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3 exercises you could do without

I'd like to think there aren't any "bad" exercises. If you're moving, you're enjoying it, and you're moving safely, awesome. Keep doing it. Although, I do believe there are exercises that are less effective than others. These are primarily opinion-based, but you also won't find these exercises in my current programs. I will admit, I have put these exercises in programs before, especially in my early days as a trainer. We'll talk about that more as we go through the exercises though. 1. Burpees. Did you guess that I was going to have this as my number one orrr? If you know me and my training methods personally, you might have heard me talking about how I will not program burpees into my training programs anymore. When I taught Bootcamp at a local gym in Omaha back in the day, these were a regular for a couple reasons. One, I didn't have the knowledge or confidence in my programming. Two, I felt like it was expected. The members LOVED to hate burpees, because in Bootcamp you go absolutely all-out, right? Yikes. Three, I saw it as a way to get their heart rates up. I wasn't wrong about that haha, it certainly gets your heart rate up! What I learned since then is that there are many other exercise choices that are safer and will still get your heart rate up. The burpee, when not performed correctly, can be a jerky, flailing movement with no core control, therefore, it's no longer found in my programs. 2. Plank + anything. Aside from renegade rows, I do not think a plank with a bicep curl or a plank with a tricep extension is an effective way to train. I remember when I was first moving out to Colorado, I applied and interviewed with a group fitness studio. I took one of their classes before my tryout and interview, and recall the coach programming a plank with a bicep curl. I was so confused as to what was the purpose.

I mean no disrespect to the coach. We all learn and start somewhere, but there is a not a logical reason why you would pair those to together. If the goal is core engagement, you could likely achieve that by practicing an engaged core during a standard bicep curl. I digress...

3. Combination exercises. Before we dive into this one, I will say, there is a time and a place for combo exercises, likely when it's sport specific OR when you are really short on time and need to move quickly OR have limited equipment. I'm going to use the combination exercise example of a lunge + curl + press. These are great exercises on their own, but when put together, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Why? It's unlikely that you would choose the same weight for all three of those exercises individually. Again, not the worst thing in the world for you to do, but if you have the option to separate these exercises, I'd recommend doing it that way.


Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.


I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

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