7 workouts that don't work 

Some of the exercises you rely on might actually be doing more harm than good. Many times the difficulty of the movement can prevent proper form, harming some muscles when you're trying to target others. And some exercises simply aren't really effective at all.
You might be surprised to see some of your go-to workouts on the list below, but we've added tips to either perform them more safely or try alternative workouts that target the same area but in a more effective way. Take a look at the list below to see if any of your favorite exercises are ineffective, or even harmful. 
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1. Lat pull-downs behind your head 
In this exercise, you sit on a machine with a weighted cabled bar that hangs over your head. You reach for the bar and pull it behind your neck. WebMD explains that it's easy to hit the back of your neck and injure your vertebrae with this one. You can also easily strain your shoulders because they usually aren't that flexible. 
The safer alternative:
On the same machine, lean your body back a little, and with a narrower grip, bring the bar down in front of your body to the breastbone — pulling your shoulder blades together. Avoid swinging arms.
2. Crunches 
Ever wondered why crunches feel so easy? Well, experts at the Huffington Post say that crunches only help tighten a small part of your core and don't really help strengthen your lower abs at all.
The better alternative:
Try planks and side planks instead. These target your core in the way you're looking to do but not really achieving when doing crunches. 
3. Lifting with a weight belt 
A belt can actually let your core muscles slack off, instead of working them the way you really need to. 
The better alternative:
India Times explains that unless you're lifting really heavy weights, suffering from a back injury or your doctor prescribes it, a belt really isn't necessary. 
4. Holding dumbbells on both sides and lifting 
The Huffington Post says this exercise is actually one of the biggest mistakes you can make when working out. You can easily strain your back, as well as hurt your nerves and muscles. 
The safer alternative:
Instead, try some pushups. You'll target your arms and shoulders, which is what you're trying to do by raising dumbbells on your sides, but without the danger to your muscles and nerves.
5. Leg presses while on back 
This exercise can actually put too much strain on your legs by bending them too deeply when you pull your legs toward your chest. WebMD explains that your spine can't stay properly aligned, and your pelvis tries to compensate, putting strain on your lower back. This move can also put way too much strain on your knees.
The safer alternative:
WebMD suggests squats or lunges; they work the same muscles more safely, using your own body weight.
6. Incorrect lunges 
Lunges are an amazing workout, but you need to keep the right form. Your front knee should only go to above your toes, and your back should be straight. Also, take deep breaths while working out.
The safer alternative:
The Huffington Post says to carefully watch your form to make sure you do the lunges correctly, and when done right, you'll work your legs and glutes wonderfully.
7. Spot-reduction exercises 
WebMD explains that this theory of exercise doesn't really work. While these moves can help firm a certain area — like the hips, stomach or arms — if there's a layer of fat, the exercises won't make it look much different.
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The better alternative:
Cardio is the best way to burn fat and build muscle. Plus, when you build more muscle, you boost your metabolic rate, which burns more calories — even when you're not active. 
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