if you dont know the site bad rep, jokes ON YOU! XD

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 06/04/2015 - 17:08
brenton sederberg

I know this is the fitness world and we are.supposed to respect peoples opinion. But this is by far the dumbest article i have ever read.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 06/04/2015 - 14:03
Othello_9X

Not cool.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 01/06/2014 - 14:55
Chester

Jerk-offs wasting my time. WTF? Grow up. I just received a link to this article in an email from you dated Jan 5 2014, "10 Must-Read Muscle Building Resources for 2014 Gains." April fools is long over - remove the article already! Aside from wasting my time, read the comments - you are misleading people and they are inevitably going to be some small percentage who follow these "tips." You're just hurting your readers and having fun at their expense.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 01/05/2014 - 23:51
R

Why does this keep showing up in M&S emails? It's JANUARY!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 01/05/2014 - 23:10
Sri

WOW! you got me #LOL

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 01/05/2014 - 22:24
Helenis

Ooooooooh got me lol

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 01/05/2014 - 21:53
liz

Omg. I was totally taken in. I was about to erase this site from my fav's.
Very funny guys.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 01/01/2014 - 02:24
josh

damn, i about flipped the fuck out, i was thinkin, but these are the only lifts that matter

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 12/25/2013 - 11:36
matt

Worst article I've ever seen!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 08/24/2013 - 19:10
Blake Martin

wow wtf a waste of time reading, I should of noticed it was April fools. darnet all

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 08/09/2013 - 11:42
Justin

I was reading this pre-workout and had one hell of a huge 'WTF moment'. Haha..I almost fell for it xD

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 08/03/2013 - 16:55
Gor Gevorgyan

Hahahahah this is hilarious!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 07/19/2013 - 17:01
alex

Dude this scared me..

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 07/16/2013 - 04:24
Jesse

Read it today, July 15th and I was like "are y'all serious right now???? Might as well not work out at all!!"... Kill this post, it nearly gave me, a workout beginner, a bloody heart attack...

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:02
Phaedrus25

Oh you MFs. Maybe don't leave an April Fool's Day joke up year-round..

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 05/22/2013 - 10:53
AlphaBuild

I was thinking what is this, and then i saw the april fools. lol Nice one!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 05/20/2013 - 16:11
Greg

Before I read the April fools at the bottom..I.was like Vince Lombardi ..,"what's goin on around. Here "..next article was Ballade dancing?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/09/2013 - 08:24
Paul Banfield

Funny reading through all the comments made! Some readers bypassed the ending. It's like the quiz that you take and the first it says is read the whole quiz before starting. People don't read the important facts before commenting.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 05/09/2013 - 08:15
Paul Banfield

Wow you really got me with that one! I'm reading the article on my iPhone so my view of the whole page is limited. I see the title of the article and think lets have a look at this. As I scan the article I'm thinking man all these exercises are the foundation and building blocks of body building and power lifting! How can all this info be wrong. All the ledgends were doing it all wrong! No not Lou and Arnold tell me it ain't so! Then I thought wow there is so much misinformation on the Internet. Then getting to the end of the article I see April fools! Darn it's May not April! Lol whew thank God I almost gave up hope.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/03/2013 - 16:36
MMA-Houdini

Just seen this, was believing it swell then i saw the last bit........OUCH i felt that but looool

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 05/03/2013 - 10:11
clif

Dang, I was ready to slap somebody! Good one.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/25/2013 - 21:49
Matt

HA!

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 04/25/2013 - 20:09
Jordan

Planet fitness..

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/24/2013 - 18:12
Ruben Lopez

What really had me confused the whole time is they had one guy using the dumbbells and another guy doing a squat in the picture.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/24/2013 - 08:08
Dallas

LOL...couldn't even finish reading the article ..gave me a reactive WTF ..

haha nice..

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 04/21/2013 - 05:24
Lalena

Lol. As a fattie and work out wannabee I thought I should read this article before I injure myself. It wasn't until the " don't do ANY abdominal work at all" that I started to think there was something of haha. Silly me. And well done guys.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/17/2013 - 17:18
Carlton Lauderman

I read through all of that and wondered how a person was suppose to workout. Nice April Fool's, but if someone doesn't read all the way through, don't you think they might not realize that it's a spoof?

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/17/2013 - 17:06
James

Wow! I got suckered on this one.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/16/2013 - 19:35
Evans

You guys suck lol

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/13/2013 - 10:35
Alex Vincent

Got really, really upset when I read the part about Squats, and how one should stick to Smith Machine Squats... I was about to rage on the posts until I read it was April Fools!! Nice one guys. But really to Steve and everyone else on Muscle and Strength...thanks a lot for all of the great information you guys share...much appreciated!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 04/12/2013 - 23:20
Ann Oyed

This "article" should be removed. A beginner could see this, skim through it, and take some of this bad advice.

I found April Fools jokes annoying in grade school. Forty years later I find them asinine.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 04/12/2013 - 16:56
Mike

Darn. I rad this on April 1st and changed my routine a little bit. You guys got me good!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/10/2013 - 15:15
Ben

I was about to get heart attack!!!!! Dude! I have never felt being fool at the end!!!
hahahahaha

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/10/2013 - 13:29
Nick

You spelt bicep like bicept... Funny article but you spelt it wrong twice.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/10/2013 - 10:39
marcis

take this s**t out, its not 1st april anymore. wasted my time and f**ked my mind.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 04/10/2013 - 02:38
Jace

You got me on april, 9...this was horrifying

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/09/2013 - 17:21
tommy

This article actually made me angry ....until the very end . Owned

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/09/2013 - 16:04
Joe Hayward

I was beginning to think 'well then what is actually left that I can do?'

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/09/2013 - 15:22
David

you got me because I get to read this article in April 8th shame of you guys :)

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 04/09/2013 - 07:38
Penaia K

It was lucky i scrolled all the way to the end of the article or else i was going to sue somebody.....jokes...lol

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 04/08/2013 - 23:36
ANGEL

lmao i was worried hahahayou got me good lol

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 04/08/2013 - 13:37
jeff

A plague on you, my friend :)

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 04/08/2013 - 10:39
Tall Guy from T...

It's April 8th and they still got me - I was wondering what exercises were left!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/06/2013 - 15:30
Kickor One

Good one! Had me going to a second... o_O?
Got me!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/06/2013 - 12:16
Deborah

I was about to cry.....

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 04/06/2013 - 06:48
alice

You got me on that!!!I honestly thought it was true.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 04/05/2013 - 02:40
Jamie Oemcke

NOT funny... lol