Do this, not that: exercise tips for chest, abs

There are many exercises that have been around seemingly forever, but are actually not the best alternative for everyone. They put the body at greater risk for injury, and are not as efficient as other ways to exercise the same muscle groups.
Do this, not that for the following chest and ab exercises:
For abs, do planks — The plank activates as many muscles in the obliques as any exercise.
In addition to being a highly efficient exercise, planks put the body in a safe position while working out.
Planks stabilize the core muscles, build endurance and can lower the odds of developing lower back pain down the road.
For abs, don’t do crunches — The old-school gym class exercise is the least effective way to exercise your abs there is, according to most trainers. In fact, because crunches do take considerable strength to do, they can create a muscle imbalance in the core that can lead to back problems.
For chest, do pushups, cable cross-overs — Pushups are one of the best exercises you can do for any body part. They don’t requite equipment, can be done any time and compared to other chest exercises they are safe for the shoulders and chest. Pushups build muscle in the pecs, triceps and shoulders and also help build overall core strength.
Depending on the angle of hand placement, or if you do pushups at an incline or decline, you can change up the way they work the upper body.
A lifelong part of fitness legend Jack LaLanne’s workout regimen, you can’t beat pushups.
Cable crossovers engage the same muscles as the Pec Deck, but crossovers allow you to work muscles quickly and effectively without unnecessary risk to your joints.
For chest, don’t do bench presses, pec deck — Bench press is a great exercise for some people, but be very careful with it as many people bench press-related shoulder injuries. The bench itself reduces how much the shoulder blades can move, which places a great deal of stress on the rotator cuffs. It’s personal preference, but some fitness trainers call the bench press unsafe.
The pec deck machine is another exercise that puts your shoulder joint in an extremely vulnerable position, as it simultaneously rotates and abducts.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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