As a Fitness Professional for nearly a decade, a trainee that has been OUTworking for fifteen years, and, for much of that time, being a client to another fitness pro, I have something to say about exercises I hate.
Fuck. You. Sincerely, Mike.
No, seriously. That’s what I have to say to any movement I hate. After being in and around the industry for so long, I can honestly say that if there’s a movement you truly can’t stand, the simple solution is to not do it.
Now, before every fitspirational *trainer* gets their boxers in a bunch, please see the second paragraph. Sincerely, Mike. The problem with doing movements you hate is that working out sucks anyways for most of us. We can sugar coat it, we can make it fun with a group of great people, we can make it addicting with a culture that makes you wanna show up. Fitness models (not fitness professionals) can post pictures of perfectly chiseled bodies and and chicken and broccoli and make us feel motivated for .325 seconds to “just do the damn thing” or suffer the pain of regret. Whatever; it still sucks and is something most of us have to do rather than get to do. So, why add movements we hate to something that we realistically already don’t like?
If you hate the job you’re stuck at right now, and a cubicle opens up next to you, would you invite someone you can’t stand to apply? I wouldn’t, and neither would you. But, this is the equivalent of continuing a movement you can’t stand.
Rather than give four reasons why, i’d rather share four exercises I hate, why I hate them, and then whether or not i’ll do them anymore.
Exercise #1: Bulgarian (“Rear foot elevated”) Split Squats
Why I hate them: They really, really, really hurt. Both physically, and, when I still had it, my exercise ego. Even when I could squat a lot, I could still barely move more than someone who was just a casual outworker.
Why I still do them: Lunges don’t give you the same glute work, and, as far as lower body moves go, this is an easy way to have a relatively low amount of weight while still getting a great workout.
The lesson: Disliking a move because it’s difficult, or because it makes you feel like a wimp, is absolutely OK. If you can’t handle how it makes you feel, don’t do it. Personally, feeling a little beat up for a movement that gives me a lot back is well worth it, and I would probably push through a difficult move because, hey, working out should be a little hard, right?
Exercise #2: Frog Glute Bridges
Why I hate them: I feel absolutely ridiculous doing them. Like, I don’t know that i’ve ever felt like more of a goofball in the gym doing them.
Why I still do them: Point blank, I workout to feel good and look better naked. Not only is having a good butt better for your lower back health (the ‘feel good part’), it also makes you look pretty good. Everyone likes a good booty. And frog glute bridges are an easy way to feel the glutes working hard, get a good booty bump, and accomplish my goals of working out.
This is a video of the glute guy, Bret Contreras, demonstrating a move I hate. Still think Bret is brilliant and will continue to do his booty building move, and give credit where it’s due.
The lesson: Probably 90% of the moves in the gym look silly, and 100% of them look goofy to people that aren’t used to working out. If I look silly doing a move, but then make other guy’s jeans jealous that they’re not worn by me, then i’ll take the goofiness. Still hate ’em, though.
Exercise #3: Cossack Squats
Why I hate them: This move feels incredibly uncomfortable. My adductor flexibility and hip flexors are just so tight at times, and doing these feels like i’m stretching in ways I shouldn’t.
Why I still do them: This is more of a flexibility and mobility movement, so I don’t have to use a lot of weight to get the benefits. If I did, I don’t think I would keep these in my workout routine. Plus, when I do them, I get better at them, they get a little bit easier, and my hips start to feel better. To me, this is a great reason to have a mobility exercise in a program in the first place.
The lesson: If a movement is hated, you gotta look at the benefit. If you’re getting a bigger bang for your buck like cossack squats give me, it might be best to ride it out for 12-16 weeks. If you give it an honest effort and you just don’t like it, tell it to F right off.
Exercise #4: Front Squats
Why I hate them: Every reason you can possibly think of is a good reason to hate these. It feels uncomfortable, it takes a lot of weight, time under tension, or effort to get a good response from them, and there are a dozen other moves I can do that will give me a bigger bang for my buck.
Why I still do them: I don’t, and I won’t. Ever.
The lesson: I’ve front squatted 405. I’ve front squatted for almost a decade. I’ve front squatted 225 for 20 reps. I’ve even lowered the weight, worked on technique (which was already pretty dang good), etc, etc, etc. At no point did I ever think anything about them other than how much I hated them.
This made lifting suck major ass, and so much less fun. I will never front squat again.
So, there you have it. 4 Different exercises. Four different reasons to hate said exercises, and how to determine if you should do ’em, or burn them with fire and never do it again.