8 Worst Bodyweight Exercises Ever (STOP DOING THESE!)

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The worst bodyweight exercises are often times the most common calisthenic exercises. In this video, I’m going to show you 8 bodyweight exercises you’ll want to stop doing, and more importantly, the exercise substitutions you should make to keep the gains coming and prevent injury from doing the wrong things.
We start with the popular bench dip. The reason people do this exercise for their triceps is to get a complete contraction on the muscle by getting the arm behind the body which allows for better activation of the triceps long head. The issue here is the position of the shoulder that many assume just to get in position to perform it. The head of the humerus is thrown anteriorly, which stretches and weakens the anterior shoulder capsule (an area already chronically weak and unstable on many). You can either vary the hand position as shown or switch to the cobra pushup as a way to get the same tricep benefits without the shoulder joint compromise.
Next we have the popular plank. Now, while this is a core exercise performed by many it doesn’t mean that it’s a good one. Besides the fact that it is entirely remedial for almost everyone that does it (not providing nearly enough of a core challenge to adequately stimulate or strengthen your core muscles) it also tends to reinforce some postural imbalances that are already all too common, with the posterior chain muscles getting too little stimulation in favor of the anterior chain. See the plank alternatives in the video linked at the end of this video.
The hurdler’s hamstring stretch is not at all the best way to stretch your hamstrings. Many will perform it but not understand why it’s so ineffective for creating actual length increases of the hamstring muscles. The issue is the amount of posterior pelvic tilt that occurs when you perform it. When this happens the hamstrings are put on slack and the stretch is greatly minimized. Instead, either do so out of a taller posture where the pelvis is rotated anteriorly or try the standing hamstring wall stretch for a much better effect.
Neck bridges are just not something you want to do to your neck. Yes, they are incredibly effective for creating overload and developing larger neck muscles, but at what expense. You only get one set of cervical vertebra in your lifetime. Protect them. Avoid the compression and shearing stresses piled on your discs with this exercise in favor of the flexion and extension isometrics shown.
Kipping pullups are not pullups. No further discussion needed!
Scorpions are performed to increase spinal mobility and movement. The problem is, increased lumbar rotation is not something you should be aspiring to create. The lumber spine is designed to be stable. Mobility in the area should come from the hips not the low back. Instead, opt for the t-spine mobility drill shown here to attack the area most capable of giving you the rotation that you seek.
Sissy squats are another bad bodyweight exercise you should avoid. It’s not so much the knees over toes that is the issue but that it is combined with the extra stretch on the quads from above that creates a tremendous amount of stress on the quadriceps and patellar tendons. Opt for a single leg modified pistol squat instead.
Finally, while popular, the pushup is one of the most often misperformed bodyweight exercises around. Be sure not to cut the range of motion even a few inches here if you want to see the real benefits of the exercise.
For a complete workout program where all of the exercises are selected based on science, be sure to head to athleanx.com at the link below to see how to train like an athlete and look like one in just a few months of proper training. Our Xero program is 100 percent bodyweight and requires no equipment at all.
For more bodyweight exercise videos and the worst exercises you should avoid, be sure to subscribe to our channel at the link below and remember to turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.
Build Muscle in 90 Days - athleanx.com/x/my-workouts
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Comments 80
ATHLEAN-X™ 2 months ago
*NEW “FAST ACTION” Q&A* - After giving away more than 10,000 programs, it’s time to switch it up! Leave your most burning question about this video or any other training, PT or nutrition question within the first 2 hours of this video’s release (AS A SEPARATE COMMENT!!) and I will pick 8 to get a detailed reply from me right here in the comments. Answers will be posted within the first 24-48 hours of you leaving the question. Good luck!
Anthony Garcia
Anthony Garcia 7 days ago
My calfs are small
Matthew Cameron
Matthew Cameron 11 days ago
Jeff can you please come out with an APP? It would be so awesome to have one where you take us through warm-up workout and cool down. Kind of like a “HelloFresh” kit of workout that get delivered to our door.
BigSkippy1263 23 days ago
Jeff, due to a brain injury I have compromised use of my left hand i.e. I can't spread it out properly if I use my right hand to hold it flat I'm able to do " diamond cutters". Is that an acceptable substitute for the regular push up?
