The Most Ineffective Exercises For The Arms and Chest

image via: feesfitness.com;

image via: feesfitness.com;

1.Chest flys

The chest fly will never be a true power exercise. There may be some maniacs like Scooby Werkstatt who have made the fly one of their main heavy exercises, but in my opinion, there are more intelligent ways to overload the pectoral muscles. The stretch created by the fly puts the tendons of the chest and the shoulder joint in a vulnerable position. One of the fastest ways to tear a pec is to do heavy chest flys to failure.

2.Barbell curls

Barbell curls are awesome, but only if your wrists can take them. I personally have no problem doing this exercise but still prefer dumbbells. If you experience wrist pain during barbell curls, try a wider grip and do the exercise less frequently. If this doesn’t work, switch to the EZ bar, dumbbells and/or cables.

3.Chest machines

Chest machines may give you a great pump, but most versions suck because they force your body to move in a very specific pattern. A good example would be the Smith machine which many bodybuilders use to isolate the pecs. The Smith machine forces the lifter to bench press in a straight line, even though the natural bench press motion is a slight arch.


Note: Some hammer strength machines are well designed and work decently well.

4.Vince Gironda’s dips and neck press

Vince Gironda is one of the most popular bodybuilding trainers, and yet he popularized two exercises that will destroy your shoulders – the neck press and Gironda dips. Both exercises fully load the chest, but at the expense of shoulder integrity. Some may handle the exercises just fine, but most people would be in pain. You can build just as much mass if not more with the regular versions of the exercises.

5.Skullcrushers

The “skullcrusher” is an open chain exercise that places a lot of stress on the elbow joint. You can replace it with the PJR pullover, which is more friendly to the elbow area. If you do the exercise correctly, you will feel a great triceps pump without joint pain.

The video below is a demonstration of the PJR pullover.

7.Cable Crossovers

Just like the chest fly, the cable crossover is a sucky exercise. People believe that this movement creates “chest striations”, but that’s a ridiculous belief. The striations of a muscle depend on genetics, muscle mass and body fat levels.

As a bonus, the cable crossover places too much stress on the shoulders.

8.Zottman curls

Zottman curls are designed to build up the forearm extensors, but most of the time they simply overtain them. On the way up, you can lift a lot of weight because your palms are facing upwards. On the way down, however, the forearm extensors are holding the weight. This means that the negative portion of the exercise is overloading this weak portion of the forearm.

Reverse biceps curls seem like a better choice.

9.Scott Curls are a joke.

The Scott curl is a bicep exercise popularized by the first Mr.Olympia Larry Scott.

This movement is designed to target the lower portion of the biceps, but this is all broscience. You can’t isolate the lower portion of your biceps. In addition, most people never do Scott curls correctly. They use too much weight and cut the range of motion.

Furthermore, at the lowest point, there’s too much stress on the bicep tendons. It’s better to do standing or incline dumbbell curls than this gimmicky exercise.

10.One arm overhead dumbbell extensions

This exercise can easily hurt the elbow joint. However, the two arm version on an incline bench could work just fine.

11.The Decline Bench Press

The decline bench press is not a very comfortable exercise. Getting into position is hard, and the whole time your head is on verge of exploding. During an extensive effort, this exercise may cause a blood vessel rupture in the eye from all the pressure and strain. Dips are vastly superior.

6 comments

  1. Paul

    Over the years the chest flys and bench press built my good pecs. Mass and strenght, especialy the last. In fact, I love chest flys and I’m very good at them. For me is the single movement that feels my whole pecs works. I easily work with over 110 lbs a dumbell.

    Same with the barbell curls if I do with the EZ bar. Same with skullcrushers. Works very fine for me with EZ bar and I feel the whole triceps working. I do Scott curls with one hand. Works very good for me. Good isolation, no cheating, very good results for my biceps over the years.

    Regarding neck press, for me it’s a good isolation exercise, with easy loads, because I don’t feel so much triceps working compare to front pressing.

  2. Steve

    Do what works for you especially if you have the time and patience to experiment.
    These are probably right however better than doing NOTHING at the same time.

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