By Lisa Hoehn
The Active Times

Take a second to think about your gym routine (I'll wait). Got it? Now, I bet you feel pretty good about the fitness moves that you’ve incorporated -- you're hitting the big muscle groups, you're the champion of the weight room, and plus, these moves are so popular that they have to be effective. Right?

Wrong.

Here, find out if any of your fitness routine is actually falling flat -- plus, expert-approved advice on taking your workout to the next level.

Worthless Exercises You Probably Do

Overrated: Crunches
 

Overrated: Crunches

This gym-class standard needs an update: According to research from San Diego State University, the traditional crunch is the least effective strengthener for both the rectus abdominus (6-pack muscles) and the obliques (waist muscles).

Overrated: Crunches
 

Overrated: Crunches

What's more, because sit-ups require more strength from front ab muscles than obliques, this move can create a strength imbalance in the core

Overrated: Crunches
 

Overrated: Crunches

-- setting you up for back problems.

Your Upgrade: The Plank
 

Your Upgrade: The Plank

Not only does the plank require more muscle activation in the obliques than the traditional crunch, according to research,

Your Upgrade: The Plank
 

Your Upgrade: The Plank

but researchers have also found that practicing this position can actually help lower the risk of developing lower back pain later in life, according to Matthews.

Your Upgrade: The Plank
 

Your Upgrade: The Plank

Why? "The plank targets your abdominal muscles, helps to build muscular endurance and spares your spine in the process," she says.

Overrated: Pec Deck/Chest Fly
 

Overrated: Pec Deck/Chest Fly

While research has found that the pec deck machine is a great way to build chest muscle, the fact is that this machine puts your shoulder joint in an extremely vulnerable position, as it simultaneously rotates and abducts, according to Matthews.

Overrated: Pec Deck/Chest Fly
 

Overrated: Pec Deck/Chest Fly

While this is especially dangerous for those with shoulder problems, using this machine can also cause injury in otherwise healthy exercisers.

Your Upgrade: Bent-Forward Cable Crossover
 

Your Upgrade: Bent-Forward Cable Crossover

Engaging the same muscles as the Pec Deck, the Bent-Forward Cable Crossover allows you to build strength quickly and effectively.

Your Upgrade: Bent-Forward Cable Crossover
 

Your Upgrade: Bent-Forward Cable Crossover

But it does it without unnecessary risk to your joints.

Overrated: Bench Press
 

Overrated: Bench Press

Though research has shown this staple gym exercise to be excellent for building chest and triceps strength,

Overrated: Bench Press
 

Overrated: Bench Press

some bench press-related shoulder injuries are common enough to have earned the nickname "bench-presser's shoulder."

Overrated: Bench Press
 

Overrated: Bench Press

Also, the bench itself limits natural movement in the shoulder blades, putting tremendous stress on rotator cuffs. As such, some fitness experts have deemed bench press unsafe.

Your Upgrade: Push-Ups
 

Your Upgrade: Push-Ups

Push-ups are a safe and (happily) equipment-free exercise that builds muscle in the pecs, triceps and shoulders while developing core strength.

Your Upgrade: Push-Ups
 

Your Upgrade: Push-Ups

What's more, it can be modified dozens of ways to work different muscles or increase the intensity and complexity of this tried-and-true, basic movement.

Your Upgrade: Push-Ups
 

Your Upgrade: Push-Ups

There's a reason it was the foundation of fitness icon Jack LaLanne's routine. For more worthless exercises and ones you should do instead, go to TheActiveTimes.com.

More Fitness On ThePostGame
 

More Fitness On ThePostGame

Moves Guaranteed For Great Glutes.

previous next

For the complete slideshow of the Worthless Exercises (and the ones you should do instead), go to TheActiveTimes.com.

More Stories At The Active Times:
-- The 10 Best Energy Bars For Athletes (And Everyone Else)
-- The Right Running Shoe For You
-- Daylight Savings: Active Ways To Spend The Hour
-- 3 Must-Run California Spring Marathons