Gaurav Mehta
Gaurav Mehta 24 days ago
Is stopping the exercise very dangerous? ruvid.net/video/video-L6KTNba2Ngk.html
Patrick J Mims
Patrick J Mims Month ago
ATHLEAN-X™ I really enjoy that you show Discuss the fact that these exercises do not accomplish what you want to accomplish but also can damage your body. It’s really helpful for someone like me. I have propensity to say “oh who cares” but you have shown me that I’m tweaking some things. And these are things that do not need to be tweaked, especially as an ex-minor league catcher - my knees are already fucked
Frank Migliore
Frank Migliore 14 hours ago
I will do my duty in life. I will protect my cervical spine.
Eric Davis
Eric Davis Day ago
I don't know if you know about this but what would you suggest for pateller tendinitis (jumpers knee) I ask because your ankle video helped me in the past. Thanks
Dane Stephenson
Did anyone else lose it when he said "floor fu**er" with the pushups? Actually loled
Jasmine H
Jasmine H Day ago
I feel like I'm watching bill nye the science guy with more sarcasm and insults😂
Tekinen'sLP CZ
40 years later: "Living is killing your gains! Stop doing this!"
ode violinst
ode violinst 2 days ago
jeff fix my worst exercise. it"s happen again dude.
Burrows Pangolin's
yoo thanks bro
Wakazbro 2 days ago
That plank analogy made alot of sense
Coops 2 days ago
Did Jeff stop juicing? He looks very small here
Stephen Morton
Stephen Morton 3 days ago
"Why?!" LMAO ( 6:28 )
BigSteelThrill 3 days ago
Monkey Football!
Jeffrey Hickman
Jeffrey Hickman 3 days ago
These look like no or low impact exercises. Yes, I agree ☝️, push-ups and sit-ups are clearly exercises not to do. Humorous with 247365 on your shirt 👔. 24/7 365 is what it stands for. Is this a home 🏡 gym? If so, you’ve got a great 👍 one. If I buy a house 🏡, I’m going to convert the garage into a home gym, and a yoga 🧘‍♀️ studio. Too bad we aren’t in the same place, or we’d be at each other’s houses visiting and doing exercises. I could even teach you yoga. It isn’t hard. All you do is follow RUvid videos. We’d be two fit guys learning different exercises from each other. Might even be surprised 😲 if ya comment back, such as tips or advice.
Goblin Tsar
Goblin Tsar 4 days ago
Maybe I'm just oddly in tune with my body, but I already figured all of this intuitively. Kind of obvious to me that if something feels like its injuring you, you shouldn't do it. If something deviates from proper form, it's bad. I think it helps that I started in yoga, so I kept the attitudes and principles as i came to calisthenics.
Diego De Anda
Diego De Anda 4 days ago
I just realized he looks like Obama
Glen & Marion Barr
What are the best workouts for a person that has a stroke. I have been trying everything. I am getting weaker by the day please advise
Marco Pozzi
Marco Pozzi 4 days ago
the push-up in the video are done with elbows too far from the body. This way to do it will ruin your shoulder
Dee Jay
Dee Jay 4 days ago
i bet he can also teach ho to hold your controller right while ballin nba 2k, so you can beat your opponent easy and reduce the stress on your fingers
Faltin 5 days ago
Me: exists Jeff: breathing is killing your gains
Jack Basso
Jack Basso 5 days ago
love this guy. just trashed those wrestlers
DanyDud 3
DanyDud 3 5 days ago
These videos are so great because they are incredibly informative and helpful when it comes to health, and are also super funny
Shogun Hooah
Shogun Hooah 5 days ago
That hamstring stretch helped me a lot. Pulled it last month.
Azeez Abdul
Azeez Abdul 5 days ago
Thank you !
Digadogup 5 days ago
surprised pullover on a pull up bar wasn't included but great video
jgojiz 6 days ago
I thought sissy squat was good for leg and joint strength. It seems I was wrong. I love this channel.
meg 6 days ago
did he name the skeleton raymond?!
atotheg1991 6 days ago
Wow, I've never heard Jeff cuss before. Now you know these are really the worst exercises.
Salman Shahid
Salman Shahid 7 days ago
I cant do single pullup or chin up I stay at home mostly kindly can u suggest some exercise at home so that I can do pullup
The Beast
The Beast 7 days ago
Your video proved why I have the last laugh. The neck bridges I had a feeling can mess up your neck. Voice in my head advise me not to do those so I did not. Many I sparred with in MMA and or competed against ended up with messed up necks and spines.
Honey Boom
Honey Boom 7 days ago
as someone who used to have horrific hyperextensions in my knees that knee animation stressed me the fuck out. why do people do that!?
brenda reyes
brenda reyes 7 days ago
This guy tells it how it is I appreciate that
Michael Metz
Michael Metz 8 days ago
I've been working to impliment the changes that Jeff shares in his videos. I'm getting gains that I've never experienced doing heavy weights. Thanks Jeff.
Bicycle Ninja
Bicycle Ninja 8 days ago
I'm amazed at the number of Kipping Pull-Up apologists on the Internet.
Bicycle Ninja
Bicycle Ninja 8 days ago
I think people do the "hamstring stretch" because it's a carry-over from high school P.E. and/or military. I never enjoyed it for the reasons mentioned and agree it's a terrible practice.
Vatrogasac Mirko
Vatrogasac Mirko 8 days ago
What about barbell high pull? It seems so devastating on the shoulders. Any alternative?
Pants on my soup
Pants on my soup 9 days ago
very help i want to be fit very soon thnank you i will take these into consideration the next time i exercise by the eay i am gos
805 Livin
805 Livin 9 days ago
Me: laying in bed while watching this video Jeff: *YoU’rE dOiNg It WrOnG*
Kelo Nunez
Kelo Nunez 9 days ago
Thanks Jeff really great info for beginners in cali
Troy Phillips
Troy Phillips 9 days ago
So wrestling as a whole should be eliminated as a sport? The neck bridge is taught as a regular excercise, used as a defensive counter maneuver through out wrestling instruction.
Seeker 57
Seeker 57 9 days ago
Jeff is a star. Being a physical therapist,gives him a definite edge over many fitness coaches.
Piefruit o.O
Piefruit o.O 9 days ago
doesn't locking your elbow's during a push-up fuck up your elbow's?
ish233 10 days ago
That neck twirl thing. That just looks dangerous, I wouldn't try that, and other types ones that just look bad. I'll say thanks for showing some better form into triceps and stetches and more. I'm happy to say my pushup form is pretty good.
Mason Ruacho
Mason Ruacho 10 days ago
He should make a video about the perfect workout program
TCG Therapy
TCG Therapy 10 days ago
almost spit out my tea when you said floor fucker
Kate Davis
Kate Davis 10 days ago
I had to do the hamstring wall stretch when they thought I had tendonitis in my left ankle. Turned out to be a bone bruise. It's a nice stretch, though!
dat boi
dat boi 10 days ago
thanks i did 2 of these, going to use your alternatives from now on. cool to get this info for free!
Dominick Loka
Dominick Loka 11 days ago
I use a pike push up with my hands on my lifting wooden blocks for a fuller range of motion at the bottom of the press. I have the "soft" version: feet on the floor, which I use as a warm-up or a "feeder" workout & the "harder" version: feet on chair and then it feels very much like an incline press. I use the "harder" version as an assistance for my overhead strict press; the big advantage is it allows for some steep incline pressing without adding stress to my lower back at the end of a demanding session. I can get into a very neutral position to put less stress on my elbows. I like it better than dumbbell standing presses because it provides more tension on arms & shoulders while unloading the spine. It's also a great and cheap option for anyone training at home without an incline bench. An effective assistance exercise for strength needs to be heavy enough to improve intramuscular coordination (which transfers better than intermuscular coordination) and taxing to the same muscle groups in a similar way. Old-time olympic weightlifters used to do a lot of steep incline pressing to keep improving in overhead strength without wrecking their back.
Stefan der Graue
Stefan der Graue 11 days ago
Do you take steroids?
Sandeep Tamling
Sandeep Tamling 11 days ago
Thanks jeff.
