Do This, Not That

by Colleen Morgan, PT, MS, OCS, CSCS

Whether you are a weekend warrior or competitive athlete,

a life-long “gym rat” or exercise newbie, it’s important to know which gym exercises are worth your time and energy.  Learn what exercises most physical therapists would categorize as worthless (perhaps even downright dangerous) and explore some healthy alternatives in our recurring blog column “Do This, Not That!”

Do This!

Not That!

Sidestepping with an elastic band is no longer just an exercise for athletes.  Moving laterally while sidestepping helps to improve multiplane balance while the band’s resistance encourages gluteal and hip rotator muscle activation for knee and foot stability.  These muscles are critical for good balance and are best strengthened in functional positions such as sidestepping! Seated resisted hip abduction/adduction.  RIP Suzanne Somers Thighmaster:  You, much like most of the 1990s, are happily forgotten.  The same thing goes for this ridiculous exercise where you forcedly move your thighs in and out against resistance.  Not only is this exercise not functional, but the abduction portion activates your hip flexors and tensor fascia latae (TFL), which tend to be very strong muscles vs chronically weak gluteals.  This seated exercise may reinforce muscular imbalances in the lower extremities.
 Sidestepping  Hip Adductor Machine

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