There’s two reasons that an overweight or obese man or woman should avoid particular exercises.
I used to be a personal trainer for a huge gym and would never have my overweight clients do certain exercises.
The first reason concerned safety and risk of injury. The second reason concerned worthlessness of the exercise.
Exercises that Obese People Should Avoid Due to Injury Risk
Hopping on one foot. Yes, I’m serious. Believe it or not, I’ve seen personal trainers having overweight clients doing this.
Excess weight is bad for the knee joint. Jumping amplifies the forces that the knee joint must absorb.
It makes no sense to put the knee joint at risk by hopping and jumping with a significant overload of body weight.
Jumping onto a stool. The stool is the 12 inch one, and I’ve seen overweight people barely able to land their feet on it, and their feet wouldn’t even entirely land on the surface; the heels would be hanging over.
It was difficult for them to do this, and they were at risk for stumbling and falling. Landing back down also is stressful to the knees.
Doing this serves no practical purpose. There are smarter ways to burn calories and strengthen the legs (hello squats and leg presses!).
Bench stepping. I’ve seen trainers having plus size trainees working at this, and a few times, I’ve seen very overweight people doing this on their own.
One of the women I witnessed doing this, at her trainer’s instruction, was unstable upon trying to straighten up on the bench with her right leg.
It appeared that the knee was about to buckle every time she got up on it, and she was never able to fully straighten.
And she was unsteady coming down. I was amazed that the knee never gave out, but she certainly looked worried throughout it all.
Again, this serves no purpose. Hey, I’m all for training the body to be efficient with stepping and jumping drills, but there’s also a right time for these, too, and we must take into consideration the condition of the trainee.
I’ve seen too many very heavy set trainees (in the obese range) struggling with these kinds of moves, looking discouraged.
And that’s another thing: the psychological aspect. Trying to jump a 250 pound frame up onto a 12 inch stool for repetitions, or repeatedly stepping up and down on a weightlifting bench—especially while holding dumbbells—can be quite discouraging and a morale dumper.
The second type of exercise that overweight and obese men and women should avoid are crunches and sit-ups.
These will serve you absolutely no purpose. These will not incite fat loss or loss of inches or belly rolls.
Though 50 crunches may feel like torture, just trust me: The feeling of torture is due to the way it feels trying to fold up 250 pounds with a large belly in the way.
This does not translate to massive calories burned!
Another exercise that plus size trainees should avoid is that of HOLDING ONTO a treadmill while “walking.”
This is a huge time-waster and a downgrade from regular walking in which you are not supporting yourself with a piece of machinery.
The calorie counter is triggered by the program setting and is very inflated when you hold onto the machine!
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.