TerraBiker 12 days ago
Kipping is a cross-fit made up BS , not calisthenics.
Defect 12 days ago
My lower back likes this.
Irmantas Irmantasd
Irmantas Irmantasd 12 days ago
you deserve my like and subscribe
SufiGuy 12 days ago
@ 10:30
ganesh kumar
ganesh kumar 12 days ago
Video is super 💪👈😘😘
PUBG pro gamer
PUBG pro gamer 13 days ago
Big fan . really appreciate your work to spread the knowledge to everyone
weston keough
weston keough 13 days ago
I learned alot from this, and am excited to try these ‘correct/better’ body workouts!
Tom Dufresne
Tom Dufresne 13 days ago
“Here’s Jesse doing something I call a floor f*cker.” Absolute gold 😂
Ben Pulham
Ben Pulham 13 days ago
Legend says if you acquire all 7 chaos emeralds, you will have the power to do an exercise, and it won't be wrong in Jeffs eyes
PeNiStHeGrEaT 13 days ago
11:38 shouldnt you be looking forward so you can use your chest better
Dax Mac
Dax Mac 13 days ago
Terrific video....really a Phys Therapy consult....work the muscles....save the spine , joints & connective tissue !
Noureddine Noureddine
Deep dip has cost me a full one year injury in my shoulders. I stopppped everything because of that. I was doing it the wrong way. I have noticed that the problem with doing most triceps exercises is that you might harm your shoulders.
Landica Gaudens
Landica Gaudens 14 days ago
Wow! Thanks for the info. I did bench dips and planks. Now I can do something better instead💪👍
movesguy 14 days ago
Any Vince Gioranda fans feel offended by the no to sissy squats?
Dwight Hasbrouck
Dwight Hasbrouck 15 days ago
A+++ reality check info
Walter Beatty
Walter Beatty 15 days ago
I love your workout walter from Maryland I do your abs workout and I look great for 61
Ron-smash 19
Ron-smash 19 15 days ago
I recently uploaded a video of me doing a 5 minute plank, and i agree that there are better excercises out there, since it takes so long for it to become a struggle, and i did feel tightness in my lower back afterwards for about 10 to 15 minutes
Debbie Caleb
Debbie Caleb 15 days ago
Please add captions for those with hearing issues :)
Zamin Hussain
Zamin Hussain 16 days ago
thank you, Jeff, I watched your earlier videos on shoulder exercises (deltoids) and rotator cuff. Now, I have pain free shoulder joints.
Anahita Dordi
Anahita Dordi 16 days ago
Such an eye opener that was Jeff. Thank you 👍🏻
Paul Hoeflich
Paul Hoeflich 16 days ago
Dude. Do you train in person. I put so so much effort in my back.
Will Yong
Will Yong 16 days ago
Stop doing the floor Fu**Ker Jesse ffs
nonya biz
nonya biz 16 days ago
Kipping during pullups is illegal in the Marine Corps
EllyMoody 17 days ago
The scorpion, you should never do it again. Let's learn why? Well because it looks just too darn stupid.
TheAndrewc5120 17 days ago
as far as i'm concerned, kip ups in and of themselves are fine. it's when you equivocate them with normal pull ups that problems arise. a kip up is a full body pull up or as i like to say, the pull up you do in a life or death situation. kip ups are your greatest effective strength pull up, but not as effective for building muscle.
Aaron Rebello
Aaron Rebello 17 days ago
It looked like Jesse was trying to do the dolphin on the pull up bar. Either that, or he was having a seizure.
Leaderofthe00fkins - Peja
what if you cant hold a plank for even a minute? would it be ok to use it then? before anyone replies to this comment saying "damn this dude is weak" yes, yes I am, why else do you think I'm here?
Omg really depends on which types of planks we talking about, you can try one of my ones and it's newer easy.
Russian Planks are Newer easy mate )
Zion 17 days ago
Gabriel Dungo
Gabriel Dungo 18 days ago
I was doing sissy squats recently, thank you for correcting me
Pack Shot
Pack Shot 18 days ago
This is like a joe rogan podcast with Jesse instead of Jamie.
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