Exercises You Should Never Do – A Full Look!

February 9, 2022 0 Comments


In this article I will be giving a full look at the exercises you should never do in your gym routine. There as so many exercises but some of them are just plain unsafe for your body. It is always better to use exercises in your training that are safe from a mechanics perspective and will reduce the risks of sustaining an injury long term.

This article will serve to outline these exercises that are unsafe and I will give explanations as to why you should not do them. Even though there will be some people who are capable of performing these exercises without issues, there are far better alternatives that put you in a much stronger position.

Behind The Neck Press

The first exercise I will discuss is the behind the neck shoulder press. This is often performed seated but can also be done standing. Whilst there are famous powerlifters like Ed Coan who used to perform this movement heavy, the exercise is not safe for the majority of people. 

The shoulders are in external rotation in the bottom position and compromised, especially if you go too deep with your presses. It is far safer to shoulder press to the front and you can use more weight. The fact that you can use more weight pressing to the front and the mechanics are much safer mean that behind the neck presses should not be performed for the vast majority of people. 

behind the neck press

Lat Pulldown Behind The Head

In the same vein with regards to external rotation of the shoulder is the lat pulldown behind the head. This is another exercise that carries a high risk of injury with no real reward. It is far safer and better to perform lat pulldowns to the front. The lats will be engaged better by doing your pulldowns to the front.

In addition you can utilise more weight to the front than you can behind the head. Whilst there are some people who are able to perform lat pulldowns behind the head long term with no issues, the exercise itself is redundant when it comes to the traditional version.

When it comes to exercise it is always best to keep things simple, there is no need to over-complicate things and perform exercises that carry higher risks of injury.

lat pulldown behind the head

Upright Row

Just as dangerous as the behind the neck press is the upright row. People often perform this exercise using a straight barbell or EZ-bar and they use a close grip to work the traps more. It is a movement that wrestlers like Brock Lesnar used to develop their traps a lot. 

However just because some wrestlers use the upright row in their training it doesn’t negate the fact that the exercise is dangerous. It can lead to impingement in the shoulder and shoulder injuries, especially when performed heavy. There is a high risk of rotator cuff injury.

In my view the exercise is completely redundant and unnecessary. It is far better to perform face pulls for the shoulders and traps and do shrugs. If you can you can also perform a deadlift variation. This is all you would need to develop very big traps. In addition, regular face pulls will be beneficial for shoulder health long term. Upright rows definitely aren’t!

upright row

Rack Pulls Above The Knee

The next exercise that you shouldn’t do are rack pulls above the knee. This is a massive ego exercise that many people in the gym do to use very heavy weights. However, the exercise serves no real purpose in terms of utility or crossover to other exercises.

It is far better to perform rack pulls from just below the knee as the carryover to a traditional deadlift off the floor is high. In addition, the weights that you will be using will be very similar to a normal deadlift. Whilst the weights are lower you will get far greater overall work on the traps using rack pulls below the knee as the range of motion is greater. 

Rack pulls above the knee is purely an ego movement that people do to show off, but it is completely unnecessary and a big waste of time. 

rack pulls above knee

Front Raises

Another exercise that you shouldn’t do are front raises. Front raises are often performed with dumbbells or barbells. However, the movement is completely redundant and unnecessary. If you are doing plenty of horizontal and vertical pressing then there is no need to add the front raise.

If anything the vast majority of people have over developed front delts and they need to balance this out by working their rear delts more. Doing front raises will only serve to exacerbate this imbalance further and is not beneficial. 

Instead it is better to just do pressing movements and isolation work for the rear delts. Front raises are a complete waste of time!

front raise


To conclude, in this article I have explored the exercises that you should never do in the gym and a full explanation as to why they are not safe or necessary. When you train it is important that you are getting the best bang for your buck and not wasting time with unnecessary exercises that will not provide you any utility.

Instead you should focus on the movements that will make you the best progress long term in improving your physique and strength. Injuries will set back your progress more than anything else. Therefore it is essential to mitigate the injury risk prevalent in exercise as much as possible.

By following my guidelines and not performing the exercises I have mentioned in this article you will be better able to make progress with a lower risk of injury. 

If you have any questions about anything in this article please leave me a comment below. Let me know if you are currently performing any of the exercises I mentioned in your training. Are there any exercises in your routine currently causing you pain? Please let me know.

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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