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5 Exercises Men Should Avoid for Weight Loss, Expert Says

Here's what exercises you shouldn't waste your precious gym time on—and what to do instead.

Attention all men! Are you trying to lose a few excess pounds? Luck is on your side. Interestingly, men typically drop weight quicker than women, according to Medical News Today. One reason may be that men generally have a greater amount of lean muscle mass than women. But even if you think you have a solid routine on deck to kickstart your fat-burning journey, there are some exercises men shouldn't do for weight loss. We consulted an expert to share some productive weight loss tips for men, including what exercises you shouldn't waste your time on.

The more muscle you have on your body, the higher number of calories you'll torch, according to Medical News Today. Hence, men tend to drop weight at a quicker pace than women. This seems a bit unfair, but a 2018 study proves this to be true. The research observed more than 2,000 overweight, pre-diabetic men and women who stuck to a diet of 810 calories each day for two months. The data reveals that men lost 16% more weight than women. So that bit of info is good news for men for weight loss.

Eat This, Not That! chatted with Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, the Director of Medical Content & Education at Ro, a certified personal trainer, and a member of our Medical Expert Board, who points out that although all kinds of exercise will always be more beneficial than none at all, there are five exercises men should avoid when looking to drop weight. When it comes to burning fat, some exercises are not as beneficial at burning calories as others. Additionally, some moves just won't help you achieve noticeable results when it comes to shedding pounds. That being said, keep reading to find out the five exercises men shouldn't do for weight loss.

Ab machine workouts

man ab crunch machine at gym

First and foremost, ab machine workouts are not as productive for building a six-pack as you may think. Dr. Bohl explains, "While it's true the machines can help strengthen the rectus abdominis—the muscle that forms the six-pack—having a six-pack has more to do with the amount of subcutaneous fat that covers the muscle rather than the size of the muscle."

It's still quite essential to perform core workouts for balance, spine stabilization, and good posture, but when it comes to torching calories with the goal of eliminating belly fat, ab machine work by itself is not going to get the job done.

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Hip abductor and adductor exercises

Hip abductor exercise

Performing exercises for the hip abductors and adductors is not the best use of your time at the gym. "These exercises work the muscles in a relatively limited range of motion and likely are not burning enough calories to make them worth it," Dr. Bohl points out.

Posture-focused exercises like yoga and pilates

man performing yoga workout, weight loss for men tips

Dr. Bohl explains that yoga and pilates are awesome for boosting your mental well-being, balance, and flexibility, but they're not beneficial for dropping weight fast. "These exercises burn a relatively lower number of calories for the amount of time they take up," Dr. Bohl shares.

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Moderate-intensity to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises

man running vigorously in the winter, demonstrating exercises men shouldn't do for weight loss

Aerobic workouts like playing tennis, running, jogging, and swimming are excellent ways to improve your heart rate, kick up your cardiovascular wellness, and burn calories. However, Dr. Bohl tells us that even though a complete workout routine—including one targeting weight loss—must include some aerobic exercise, performing aerobic exercise at an intense level by itself can have negative results when it comes to your body composition.

"If you just do intense cardio and don't incorporate strength training into your routine, you can end up losing muscle mass. In the long run, this slows down your metabolism, because simply having more muscle mass is an effective way to burn more calories throughout the day," Dr. Bohl says.

Single-motion exercises that target small muscle groups

man performing bicep curls

Any exercise that costs you more time than you have to dedicate needs to be re-evaluated. When you're trying to lose weight, consider what any particular exercise you do will "cost" you. What does that mean? Dr. Bohl brings up an interesting perspective.

Your gym time is precious—and limited. A weight loss goal means your time must be used wisely. Case and point? Including exercises that involve a single motion that targets small muscle groups can be productive in building those particular muscles, but may not be the best way to drop weight. For instance, bicep curls are excellent for improving arm strength, and calf raises are a wise choice to boost leg strength. But Dr. Bohl explains that neither one of these exercises will torch as many calories or be as efficient to lose weight when compared to full-body exercises.

What exercises should men do for weight loss?

man performing exercises in park to lose 10 pounds in a month

For the most efficient use of time, Dr. Bohl recommends concentrating on workouts that activate several muscle groups simultaneously, specifically large muscle groups. A great example is your legs.

"Many closed-chain exercises are great at targeting more than one area of the body. Closed-chain exercises are exercises that are typically done against a stationary object (like the ground or a bar) and can be weighted or just rely on body weight. Good closed-chain exercises that can burn calories and lead to noticeable weight loss include pushups, squats, pull-ups, and lunges," says Dr. Bohl.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa