8 Worst Exercises For Building Muscle

By Vidur Saini Generation Iron

We recently did an article about the best exercises you could do to build muscle mass. The article got us thinking about the exercises people love doing but which don’t help in budging the needle in the right direction.

Most of the exercises on the list are here because people don’t take out the time to learn the proper form of performing them. You could save yourself time and energy by performing substitute exercises in place of these exercises.

The Most Useless Exercises

Any Resistance Exercise Done On A Stability Ball

The stability ball came into the limelight with the focus on core training. It’s believed that doing strength training exercises on an unstable surface is going to build muscle and core strength, but no studies have been able to prove it.

Performing exercises involving additional weights are safer done on the floor than using an unstable surface. There is a reason why football games are played with athletes standing on a field of some type, and not a ball or moving surface. To be a pro, train like one.

Ab/Oblique Rotation Machine

Many gyms have a machine that has a revolving base which can be used to train the abs and obliques. People need to stand/sit on it and twist their torsos to train the midriffs. Some people take it to the next level by using weights on the base to add resistance.

The basics of biomechanics state that you need to avoid moving through the terrible triad of lower back movements: simultaneous flexion, rotation, and side bending, especially under loading. Reading just this one line about biomechanics should be enough to make you stop using the rotation machine.


Although the dips are a great tricep exercise, many people don’t get anything out of it because they can’t establish a mind-muscle connection with the muscle, and can feel no contraction.

Romanian Deadlifts

It’s harder to train the posterior muscles as you can’t see them in the mirror directly. To perform the RDLs correctly you need the right amount of range of motion and bend in your knees which is sometimes too much to ask off a beginner.

Lat Pulldowns

Many people make the mistake of using momentum by swinging back and forth while performing the lat pulldowns. Using the jerking motion takes off tension from your back and puts it on your arms and shoulders.

Upright Rows

The uprights rows need the strictest of forms to optimally work the traps. If you use weights that are too heavy and need to swing back and forth to lift them, you’ll end up performing a weird variation of overhand barbell curls.

Tricep Kickbacks

Even though bis and tris are antagonistic muscles, the triceps don’t get the same love as the pythons. Elevation of your elbow, shoulder, the bend in your back, the distance between your feet, there are too many variables connected with performing the tricep kickbacks correctly.


Only a few people perform the lunges correctly. The others either don’t take long enough steps, lunge too shallow, bend at the back or lose their balance. The lunges are best left to the pros.

Header image courtesy of Envato Elements

Which exercise do you hate the most?

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  • bruno.camilo
  • November 6, 2019
Dips are one of the best and most complete exercise out there,
Lat PullDowns come on, seriously? One of my main back exercise.
Upright Rows also one of the most complete exercise there is for traps, if done correctly.

  • Thuggish456
  • November 6, 2019
you put dips on this???

and then made the assumption it's only a triceps exercise???

this is nonsense.
    • bruno.camilo
    • November 6, 2019
    It is also great for lower chest depending on the position.
  • shaolin2112
  • November 6, 2019
More accurately, this should be titled "8 Decent exercises that, when done correctly, are efficacious, but are seldom done as such"