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 - Bicep Curls

Big biceps 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 biceps 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.


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....


Nancy Edith Car...
Posted on: Thu, 08/09/2018 - 12:44

LOL, I was looking for cool advice to change my routine and I was thinking "wtf is this, some troll? are these people insane?" damn good one, you totally got me there!

Posted on: Tue, 04/03/2018 - 13:42

You got me good. I was thinking well what kind of exercises do you do.

Posted on: Fri, 07/15/2016 - 12:43

Did the writer build muscle by yoga?

Posted on: Sat, 12/05/2015 - 04:19

i ectualy wanted to rage
you got me :)

Posted on: Tue, 07/07/2015 - 02:40

I laughed...

Posted on: Fri, 06/05/2015 - 08:44

Are u kiddin' or what??

Posted on: Fri, 06/05/2015 - 00:00

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

Posted on: Thu, 06/04/2015 - 20:54

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

brenton sederberg
Posted on: Thu, 06/04/2015 - 17:08

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.

Posted on: Thu, 06/04/2015 - 14:03

Not cool.

Posted on: Mon, 01/06/2014 - 14:55

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.

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2014 - 23:51

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

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2014 - 23:10

WOW! you got me #LOL

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2014 - 22:24

Ooooooooh got me lol

Posted on: Sun, 01/05/2014 - 21:53

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

Posted on: Wed, 01/01/2014 - 02:24

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

Posted on: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 11:36

Worst article I've ever seen!

Blake Martin
Posted on: Sat, 08/24/2013 - 19:10

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

Posted on: Fri, 08/09/2013 - 11:42

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

Gor Gevorgyan
Posted on: Sat, 08/03/2013 - 16:55

Hahahahah this is hilarious!

Posted on: Fri, 07/19/2013 - 17:01

Dude this scared me..

Posted on: Tue, 07/16/2013 - 04:24

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...

Posted on: Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:02

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

Posted on: Wed, 05/22/2013 - 10:53

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

Posted on: Mon, 05/20/2013 - 16:11

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

Paul Banfield
Posted on: Thu, 05/09/2013 - 08:24

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.

Paul Banfield
Posted on: Thu, 05/09/2013 - 08:15

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.

Posted on: Fri, 05/03/2013 - 16:36

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

Posted on: Fri, 05/03/2013 - 10:11

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

Posted on: Thu, 04/25/2013 - 21:49


Posted on: Thu, 04/25/2013 - 20:09

Planet fitness..

Ruben Lopez
Posted on: Wed, 04/24/2013 - 18:12

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.

Posted on: Wed, 04/24/2013 - 08:08

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

haha nice..

Posted on: Sun, 04/21/2013 - 05:24

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.

Carlton Lauderman
Posted on: Wed, 04/17/2013 - 17:18

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?

Posted on: Wed, 04/17/2013 - 17:06

Wow! I got suckered on this one.

Posted on: Tue, 04/16/2013 - 19:35

You guys suck lol

Alex Vincent
Posted on: Sat, 04/13/2013 - 10:35

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!

Ann Oyed
Posted on: Fri, 04/12/2013 - 23:20

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.

Posted on: Fri, 04/12/2013 - 16:56

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

Posted on: Wed, 04/10/2013 - 15:15

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

Posted on: Wed, 04/10/2013 - 13:29

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

Posted on: Wed, 04/10/2013 - 10:39

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

Posted on: Wed, 04/10/2013 - 02:38

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

Posted on: Tue, 04/09/2013 - 17:21

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

Joe Hayward
Posted on: Tue, 04/09/2013 - 16:04

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

Posted on: Tue, 04/09/2013 - 15:22

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

Penaia K
Posted on: Tue, 04/09/2013 - 07:38

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

Posted on: Mon, 04/08/2013 - 23:36

lmao i was worried hahahayou got me good lol

Posted on: Mon, 04/08/2013 - 13:37

A plague on you, my friend :)